The third game of the season was played away at Bolton rugby club in good conditions. Eccles started in possession but Bolton scored a try in the third minute. After a good even passage of play of 4 minutes Eccles hit back with a great try from Tyler who pulled the ball from the ruck and made a typical darting run down the left side.
This was answered by Bolton as one of their players acted as first receiver from a free pass and bulldozed his way towards Eccles’ try line. This pattern was to be repeated by Bolton at restarts, scrums and free passes, a tactic which is simple but effective. Hopefully our boys took a lesson from that and should have a level of expectation as to how oppositions will play from set pieces – especially free passes and scrums.
Bolton displayed a penchant for the left side of the pitch while attacking as they managed to spread the ball quickly, stretch our defence and score repeatedly. Again this is a tactic that our boys should look to employ on attack themselves, and try to be wary of when in defence. Assuming most players are right handed, passing to the left should be executed quicker and more accurately than to the right.
Sandy made a storming restart and Eccles showed good skill in the ruck by recycling the ball and putting together several phases of possession leading to a run down the left side line by Alfie, mimicking a passage of play from last week but without head-butting the goal post. Unfortunately he was tackled before grounding the ball so no try.
At the 20 minute mark Eccles scored a nice try from our own scrum as Sandy darted to the left to offload to Tyler who finished off beautifully. Bolton replied instantly and the score at the break was 7-2.
Bolton started the second half with a try and then another after 3 minutes. From the restart Eccles made a good run but failed to maintain possession at the ruck, Bolton turned the ball over and helped themselves to another score.
Eccles scored their third try through Connor who simply did the basics well by running straight with the ball – after beating one or two tacklers he was through their defensive line and it was then up to them to chase him down, which they didn’t.
Eccles did well to score the next try. Congratulations should go to the boys for this one as it was from a scrum near our own tryline. Tyler made a great evasive run and turned on the speed to get his third of the match – well done lad.
The game ended with a try to them and the final score was 12-4. One of the most encouraging aspects was the interval between the last two scores – 8 minutes, which in the context of the game was quite long and shows some tenacity from our boys considering that they had been on the receiving end for much of the match.