Match Reports - NCL 2011

Saturday 5th November 2011

National Conference Division 2

 

WIDNES WEST BANK 26 -  ECCLES 18

 

Eccles produced a top class  performance for their final game of the season against all the odds away at  unbeaten league leaders Widnes West Bank. The performance was all the more remarkable because once again injuries and absentees resulted in another 10 changes from the team that won at Crosfields with Mike Bell, Jim Lomax and Paul Crook getting  called up for their first team debuts.

 

The home side soon realized that this Eccles team were capable of ending their winning run and they resorted to some very dubious tactics throughout the game, resulting in them giving away 14 penalties. It has to be said that the referee had a shocker  though and also penalized Eccles 13 times, many of them wrong decisions, and with a bit more protection from the officials Eccles could have walked away with a victory.

 

Adam Taher opened the scoring with a 4th minute penalty after a West Bank player was found guilty of leading with the elbow (2-0). Two minutes later the home side had a try disallowed for a forward pass, but they did take the lead on 15 minutes when Steve Curphey put Mikey Kelly through a gap for a try that in the corner, too far out for Steve Mellor to convert (2-4). Mellor was also off target on 21 minutes after Dave Jones knocked a high ball back for Curphey to dive over in the corner (2-8), but he managed his first conversion after Jones “dummied” his way through a gap to score in the 25th minute (2-14), full back Mike
Forgham unluckily slipping in the mud as he went to tackle the big stand off.

 

West Bank thought they were in for a stroll at this point but Eccles shored up the defence and shocked the home side on 32 minutes when Richard Openshaw took a quick tap penalty and sent Adam Taher crashing over for a try that he also converted (8-14).

 

Defences were on top at the start second half and this seemed to frustrate the home side who had Craig Millington sin binned for punching Tom Warburton off the ball on 53 minutes. Three shocking penalty decisions against Eccles, one after another, put the home side on the attack and just before the hour Jones scooted over for his second try half way between the  sticks and the corner. Steve Mellor converted to give the home side a seemingly comfortable 8-20 lead.

 

Eccles were dealt a major blow on 63 minutes when the inexperienced Bell had the ball taken from his grasp in a one on one challenge by Kelly and the winger scored his second try, which Mellor improved (8-26). Any thought of Eccles giving up the game were soon dispelled though, and it was they who finished the game by far the stronger side, with some fast flowing rugby. They were rewarded on 70 minutes when Taher’s short pass put Forgham through a gap to score from 30 metres out. Taher added the conversion (14-26) and Eccles were back in the game.

 

Eccles looked set to score again on 75 minutes when Mike Garside broke through the line, only to be stopped by a high challenge from Millington, which saw him sin binned for the second time in the game, when maybe it could easily have been a sending off.   Eccles took advantage right away though with good cross field passing involving Taher and Forgham ending with Simon Brown pushing off his opposite winger to score wide out. Taher was unlucky with the conversion (18-26).

 

A minute later Wayne Courtney joined Millington in the sin bin for another off the ball challenge and Eccles threw everything into attack for the last 4 minutes, but somehow the home team managed to hold out, and were very relieved at the final whistle.

  

Team: Mike Forgham (1T), Christian Higgins, Simon Brown (1T), Martin Judge, Paul Crook, Mike Garside, Tom Warburton, Adam Taher (1T, 3G), Richard Openshaw, Adam Walker, Mike Foster, Marc Jones, Chris Smith (MoM), Martin Wilcock, Mike Bell, Chris Irwin, Jim Lomax.

Saturday, 5th November 2011

 

WIDNES WEST BANK 26 -  ECCLES 18

 

Eccles produced a top class  performance for their final game of the season against all the odds away at  unbeaten league leaders Widnes West Bank. The performance was all the more remarkable because once again injuries and absentees resulted in another 10 changes from the team that won at Crosfields with Mike Bell, Jim Lomax and Paul Crook getting  called up for their first team debuts.

 

The home side soon realized that this Eccles team were capable of ending their winning run and they resorted to some very dubious tactics throughout the game, resulting in them giving away 14 penalties. It has to be said that the referee had a shocker  though and also penalized Eccles 13 times, many of them wrong decisions, and with a bit more protection from the officials Eccles could have walked away with a victory.

 

Adam Taher opened the scoring with a 4th minute penalty after a West Bank player was found guilty of leading with the elbow (2-0). Two minutes later the home side had a try disallowed for a forward pass, but they did take the lead on 15 minutes when Steve Curphey put Mikey Kelly through a gap for a try that in the corner, too far out for Steve Mellor to convert (2-4). Mellor was also off target on 21 minutes after Dave Jones knocked a high ball back for Curphey to dive over in the corner (2-8), but he managed his first conversion after Jones “dummied” his way through a gap to score in the 25th minute (2-14), full back Mike
Forgham
unluckily slipping in the mud as he went to tackle the big stand off.

