Another week and another Cumbrian expedition, this time to the west coast to take on a herd of zebras. After the mauling they had received at Eccles earlier in the season Workington knew they had to be fully up to the mark. The only problem Eccles appeared to have was getting everybody to the club on time for the early departure. Two notable failures here were Ellis O’Neal who turned up late and then proceeded to show all the contents of his car boot come wardrobe and Luke Cullen who was convinced the game was cancelled and therefore was allowed a couple of hours more sleep. Thankfully “she who must be obeyed” and Sir Ian were able to divert the family waggon and collect him on their way up.
The game started with the home side on full throttle and Eccles stuck in first gear. Very quickly the home side established a lead of 8 points due to a penalty kick and try. Eccles then decided they had better sort out the engine and as they went through the gears James Radcliff ran in two almost identical tries both of which Lee Robson converted. During this period Eccles were unlucky not to score more with Tom Chapman, giving us his impersonation of Mr Angry throughout the day, being tap tackled just short of the line, then Greg Wilson making a break down the middle with his only support appearing wide out right, and finally an almost certain try going begging as the scrum appeared to march over the home side’s try line with a failure to ground the ball.
The failure to capitalise on these opportunities were to cost Eccles dear as Workington came back and ran in two tries of their own, one of which was converted.
This made the halftime score 20 – 14 to Workington.
Eccles turned round and came back at the home side and in far too short phases showed just what they could do with the ball, resulting in Simon Donovan, last week’s self-appointed MoM, going over for a try which was then followed by Mark Greenhalgh scoring another, who in the process did his own impersonation of a bagatelle game.
With the lead re-established the need to keep things tight was paramount, alas this was not to be as Workington came back straightway with a converted try, to which Eccles replied with a penalty kicked by Ellis O’Neal. Then as the game was coming to a close the home side scored one last converted try to give themselves a 7 point lead. Yet Eccles were not beat as they made one final driving surge for the Workington line only to be denied by the clock.
34 – 27, 5 tries to 4, a full on game to watch, with all the locals agreeing it was well worth the admission fee. The only consolation for Eccles being the two bonus points they had accrued.
With many issues being discussed this season, especially regarding the League structure, one thing is for sure, the West Cumbrian teams certainly appear to have two first teams. The one that travels away and the one that stays at home. The home side being far stronger than the one encountered at Gorton Street.
So it was a case of licking wounds, a bite to eat, a drink to drink, and a demonstration by one that sometimes it’s better to say nothing and let people think you a fool that open your mouth and remove all doubt. Then onto the bus for a stop off in Penrith, the social hub of the north where yours truly and Bruntty found a new hostelry to try out. However this was not before many negotiations had to take place, some of which was by phone, to determine how late we were allowed out, thank the lord for mobile communications.