Probably the most hard-earned 64 point defeat in history, the ladies never stopped working and learned a lot from the game against Waterloo’s premiership contenders.
With an aggregate score of 0-191 in the two meetings last year Eccles knew they were going to be in for a tough day at the office, but set their sights on implementing the stuff they’ve been working on in training over the last couple of weeks. However in the opening 60 seconds it didn’t seem like it was working as the visitors were given far too much space to stroll in out wide. But this was pretty much the last defensive mistake the home side made in the first half. The ‘heads up’ defence was working hard to identify the threats coming forward and the line speed was pressuring them into mistakes. Barbara Daher and Sophie Rogers were leading the line in the forwards, while Vickie Merrick was bossing the backs. Unfortunately the defensive effort was coming at the cost of a meaningful attack, so despite the best efforts of Katie Houghton and Sadie Light Eccles were struggling to retain possession. A few cracks appeared in the defensive line which allowed Waterloo to extend their lead to 24-0 at half time.
If they thought they’d been starved of possession in the first half it would only get harder in the second for Eccles. Apart from a couple of half breaks from Shelley Powe and Igemi Ekoku there was nothing to really report in an attacking capacity. The defence was still working overtime, particularly Rebecca Owen and Natalie Gill, but it was becoming increasingly difficult to stem the tide. Waterloo demonstrated some excellent hands to offload the ball out of the tackle and move the ball to space. They also had the benefit of fresh legs coming off the bench while Eccles could only field two substitutes due to injuries and absentees, resulting in them finishing the game with only 14 players on the field.
Six tries were scored in the second half plus five conversions to make the final score 64-0. But Eccles could be buoyed by the fact that if they can repeat that defensive effort against most of the other teams in the league the result would be very different, and the team never stopped trying in the face of adversity. Barbara Daher and Vickie Merrick were named as Forward and Back of the Match respectively for putting their bodies on the line in defence. Eccles will look to regroup in training this week before making the difficult trip to Solihull to face Camp Hill on Sunday 13/10/13.