 

West Bank thought they were in for a stroll at this point but Eccles shored up the defence and shocked the home side on 32 minutes when Richard Openshaw took a quick tap penalty and sent Adam Taher crashing over for a try that he also converted (8-14).

 

Defences were on top at the start second half and this seemed to frustrate the home side who had Craig Millington sin binned for punching Tom Warburton off the ball on 53 minutes. Three shocking penalty decisions against Eccles, one after another, put the home side on the attack and just before the hour Jones scooted over for his second try half way between the  sticks and the corner. Steve Mellor converted to give the home side a seemingly comfortable 8-20 lead.

 

Eccles were dealt a major blow on 63 minutes when the inexperienced Bell had the ball taken from his grasp in a one on one challenge by Kelly and the winger scored his second try, which Mellor improved (8-26). Any thought of Eccles giving up the game were soon dispelled though, and it was they who finished the game by far the stronger side, with some fast flowing rugby. They were rewarded on 70 minutes when Taher’s short pass put Forgham through a gap to score from 30 metres out. Taher added the conversion (14-26) and Eccles were back in the game.

 

Eccles looked set to score again on 75 minutes when Mike Garside broke through the line, only to be stopped by a high challenge from Millington, which saw him sin binned for the second time in the game, when maybe it could easily have been a sending off.   Eccles took advantage right away though with good cross field passing involving Taher and Forgham ending with Simon Brown pushing off his opposite winger to score wide out. Taher was unlucky with the conversion (18-26).

 

A minute later Wayne Courtney joined Millington in the sin bin for another off the ball challenge and Eccles threw everything into attack for the last 4 minutes, but somehow the home team managed to hold out, and were very relieved at the final whistle.

  

Team: Mike Forgham (1T), Christian Higgins, Simon Brown (1T), Martin Judge, Paul Crook, Mike Garside, Tom Warburton, Adam Taher (1T, 3G), Richard Openshaw, Adam Walker, Mike Foster, Marc Jones, Chris Smith (MoM), Martin Wilcock, Mike Bell, Chris Irwin, Jim Lomax.

 

 

  

Saturday, 29th October 2011

 

CROSFIELDS 20 - ECCLES 32

 

The Roosters travelled to Warrington with no less than 10 changes from last week’s team, and came away with a fine and much needed victory.  The first quarter of the game was without points, and it was Crosfields who bagged the first points with a converted try against the run of play (6-0). 10 minutes later, Man of the Match Carl Mort, returning to the team after a holiday, made good yards and got a great pass out to Mike Forgham. Forgham’s pass went to influential scrum half John McAtee to score a try out wide that Adam Taher converted (6-6).

 

Minutes later Taher collected the ball from the kick-off, and his pass saw Martin Judge break through the defence to score a great try, again converted by Taher. (6-12). Eccles’ third try in a 10 minute spell was created when Taher intercepted a high ball and forced his way through the Crosfields defence. The ball went to Mort, who passed to McAtee close to the line.   McAtee couldn’t break through the tight defence but a brilliant pass out to Neil McPherson enabled him to cross for a well-earned try that was converted by Taher.   (6-18). It would have been a good thing for Eccles to close the half at 6-18, but Crosfields managed to score a breakaway converted try just before the break. (12-18).

 

Eccles increased their lead within five minutes of the re-start, when good work by the forwards enabled Mort to score a try that exchange kicker McAtee couldn’t convert (12-22). Two minutes later though, a dubious off-side decision from the referee
allowed Crosfields to keep the ball for a further set and they narrowed the deficit with an unconverted try (16-22). Eccles’ determination was rewarded again when Simon Brown crossed following good support play, but it was too far out for Taher to convert on this occasion (16-26).

 

Five minutes from time, Mort’s strong running created a gap for James Brown and his pass sent Christian Higgins racing over the line to score a great try that Taher converted. (16-32). Crosfields managed to cross again in the dying seconds of the game – but the conversion failed and Eccles were deservedly the victors by 20-32.

 

A good all round team display with Marc Thomas, Mike Foster and Adam Taher outstanding. The Man of the Match award though went, unsurprisingly, to Carl Mort.

 

Team: Mike Forgham, Mike O’Boyle, Simon Brown (1T), Martin Judge (1T), Christian Higgins (1T), Steve Barry, John McAtee (1T), Mike Foster, Steve Fernley, Marc Thomas, Carl Mort (1T, MoM), James Brown, Marc Gilligan, Mike Davies, Neil McPherson (1T), Paul Crimes, Adam Taher (4G).

