Eccles Ladies claimed their first Championship North 1 win in style on Sunday sweeping aside Novo’s from the North East.
After a difficult start to the season facing some of the league’s toughest opponents, Eccles put in a memorable performance to claim their first win of the year. Captain Shelley Powe opened the scoring beating the defence from 40 yards out The Eccles sideline held its breath as Shelley ran away from the support and around the no.15 to touch down under the sticks.
Eccles stood firm in defence throughout with Sadie Light putting in some thunderous tackles backed up by the ever reliable Rebecca “Titch” Owen, Karen Radband and Katie Houghton. Alex Stokes continued her impressive form flying round the park from the no.6 position. But the backs were not to be outdone in the performance stakes, and Lisa “Dave” Campbell finished off a fantastic Eccles play which saw the ball move through hands to score in the corner. Sally Morris also made a welcome return to action at scrum half.
20 minutes in Titch claimed a trademark score and classic Eccles forwards try, taking the ball in from ten metres out and crashing over to the left of the posts. Straight after Selena Lockyer upstaged this display with an emphatic kick-off return, collecting the ball and making the most of the broken field to gather some momentum, she found herself in space and headed for the line. The Novo’s defence stayed on her tail for the duration but with no one ahead of her she strided out to score the try. This effort was followed up with another score in the second half giving her a brace for the day’s efforts. Shortly before half time Novo’s bundled over for a try of their own to show they were still in the game. But the first stanza finished on a high as Alex Stokes bullied her way over the whitewash after multiple Eccles phases, charging in from a short distance.
The pace of the game slowed in the second half; Eccles put in a momentous defensive effort but couldn’t stop Novo’s crossing the line for their second. Despite the greater intervals between Eccles scores, the tries kept coming as Igemi “Igz” Ekoku claimed a brace. Another Eccles back with good pace and the ability to beat players, Igz twice beat the defence with her sidestepping before cantering home to seal an emphatic win. Vickie Merrick added five conversions throughout the day to make the final score a resounding 50-10.
Eccles will be relieved that their relentless hard work has finally delivered the desired result. Honourable mentions go to Prop, Karen Radband, and Centre, Shelley Powe, who claimed the Forward and Back of the Match awards. Continual improvement has culminated in a good result and excellent performance. Eccles frustrated their opponents and were good value for their win, they will now face Buckingham Swans at Gorton Street looking for back to back victories. Kick-off is on Sunday 21 October at 2.30pm, all welcome.