Standbridge Lane 24.02.13 – 12.30pm k.o. Att: 48
A journey across the Pennines was in store in the next round for Eccles. Billy was confident when he thought he was playing a team in ‘Sandals’ rather than a team from Sandal but luckily opted for his rugby boots rather than his fine collection of desert docs.
Eccles had a good turnout but a few waking wounded kept nurse Baines busy with his healing hands. Harry H had brought his memory this time even though it was overloaded with pictures of dogs!! As we made our way to the visitors stand it was noticed the ball was set for kick off on the 10 yard line in Eccles half! Was this a sign of things to come we pondered…!
Sandal eventually kicked off from the half way line deep into Eccles half and followed up well showing their early intent. Curt tackled well but was evident his injured shoulder was going to hinder his game and decided to withdraw. Lewis had brought a blooded nose with him Aaron took a deep kick but his mark failed to register and the immediate kick to touch was penalised giving the home team possession nearer the Eccles line. Luckily the attack was brought down with a miss pass.
Aaron’s deep kick was returned with interest, Eccles missed tackles allowing Sandal into the Eccles 22. Lewis tackled well and Evan went in hard but the home side fed the ball wide however a forward pass let the visitors off the hook.
On 20 minutes a loose pass from Sandal was intercepted by Joe Greene who ran the ball deep into the opposition half and even though he was caught had the awareness to pass to Tom Heath whos pace could not be matched and ran in to score. Aaron’s kick was perfect. 7-0.
Lenny tackled well backed up by Bob but Eccles failed to maintain the pressure allowing Sandal to keep a foothold in the game.
3 minutes into the 2nd half Sandal kept the ball well and several missed tackles later the ball was in for a try. Missed kick 7-5.
Eccles were missing tackles and it seemed the ref was missing knock ons as Sandal broke again and as Eccles protested, the kick through was touched down for a controversial score. Sandal failed to add to their score 7-10.
By now Nurse Baines needed a medic and Eccles were walking wounded but Eccles were the team who looked like they could take the game by the scruff of the neck and go on to win. Good line out and the ball was won by Dave Hargreaves who gave to Matt and the ball through the backs to Evan who raced home. Aaron missed the conversion 12-10. This should have spurred the visitors on to win and into the next round but lack of discipline and lost possession allowed Sandal to gain a little momentum. The old Bob was back… Offside Bob… Maybe he thought because the ref wasn’t giving offside that it was ok for him.
A kick over the top from Sandal had Eccles scampering back and it seemed Billy had reached the ball before the attacking players but the ref deemed it to be knocked on. From the resulting play, Sandal pressured the Eccles line and finally found the gap. Kicked 12-17.
The disappointment and frustration told on Eccles as in the final moments they failed to keep out Sandal for their final score of the day which was converted 12-24.
With a few players carrying injuries and many not playing to their best Eccles still could of and should of won this cup tie and it is too easy to blame officials for their mistakes but the game given away rather than lost. Positives were when they showed what they could do Eccles look unbeatable and a great performance from man of the match Dave H who won good ball in the line outs and backed up well. Matt Pass is washing the kit this week I just hope he doesn’t have to load the washer as he will probably stand there for 5 minutes and miss the washer!
Match report Jason Eaton..