Despite the ground “only” being 53 miles away it seemed to take forever to get there in the endless Yorkshire traffic. Perhaps that’s why Eccles started the game like they were still on the bus, despite making the journey in cars.
After 33 minutes Eccles were trailing 28-0, had Lisa Campbell carried off with a broken ankle and had little to show for it other than Katie Houghton’s strong running and Alex Stokes’ usual hard work at the breakdown. Certainly the strong defence and play at the ruck which characterised last week’s win was nowhere to be seen. Probably the less said about it the better.
From this point Eccles remembered what they were there for and competed in a close, tough contest. On 35 minutes Igemi Ekoku finished off a beautiful flowing try that Vickie Merrick converted to give the visitors a glimmer of hope that they could get back into it. But the game was effectively killed off on the stroke of half time as the home team added their fifth try and conversion to make the half-time score 35-7.
In the second half both teams ringed the changes. The substitutions from Eccles seemed to raise their game; Sophie Rogers’ hard work in defence on her return from injury was particularly impressive. Eccles had chances to score but Natalie Gill was pulled down just short of the line and Fawn Lucas was bundled into touch, after some nice play from the midfield backs and support from the forwards. But it was West Park who scored next extending their lead to 47-7.
Despite the one sided score Eccles never gave up and scored a late consolation try as Igemi Ekoku again finished off some assured handling. She was later named Back of the Match for her two tries and last ditch tackles, while Alex Stokes was named Forward of the Match for her massive efforts in both attack and defence.
Eccles aren’t struggling to score points at the moment but they’re going to find things difficult if they don’t improve their defence which has conceded over 100 points in just three games. Clearly lots to work on in training over the next couple of weeks as fixtures take a break for North of England trials. The Ladies will be back in league action on 06/10 as Waterloo come to Gorton Street. In the meantime they will also a host a pitch up and play development day as part of their efforts to start a Second Team, on 29/09.