The never ending road trip that is a modern day rugby season continued for Eccles with a second run up the M6 to Upper Eden. The previous visit being a close cup game which saw Eccles come out on top.
This week with numerous changes to the side due to the teaching profession going off on subsidised skiing trips and others on clandestine manoeuvres, the details of which are totally “hush, hush”, the full depth of the clubs resources had to be called upon.
The game could not have started any worse for Eccles as the home side took a 12 point lead with two tries and a conversion. The second one being a classic shoot ourselves in the foot routine. After this the Eccles switch was finally flicked on and the boys in blue started to show all just what they can do. First it was a try by Simon Donovan which was quickly followed by a try by Matt Nombella, making a rare appearance at flanker, both of which came from exerted forward dominance. Lee Robson converted the second.
With the scores now level the game was up for grabs and following a shade of luck Eccles secured with lead with a counter-attack by Fred Oakey which released Tom Dutton to run in all most unopposed. Lee Robson again kicked the conversion. As half time approached the Eccles lead was slowly whittled down with two penalty kicks for the home side the second being the last play of the half.
The second half saw the penalty count against Eccles build, and with a series of back chats by senior players towards the referee the home side were given the opportunity to retake the lead with another penalty which they took willingly. As in the first half Eccles came straight back with a good passage of play which ended in Lee Robson going over for a try which he also converted.
With a five point lead Eccles were now set on defensive mode as the home side kept mounting wave after wave of pressure on the Eccles line. The lead was reduced to two points with yet another home side penalty, and with some interesting attempts at ball control by one winger nerves were tingling. However with the clock ever so slowly ticking down it looked as if the lads had done just enough. Alas the cruel hand of fate would have her way and with the very last drive by the home side and in the very last seconds of play they were able to kick over a drop goal following which the final whistle was blown.
A hard bitter pill to swallow for the lads after outscoring Upper Eden by four tries to two, all they had to show for their efforts was two more bonus points. However those two points may just count in their favour at the end of the season.
The comment of the day goes to one of the home side supporters, who at the time was well on the way to becoming “tired and emotional”, he described our illustrious chairman as being an “ugly, loud mouthed, flipping, charlie”, or words to that effect. The quick witted chairman replied with, “there’s no need to be rude”. I was just amazed at how quickly the said chap had got the measure of said chairman considering they had only just met.