The 2012/13 Div 4 East Champions and Runners Up met at Gorton Street with Eccles 3’s seeking revenge against Bury 2’s after they were beaten in narrowly in what turned out to be the league decider last season. The day started out in true thirds fashion as 2 members of the starting backline were drafted into the 2’s with less than an hour to go before kick-off, and the starting hooker was nowhere to be seen.
The day went from bad to worse as 10 minutes in Bury started a rolling maul just outside the Eccles 22 and their 6 foot 2 prop somehow managed to break down the touchline and run in unchallenged under the posts for the game’s opening try. The conversion was missed. This mishap turned out to be the kick start that the 3rds needed as from here on in as Eccles spent the rest of the first half camped in Burys half of the pitch. The backs punched holes in the oppositions defence line and the forwards ensured quick ball was consistently available which led to Bury giving away numerous penalties. 3 of these were kicked, one by returning superstar fly half Sam Thompson , and the other two by young Arran Booth making his debut for the thirds at Full Back, to make it 9-5 at half time.
The second half started the way the first ended with Eccles defending ferociously and the Eccles forwards tackling like demons namely Curtis and Connor Bates, Adam Austin and Kris Whitehead, halting the giant Bury forwards in their tracks. When Bury did manage to make some breaks, great covering defence by Ryan Baloletti Chattington and Arran Booth put an end to their attack. Dave Bates added experience to what was a youthful 3rds team, giving his valued words of ‘encouragement’ throughout the game to his fellow team mates, and being the nice guy that he is even, offered the same words of encouragement to the referee. Unluckily for Dave and his fellow 3rd team players, the referee felt he did not need any encouragement and duly marched them back 10 metres on at least 3 occasions. Mike Ince also brought his experience to the team and also added creative flair when coming on in the 2nd half, creating an overlap and leaving Nic Hageman to ghost in over the try line and finish in his trademark style (knocked on). This was just a small blip for the team as Twiggy powered over from close range and Nic made amends for his earlier error to finish off a fine move started after a break from Lenny, under the posts. The conversion was added to make the final score 21-5 giving Eccles their first win in Division 3 North.
Eccles go forward and should take plenty of positives from this game ready for the trip to BAE Warton next week, namely there much improved support running and resolute defence.
Eccles 21 – 5 Bury
Trys: Twiggy; Nic Hageman
Cons: Arran Booth
Pen: Sam Thompson; Arran Booth x 2