 

 

 

Saturday, 22nd October 2011

 

CASTLEFORD   LOCK LANE 40 - ECCLES   10

 

Further injuries saw Eccles make 6 more enforced changes from the previous weeks’ side and they went down to a predictable heavy defeat against a very powerful Castleford Lock Lane side. With no recognized scrum half available second rower James Brown filled the role and he made a decent job of it, but his opposite number Danny Rowse was on top form and helped himself to 2 tries and 6 goals from 7 attempts as the home side won easily. There was no lack of effort from any of the Eccles players, but with injuries taking a heavy toll on the squad they were simply no match for their Yorkshire opponents.

 

It took Lock Lane just 3 minutes to open the scoring when full back Mikey Tomlinson broke the line and exchanged passes with Tom Wood before going between the sticks to leave Rowse an easy conversion (0-6), and that lead was doubled on 8 minutes when Rowse squeezed through a gap and raced 80 metres, also between the posts for a try that he also converted (0-12). At
this point 60 or 70 points looked on the cards but to their credit Eccles started to defend with more resolve and kept the score respectable.

 

Rowse somehow managed to miss an easy looking conversion after Robbie Mawson swooped onto a low chip to the in goal to score next to the post in the 20th minute (0-16) and then Eccles finally got on the scoreboard on 32 minutes. Paul Crimes made a good strong run before Steve Barry sent a kick towards the corner flag and Matthew Gilligan showed great pace to just get the ball down before it went dead. Adam Taher was unlucky with the difficult kick (4-16) but it was the home side that finished the half in the ascendancy. They forced Eccles into a 35th minute goal line drop out and added a long range try 2 minutes from half time. A good passing movement involving Tomlinson, Rowse and Mawson ended with Rowse scoring his second try which he also converted (4-22).

 

The second period was only 2 minutes old when Bradley Lonsdale made a try saving tackle, but unfortunately, he received a 10 minute sin binning for holding down his opponent too long and Lock Lane made use of the extra man on 50 minutes when
Rowse put Wood through a gap and the strong running centre scored next to the post, allowing Rowse to convert (4-34).
On 57 minutes Steve Bolderson off-loaded out of a tackle and Joe Groves scored between the sticks leaving Rowse another easy conversion (4-40), but that proved to be the last score for the home side as the Eccles defence held firm for the last 23 minutes, and in fact they came up with the final try themselves on 66 minutes. Chris Smith was hauled down just short of the try line and Richard Openshaw sent man of the match Adam Taher crashing over 10 metres from the post for a try which he also converted (10-40).

 

Team: Mike Forgham, Andrew Muscat, Brad Lonsdale, Martin Judge, Matthew Gilligan (1T), Steve Barry, James Brown, Glynn Watson, Richard Openshaw, Adam Walker, Mike Foster, Marc Jones, Chris Smith, Martin Wilcock, Paul Crimes, Blake Forgham, Adam Taher (1T, 1G, MoM)

 

 

15th October 2011

 

WATERHEAD   48   -    ECCLES   26

 

Once again Eccles took a team depleted through injuries to Oldham and were, in the end, soundly beaten by a much livelier, faster and more enthusiastic Waterhead team. Marc Jones was added to this week’s missing list and Mark Thomas was badly missed after suffering injury on 17 minutes. Eccles can point to the fact that Waterhead scored two second half tries off refereeing errors, but in the end, they can only blame themselves for the margin of defeat. Eccles made a contest of the game for an hour, at which point they were only 4 points adrift, but for some inexplicable reason the defence just capitulated from that point on and the home side scored at will.

 

Mike O’Boyle was tackled in goal on 10 minutes to concede a goal line drop out, and Carl Sneyd missed an easy looking penalty in the 16th minute after Eccles were deemed guilty of a high tackle, but the first score did not come until the 27th minute when Alan Williamson broke the Eccles line and off loaded for Terry Fitzgerald to score 10 metres from the post, leaving Sneyd an easy conversion (0-6). Eccles opened their account 3 minutes from half time with an excellent sequence of
cross-field passes through Steve Barry, Tom Warburton and Chris Smith enabling Martin Judge to dive over in the corner. Unfortunately, it was too tight an angle for Warburton to convert and his shot went across the goal, then, as the final seconds ticked away Waterhead were awarded a penalty for obstruction. It was long but straight and this time Sneyd converted (4-8).

 

The second period was only 2 minutes old when Scott Owen broke down the wing from half way and went round the posts for a try that Sneyd converted (4-14), but Eccles hit back again just 5 minutes later. Smith was stopped inches from the line and Richard Openshaw sent Adam Taher barging over the line, through 3 defenders for a try 8 metres from the post, easily converted by Warburton (10-14).

