Making the trip to table-topping Waterloo with an injury ravaged side, a flanker playing at scrum half and a lock on the wing, the Ladies knew they were in for a tough afternoon.
One thing they certainly didn’t want was any more injuries, but you can see where this is going. 10 seconds into the game, Nat, one of the few remaining backs, injured her knee and had to be helped from the field. We can only hope it isn’t too serious. This meant another back rower into the back line and any semblance of a game plan being thrown out of the window.
Waterloo started the game in typically imperious form, moving the ball around quickly. It wasn’t long until the defence was opened up due to some serious mismatches in pace, not to mention experience of playing out wide. There was some good defence from Sadie Light, Barbara Daher and Kelly John but they could do little to quell the tide. Tries came regularly and the score was racking up. Eccles had very little possession and when they did, despite some good runs from Karen Radband and Katy Willis, they struggled to make any ground. With 10 minutes left in the first half a few heads and tackles began to drop which made it even easier for the home side to run in more points. The half time score was 59-0.
Following some words of encouragement from Katie Houghton and Sophie Rogers, Eccles came out for the second half looking to give a better account of themselves. And that’s certainly what they did. Some crunching tackles from Sara Davis, Igemi Ekoku and Jenny Whittle made Waterloo work a lot harder. The tries still came but they were by no means soft scores. Eccles even managed to secure some possession, retaining the ball through multiple phases. They might have even scored if the 11 forwards they had on the pitch weren’t crowding the ruck but alas it wasn’t to be. 10 minutes of great pressure passed unrewarded and normal service was resumed. More tries were run in, with the last one taking it past the ton mark. Final score 102-0.
Obviously a one-sided result but all 16 players that turned up must be commended not just for doing so but for giving it their all on the field. Had they not picked up their heads and got stuck in the score would certainly have been a lot more (and not turning up at all would have resulted in expulsion from the league). Eccles don’t have much time to lick their wounds. They need to regroup as much as possible before welcoming Camp Hill to Gorton Street on 15/12/13 for a 14:00 kick off.