It had been weeks, and felt like longer, since the Ladies 1st XV took to the field for a league fixture. This Sunday saw the start of the second half of the league fixtures. Eccles were focused on maintaining the successes of the first half but also correcting some of the mistakes. It was a home game vs old rivals Camp Hill, who made the journey from Solihull. Earlier in the season Eccles had beaten Camp Hill 55-17, so although hoping for a win Eccles were by no means complacent knowing how strong Camp Hill are.
The first 10 minutes were very tough, both sides clearly fighting it out and determined to get the early ground. Camp Hill pressed with characteristic strength and gained territory. However, Eccles (after a reminder from the sideline we didn’t need to score in every phase) started to build momentum. After some smooth interplay between the forwards and backs it was Igz Ekoku who showed off her strength and fast feet; running past the Camp Hill defence and scoring between the posts.
Again Camp Hill applied the pressure and Eccles found themselves back within their own 22. Luckily Claire Knapp managed to clear the lines with a lovely box kick, she gave chase, made the tackle, got the turn over. It then took quick, simple hands out wide to get centre Rowanne Smalley through the defence to score the second try of the day. After that second try Eccles managed to secure more points as Joey Edwards, Igz Ekoku and Leah Calton Morley all powered over the line.
However, it was Camp Hill who had the closing possession of the first half. They were deep in Eccles territory after some lovely passages of play. They gained a number of scrums on the 5 metre line and it seemed certain they would score. It took some determined defence from the Eccles back row to keep them out. The half time score was 27-0.
At half time Eccles made a number of changes and the new players were committed to showing their strength. A strong, resolute start to the second half was quickly converted into points with Leah Calton-Morley scoring her second, then third try. The forwards continued to carry hard and the backs were characteristically spritely; Eccles were on a roll! Before the full time whistle Ekoku had raked up two more tries and Tysha Harper swan dived over the line for one.
Credit goes to the whole team’s purpose and focus in making sure Eccles secured the victory. Commendation must also be given to the opposition, Camp Hill, who maintained their spirit and strength throughout the game. A special credit must go to forward and back of the match Babs Daher and Leah Calton-Morley whose performances were especially important in this very memorable win.