 

On 53 minutes Owen broke away again down the wing and cut inside to score 10 metres from the goal, and Sneyd kicked the ball between the posts (10-20), but again Eccles refused to lie down and responded just after the hour. Carl Mort made a powerful break down the middle which paved the way for Bradley Lonsdale to stretch out and score 15 metres from the corner. Warburton converted (16-20) and there was a feeling that the game was still winnable, but disaster struck from the restart.   Eccles were unable to prevent the kick off going dead and 2 tackles after the drop out Matthew Barran went between the sticks for a Sneyd converted try (16-26).

 

The referee wrongly gave head and feed at a scrum to the home side on 68 minutes and Waterhead benefitted with Sneyd running well onto a Michael Diveney short pass for a try that he also converted (16-32). Waterheads Dale Lowe then had a try ruled out for a forward pass on 71 minutes and Eccles gave themselves a lifeline in the 75th minute. O’Boyle was pulled down close to the try line and Openshaw sent Taher crashing through a crowd of defenders for a carbon copy try of his first effort. Any hopes of a revival were ended though when Warburton missed the kick (20-32) and the home side scored again 2 minutes after.   Waterhead re-gained possession from the kick off and a mixture of strong running and weak defending allowed Barran to score his second try, which Sneyd converted (20-38).

 

It has to be said that Eccles were defending like schoolboys now and the home side didn’t need any help from the official, but they got it when he gifted them possession again with time running out and Sneyd broke down the wing to score a try that he also improved (20-44). Time was up now but the referee didn’t seem to want to end the game and there was still time for 2 injury time tries. Eccles won the ball at a scrum and Mike Foster was hauled down close to the try line where Taher was unstoppable as he charged over for his hat trick wide out off Barry’s “back door” pass. Warburton added a great conversion (26-44) but Sneyd showed that he too could score a hat trick when he charged down a kick and followed up to score in the 4th minute of injury time, although he was too far out to add the conversion (26-48).

 

 

Team: Mike O’Boyle, Andy Marsh, Carl Mort, Martin Judge (1T), Mike Forgham, Steve Barry, Tom Warburton (3G), Glynn Watson, Richard Openshaw, Mark Thomas, James Brown, Mike Foster, Chris Smith, Paul Crimes, Adam Taher (3T, MoM), Bradley Lonsdale (1T), Jon Smethurst.

 

 

 

8th October 2011

 

CASTLEFORD PANTHERS   18 - ECCLES 34

 

The Roosters finally ended their losing run with a rare away win that was well deserved as their patched up team put in a magnificent display to come back from a half time deficit to win in style. To be fair, Panthers themselves had a number of players away at the Super League grand final, but never the less this was a long way off Eccles’ strongest side. To add to Eccles’ already lengthy missing list Glynn Watson had work commitments and usual wingers Christian Higgins (away at University) and Andy Marsh (at hospital) were also missing. Bradley Lonsdale and back from holiday Aussie Mike Forgham replaced the wingers and Adam Walker moved off the subs bench to replace Watson, allowing young Paul Crimes to make his first team debut off the bench. All performed admirably and will be in contention to keep their places. Indeed all of the side played well with Chris Smith putting in a huge tackle count only to be pipped for man of the match by the powerful running of Carl Mort.

 

Eccles opened the scoring on 12 minutes with Richard Openshaw’s pass allowing Martin Judge to stretch out for a try 10 metres from the corner. Tom Warburton missed with the conversion, although that proved to be his only miss on the day (4-0). The home side hit back with 2 Jonathon Carter converted tries when first, Thomas Holland dived on a loose ball as it “pinballed” off a group of players after a low kick to the in goal on 26 minutes (4-6), and then Lee Norton sliced through the defence direct from a scrum in the 35th minute (4-12). Eccles hit back 2 minutes later though when Mike Foster was stopped just short and Openshaw sent Adam Taher crashing over next to the post allowing Warburton to convert (10-12). There was still time for Eccles to force a goal line drop out too Foster applying the pressure after Steve Barry’s kick to the in goal.  Eccles finally took the  lead on the hour with the first of 3 Warburton converted tries in 10 minutes. Barry off loaded out of the tackle and Mort barged over the full back to score 12 metres from the posts (16-12). Five minutes later Mike O’Boyle collected a high kick to the in goal and did well to skirt round 2 defenders to get the ball back into play. From his play the ball Forgham raced 80 metres, round all the defenders to score wide out (22-12).

 

Eccles secured the points 10 minutes from time when Mark Thomas’ powerful run drew in 5 defenders to stop him and Openshaw found a gap from the play the ball to “dummy” his way over wide out, Warburton adding a brilliant conversion (28-12).   Panthers threatened a late comeback 5 minutes later when Reece Henderson broke through the line and sent Joe Brummitt between the sticks for a try that Carter converted (28-18), but Eccles had the final say right on the whistle when Taher burst through the defence and sent Mark Thomas in under the crossbar with Warburton adding his 5th conversion (34-18).

