Rochdale 4th 0 v Eccles 4th 67 18/04/2015

The fourths travelled to Rochdale knowing only victory would see them overtake their hosts for third spot in the league and expecting a tough time but under blazing skies blitzed their opponents into submission.Eccles raced into the lead within the first minutes reclaiming possession after their own kick off with Alex Pugh powering in under the posts and Johnnie Ward converting.The home side were obviously intent on keeping things tight relying on their big pack to dominate the set plays but were undone by the inability to keep possession in the face of aggressive defence and were hit a double whammy as full back Tom Shaw ran in to convert a turnover and from the following restart neat hands saw the ball swept across field to winger Ryan Chattington who flew 50 metres down the touchline to score with Ward converting and then jolly jack tar Mark Plumbridge rumbled over to ad another . 26-0 was a healthly though not unassailable lead made more comfortable when Eccles lost an attacking scrum on the Rochdale 22 but Pugh harried the scrum half stealing the ball to plunge over in the corner.A turnover at a line out deep in their own half saw Eccles move swiftly inter passing with skill to set Chattington on his merry way to touchdown under the sticks with Ward’s conversion leaving the fourths 38-0 ahead at the interval .Any thoughts of a comeback by Rochdale were dispelled minutes after the restart a succession of drives by the forwards set up the platform for the backs to send in centre Ward under the posts for try which he converted.There followed a period of non scoring as Rochdale tried to gain a toehold in the match though winger Tom Rose was denied by try be recalled for a forward pass The home side then had their best chance to get on the scoreboard with their heavy pack trying to force a pushover
try for a 5 metre set scrum but on the third reset Eccles won the ball against the head swept the ball upfield with Rose running to score and to add to their woes from the restart the fourths broke through for Rose to add his second try.The only issues left were how many more points could Eccles score and also keep a clean sheet . Aiden Dunham seemed certain to add to the total only to be high tackled (possible penalty try certainly yellow card neither offered)and from the resultant tap penalty Sam Delaney spilled the ball when going through untouched under the posts.No matter excellent hands create the chance for Joel Bruton to score maiden try with Ward adding the extras .The final try summed up the match a Rochdale line out on the visitors 22 stolen and then taken on by Aiyegbusi who was determined to cut a swathe through the defenders a la Errol Flynn amidst the Barbary pirates before being stopped 20 metres short of the tryline forced to pass onto Jacob “Tank” Henderson who shunned the supporting runners to swat away the fullback to move stately as galleon to score under the posts.The match actually ended in a bit of a schmozzle for in the maul the home second row biffed Paul Newton and Dave Cusick leapt in to take retribution not realising he was creating a David and Goliath situation as the man mountain took unkindly to being pugilistically chastised and pragmatically retreated to the safety of his own forwards. The ensuing hoo ha amongst the opposing packs caused the referee to decide a cold one in the bar was more to his liking and blew 10 minutes early which was harsh on Argonaut Jason Davies who has turned out week in week out and improved with each match and only got 2 minutes game time.A great performance from the whole squad which encapsulated all that was good from the team all season -the collective spirit ,the tenacity in defence,the willingness to be creative and the skill level in execution .The final Blind Pugh of the season was awarded (might see harsh as everyone played splendidly)to Sam Delaney for that fluffed try attempt and the Jolly Roger to the whole team with special mention to scrum Jay Wilson who seemed to be losing his cool in the first half heeded the captains(yes the same one who seemed to inject a sarcastic tone into his own deliberations with the arbiter of fact) admonishments to set forth the attacks which set in motion four of the second half tries.