After picking up their first win of the season the week before Eccles had moved one place above Vale of Lune in the league table, so travelled to Lancaster hopeful of gaining some more momentum.
Eccles started brightly. Adrian Dootson cut some nice lines in the centres before Jordan Bromley made a 50 yard break before losing possession. Unfortunately not respecting possession would become one of the themes of the day as the number of unforced handling errors was staggering. One of these after 10 minutes led to Eccles going 20 yards backwards before being turned over, allowing the Vale full back to score and the scrum half to convert. Another loose pass on 19 minutes had a similar result, this time the winger scoring, with the conversion making it 14-0.
Alongside the handling errors Eccles also racked up the injuries. James Johnson needed treatment on the pitch for a number of minutes. Shortly after that Ross McMahon picked up a bad knee injury and had to be stretchered from the field. And just five minutes later Sean Griffin was left concussed and ruled out for the rest of the game.
With the disruptions Eccles were struggling to find any rhythm. On 34 minutes they tried a kick to the corner. The idea wasn’t bad but the chase was lacking and the tackling even worse. The Vale backs showed some nice hands and speed to break away before the #6 showed some deft footwork to touch down. With half-time approaching Eccles just wanted to see the sheds, but there was still time for a floated pass to be picked out of the air by the home side’s #12 and he raced away under the posts. The conversion made the score 26-0 at the break.
Despite the mistakes, the game hadn’t been as one-sided as the scoreline suggested. So after some rousing words from the coaches Eccles looked to re-establish themselves in the second half. And for 20 minutes the game was nip and tuck; pressure from both sides cancelling out any progress. But on 62 minutes the Eccles scrum collapsed, giving the home side a penalty and injuring front row replacement Ross Seward. This forced the game to go to uncontested scrums and Eccles to drop to 14 players; 29-0 with nearly a quarter remaining.
Those last 15 minutes were ones which Eccles would like to forget. The Lancastrians used their extra man to run in three tries while the visitors struggled to generate any go forward at all. At full time the score had run up to 51-0.
A bad day at the office all round. Eccles will have a lot to work on this week before they welcome Rochdale to Gorton Street on October 10th.