 

 

Team: Mike O’Boyle, Mike Forgham (1T), Martin Judge (1T), Carl Mort (1T, MoM),Brad Lonsdale, Steve Barry, Tom Warburton (5G), Adam Walker, Richard Openshaw (1T), Mark Thomas (1T), James Brown, Marc Jones, Chris Smith, Paul Crimes, Jon Smethurst, Adam Taher, Mike Foster.

 

 

 

Saturday, 1st October, 2011

 

ECCLES 12 - OLDHAM ST. ANNES 34

 

A much changed and depleted Roosters side were forced to call up coach Chris Irwin out of retirement in order to make up 16 players as injuries and absentees continue to play havoc at the club. Despite the problems though, a lot of effort went into this game and although the visitors deserved their victory Eccles will be disappointed that the margin of defeat did not reflect that effort.

 

Martin Judge topped the tackle count after moving to centre from the wing and Mike O’Boyle looked a natural in his first ever game at full back, but for the fourth time this season the man of the match award went to hooker Richard Openshaw.

 

St. Annes forced a goal line drop out on 7 minutes when O’Boyle was tackled in goal and a minute later Jordan White scooted over from dummy half for the opening try 15 metres from the post that Kiel Lancashire converted (0-6). Eccles were certain
they had leveled in the 12th minute when Adam Taher sent Chris Smith over next to the posts, but the try was ruled out on the intervention of a touch judge for a forward pass, then, on 20 minutes, the same touch judge thwarted them again when Openshaw sent Taher crashing over after Carl Mort was stopped just short. This time she ruled Taher was short of the line.

 

St. Annes increased the lead on 22 minutes when Dane English spun out of a tackle to score wide out, but the angle was too tight for Lancashire to convert (0-10), his only miss of the day. Four minutes later the Oldham side forced another drop out when O’Boyle was forced to kick the ball dead under pressure from White, but Eccles were left fuming 3 minutes from the break when they had a third try ruled out by the same touch judge. Marc Jones got over in the corner only to be ruled that he hit the corner flag on the way over. To add insult to injury St. Annes went straight down the other end where Nial Collins went under the cross bar after collecting a long kick early in the set which took Eccles by surprise. Lancashire converted (0-16).

Eccles finally scored a try that was allowed on 50 minutes when Steve Barry dummied to pass and slipped through a gap to score 10 metres from the post, leaving Tom Warburton an easy conversion (6-16), but St. Annes hit back again 5 minutes later. Their stand out player Michael Cadd made a break down the middle before sending Lancashire between the sticks for a
try that he also converted (6-22), and
Lancashire was on target again on the hour after Collins had cut inside from the wing to score his second try (6-28).

 

On 67 minutes St. Annes forced a third goal line drop out when Matty Wild was pushed into touch after catching a kick in goal, but Wild was alert 3 minutes later to steal the ball back for Eccles after a loose play the ball from St. Annes and this enabled Openshaw to send Irwin crashing over wide out. With Warburton now off the pitch Barry took over the kicking and converted brilliantly (12-28).

 

Adam Walker went between the sticks for Eccles a minute from the end of the game but Eccles were left flabbergasted as the try was ruled out for a fourth time, for a double movement, and once again the visitors went straight to the other end and scored. Cadd made the break again and the ball was taken further on by English before sending Lancashire in for his second try in the corner. Lancashire also added an excellent conversion from the touchline (12-34).

 

Team: Mike O’Boyle, Andrew Marsh, Carl Mort, Martin Judge, Christian Higgins, Steve Barry (1T, 1G), Tom Warburton (1T), Glynn Watson, Richard Openshaw, Adam Taher, James Brown, Marc Jones, Chris Smith, Adam Walker, Chris Irwin (1T), Matt Wild.

 

 

 

Saturday, 24th September, 2011.

 

ECCLES 28 - WATERHEAD 38

 

Eccles’ injury crisis reached epidemic proportions, and to make matters worse, the club was further hampered by four players being away on a holiday and another group away for a stag weekend in Nottingham. The result was, that with only 18 fit players available to choose from the ‘A’ team game had to be postponed.  As if that was not bad enough David Hedgecock injured his groin in the warm up and was replaced by Matthew Gilligan and Christian Higgins injured his back in his first tackle of the game. In spite of all the problems though, this was a far more passionate Eccles performance than we have seen of late and a draw may have been a fairer result.

 

Waterhead opened the scoring with their first attack of the game on 2 minutes with Craig Highton scoring next to the post to give Carl Sneyd an easy conversion (0-6) and their were no further scores until the 15th minute when Eccles drew level. Tom
Warbuton’s
low kick to the in goal bounced off a defenders shin and Mike O’Boyle swooped to touch down
5 metres from the post, allowing Warburton to convert (6-6). Warburton was involved again 3 minutes later when he and Richard Openshaw combined to send O’Boyle over for his second try. The centre just managed to stretch out of a tackle and get the ball down just inside the corner flag and Warburton converted brilliantly (12-6).

 

On 26 minutes Waterhead reduced the arrears when Darren Nixon forced a try wide out. Eccles maintained a slender lead when Sneyd’s conversion attempt hit the top of the post (12-10). Waterhead also forced a goal line drop out on the half hour when O’Boyle was called on to kick the ball to safety, but it was Eccles who scored next, 4 minutes later. Openshaw made a good break and O’Boyle was stopped just short of the line before man of the match Adam Taher charged over from the play the ball and Warburton converted (18-10). There was still time for another score though, and it went to Waterhead, right on the half time whistle. The visitors best player – scrum half Mike Diveney made a break and Nixon took the ball on further to draw replacement full back O’Boyle before sending Highton between the sticks for a try that Sneyd converted (18-16).

 

Waterhead started the second half as they did the first, and this time Highton was the provider, sending Alan Williamson between the sticks for a Sneyd goaled try (18-22), but 4 minutes later Eccles re-gained the lead. Marc Jones made a good break before Openshaw sent Taher round the sticks, leaving Warburton to convert (24-22).

 

The lead changed hands for a fifth time on 55 minutes when Terry Fitzgerald shot through a gap in the defence and sent Scott Owen in for a try that Sneyd converted (24-28). Eccles hit back again however, on 64 minutes. John McAtee put Jones through a gap and he found Matthew Gilligan in support to score 10 metres from the corner. Warburton’s first miss of the day meant the scores were tied at 28-28.  The game was in the balance now but it was not to be Eccles’ day. Diveney followed up his own kick to score5 metres from the posts on 67 minutes and Sneyd landed his fifth conversion (28-34). Eccles were then
penalized for holding down on 73 minutes and Sneyd attempted to convert from the touch line but missed. They did make the game safe though two minutes later with Nixon scoring his second try in the corner, although it was too far out for Sneyd to improve (28-38).

 

Team: Christian Higgins, Andrew Marsh, Matthew Gilligan (1T), Mike O’Boyle (2T), Martin Judge, Tom Warburton( 4G), John McAtee, Glynn Watson, Richard Openshaw, Martin Wilcock, James Brown, Marc Jones, Chris Smith, Adam Walker, Danny Smith, Neil McPherson, Adam Taher (2T, 1G, MoM)

 

 

 

17th September 2011

 

ECCLES 16 - CASTLEFORD LOCK LANE 46

 

With a mounting injury list Eccles fielded only 15 players for the home game with Castleford Lock Lane, in order to send a squad to Leigh Miners with the second team. They especially missed influential scrum half Mike Carney who will miss the rest of the season after having an operation on his arm. On the bright side though was an impressive debut by Lewis Palfrey who pushed Richard Openshaw all the way for the man of the match award. Palfrey, who was released from Whitehaven earlier in the week had not played for Eccles since he was 14 years old.

 

The visitors thoroughly deserved their victory, but early in the game there was no sign of the onslaught that was to come as Eccles matched their opponents and twice forced goal line drop outs. On 4 minutes Palfrey’s kick to the in goal was knocked dead, and on 13 minutes Christian Higgins applied pressure after Steve Barry kicked to the in goal, although Lock Lane did take the lead on 10 minutes. Mikey Tomlinson broke from half way then sent Mike Spears between the sticks, leaving Wayne Hardy an easy conversion (0-6). Hardy also converted the next 3 tries before leaving the field at half time.

 

Lock Lane scored another long range try through Joe Groves on 21 minutes (0-12), then in the 28th minute Spears stole the ball in a one on one tackle and his long pass sent Adam Garlick between the sticks (0-18) and the final score of the first half came on 31 minutes with Craig Duncan intercepting a pass and racing 65 metres to score between the sticks again (0-24).

 

Lock Lane had Spears sin binned 8 minutes into the second half for a professional foul and Eccles took full advantage with 2 tries in 4 minutes. The first came on 51 minutes with Openshaw burrowing his way over from dummy half, wide out, after James Brown was stopped just short. Tom Warburton was unlucky with a difficult conversion attempt (4-24) but he was successful 4 minutes later when he converted his own try, taking Palfrey’s high kick towards the far post despite the attention of 3 defenders (10-24). Any thoughts of a revival were soon snuffed out though as Tom Wood sliced through a gaping hole in the home defence on 62 minutes for a try that change kicker Liam Booth converted (10-30), and he was followed across the line just 3 minutes later by Robbie Mawson with Booth converting again (10-36).  Mawson turned from scorer to provider on 72 minutes when he broke through the defensive line and sent Wood racing over in the corner, although this time, too far out for Booth to convert (10-40). Booth did get his third conversion on 74 minutes when he converted Galick’s second try after Wood had made a break and sent him round the posts (10-46), but the final say went to Eccles just before the final whistle. Mark Thomas and Barry combined to send Palfrey through a gap for a try wide out. Adam Taher took over the kicking duties and converted brilliantly from a difficult angle (16-46).

 

Team: Christian Higgins, Mike O’Boyle, Andrew Muscat, Mike Murray, Martin Judge, Lewis Palfrey (1T), Tom Warburton (1T, 1G), Glynn Watson, Richard Openshaw (1T, MoM), Mark Thomas, James Brown, Chris Smith, Steve Barry, Rory Dahouchie, Adam Taher.

 

 

 

 

Saturday, 10th September 2011

 

OLDHAM ST. ANNES 38 - ECCLES 10

 

Eccles welcomed back Glynn Watson, but were without injured forwards Chris Smith and Mark Thomas for the visit to much improved Oldham St. Annes, and it was a poor performance from the Eccles side which saw the home team end their Eccles
“hoodoo”, Eccles having won the previous 5 meetings. It could have been much worse than 38 as well, but the normally accurate Kiel Lancashire only converted 3 of their 8 tries and also missed a penalty.

 

The game was held up for 20 minutes from the 11th minute when St. Annes winger Luke Wallace suffered a badly broken leg. Up to that point Eccles were competitive, and after the stoppage they took the lead on 14 minutes. Mike Carney sent Adam Walker through a gap 20 metres out and he beat full back Greg Worrall to score 5 metres from the corner, too far out for Carney to convert (4-0), but the home side took the lead just 3 minutes later with Worrall going over 10 metres from the corner and Lancashire’s conversion nudging St. Annes in front (4-6).

 

On 22 minutes Connor Karren forced an unconverted try in the corner (4-10) and when Christian Higgins spilled a high kick 3 minutes later Lee Forsythe was presented with an easy try that Lancashire improved (4-16). It was tough luck on the Eccles full back who, apart from that error, was a contender for man of the match. Forsythe scored his second try when he squeezed between a couple of defenders just two minutes from the break, but Lancashire was off target again (4-20).

 

Eccles man of the match Richard Openshaw and James Brown, playing at loose forward for the first time were impressive as Eccles tried hard to fight their way back into the game but the home side were on top with a solid defence and a lively attack. Lancashire missed a 51st minute penalty, when Eccles were pulled for a high tackle, and he also failed to convert the next 3 tries as St. Annes began todominate. David Harris scored in the corner on 55 minutes (4-24) then Forsythe dived on a low chip to the in goal for his hat trick on 65 minutes (4-28) and 3 minutes later poor tackling allowed Harris to score his second try wide out (4-32).

 

Forsythe added his fourth try with a 65 metre interception between the sticks, leaving Lancashire an easy conversion on 71 minutes (4-38), but the final say went to Eccles. Adam Taher sent Martin Wilcock through a gap 2 minutes from time and he stepped inside full back Worrall to score a try that Carney converted (10-38). The game ended on a sour note for Eccles though when Ben Williamson suffered a serious shoulder injury, with almost the last tackle of the game.

 

Team: Christian Higgins, Ben Williamson, Andrew Muscat, Mike O’Boyle, Martin Judge, Steve Barry, Mike Carney (1G), Glynn Watson, Richard Openshaw (MoM), Mike Foster, Adam Walker (1T), Marc Jones, James Brown, Martin Wilcock (1T), Tom Warburton, Bradley Lonsdale, Adam Taher.

 

 

 

Saturday, 3rd September, 2011

 

ECCLES 24 - WIDNES WEST BANK 40

 

Both hookers – Richard Openshaw (Eccles) and Evan Simmons (West Bank) took the man of the match awards after a full blooded, very physical battle between two very committed sides, which saw the visitors triumph on the back of a whirlwind opening that saw them score 28 unanswered points in the first half hour. Eccles though, can take heart that once they “stemmed the tide” they won the last hour 24-12, and but for a couple of refereeing decisions it could have been much closer.

 

Eccles were without Marc Jones and Mike Forgham on holiday and Glynn Watson who’s wife had given birth earlier in the day, and the enforced changes showed as West Bank took advantage. They forced a drop out on 3 minutes with Ben Williamson being called on to knock the ball dead, and at the end of the next set Simmons stretched out for the opening try, converted by Steve Mellor (0-6), the first of his 6 goals from 7 attempts. Simmons’ break on 10 minutes then paved the way for a try from Chris Walsh (0-12), and Mellor’s only miss with the boot came after Steve Curphey went over in the corner on 13 minutes (0-16).

 

On 22 minutes an attacking kick from Steve Barry was caught in goal by Jordan Barr and the Eccles contingent stopped, believing that the ball had gone dead, but the winger played to the whistle and raced 80 metres before sending Craig Millington between the sticks (0-22), and it was 0-28 in as many minutes when Josh Simm took advantage of some weak defence to score next to the upright.

 

On the half hour Barry sent Mike O’Boyle through a gap to touch down only for the referee to rule that he didn’t ground the ball properly, but Eccles opened their account on 33 minutes when Andrew Muscat chased Barry’s low kick to score18 metres from the sticks. Carneyconverted (6-28) and he also converted Eccles second try 2 minutes from half time. Carney was stopped just short in front of the sticks and Openshaw sent Adam Taher crashing through the defence between the uprights (12-28).

 

Defences were on top at the start of the second period until 51 minutes when Mellor broke down the wing before cutting inside to score between the posts (12-34), but Eccles were not going to lie down and hit back on the hour. Lee McCormack caught a kick and broke across the half way line before handing on to Carney who drew the full back before sending a long pass wide for Martin Judge to score in the corner. Carney was hurt in that passage of play and change kicker Taher converted brilliantly from the touch line (18-34). At this point West Bank had Steve Curphey sin binned for dissent and Eccles took advantage of the extra man on 67 minutes. Taher was hauled down inches from the line and Openshaw spun out of a tackle to score wide out. Carney resumed the kicking duties and showed that he could also convert from the touch line (24-34).

 

Ironically, it was Steve Curphey who made the game safe for the Widnes side, forcing a try wide out, just a minute after coming back from the sin bin. Mellor converted brilliantly to make the score 24-40. With 9 minutes remaining though, Eccles still felt the game was retrievable and the visitors survived a scare on 75 minutes, the referee coming to their rescue. Carney chipped over the defence and the ball bounced kindly for Muscat to score next to the posts. Everybody around the ground assumed it was a try except the official who ruled Muscat was off side.

 

Team:   Ben Williamson, Christian Higgins, Andrew Muscat (1T), Mike OBoyle, Martin Judge (1T), Steve Barry, Mike Carney (3G), Mike Foster, Richard Openshaw (1T), Mark Thomas, Lee McCormack, James Brown, Chris Smith, Brad Lonsdale, Adam Walker, Rory Dahouchie, Adam Taher (1T, 1G).

 

 

 

Wednesday, 24th August 2011.

 

Manchester & District League Valentine Cup Final.

 

Eccles v Irlam Hornets (Manchester) at the Willows, Salford RLFC.

Half Time= 12- 6. Full Time= 26-20. Referee:- Mr Andy Smith (Salford)

 

Eccles will go down in history as the last ever club to win silverware at the Willows with this victory in the Manchester league Valentine cup final over a spirited Irlam Hornets side, who pushed them all the way. Neither side were at full strength but still produced an epic, full blooded final. Irlam matched Eccles, who play 3 division’s above them for most of the game, but Eccles had that little bit extra when it mattered.

 

Straight from the kick off Eccles forced Irlam into a goal line drop out when Martin Judge and Matthew Gilligan made a tackle in goal, then, they forced another set of six soon after when Steve Barry’s kick was touched by an Irlam defender before going into touch. For all the Eccles possession though Irlams’ defence held firm until the 11th minute when Mike Carney was tackled
high and the scrum half slotted a penalty (2-0), the first of 5 goals from 6 attempts. At 4 tries each it was man of the match Carney’s kicking that proved the difference between the teams.

 

Eccles scored the first try on 17 minutes when Tom Warburton sent Mike O’Boyle racing over half way between the posts and corner for a Carney converted try (8-0), but Irlam responded just 4 minutes later with Bradley White diving over 10 metres from the corner and Chris Drench adding a great conversion (8-6). Eccles took a 12-6 interval lead though 4 minutes from the whistle with Chris Smith sending Carney over wide out, although too far out to improve his own try.

  

Irlam were dominating now and forced a goal line drop when Muscat was tackled behind the line just before the hour, and in the next set a low kick to the corner allowed Jimmy Carter to score. Drench’s kick fell agonizingly just short of the target (18-20), but Irlam had the lead for the first time and Eccles needed to do something to change the momentum of the game.

 

On 63 minutes Ben Williamson was introduced from the bench and 6 minutes later he followed up Mark Thomas’s break to restore the Eccles lead. Carney converted the try (24-20) and also added a 72nd minute penalty when Irlam were guilty of holding down in front of the uprights (26-20). Irlam tried desperately to save the game but the Eccles defence held firm for the last 8 minutes.

 

Despite Williamson’s heroics Carney was rightly chosen as the official man of the match by Salford Red’s new coach Matt Parish, while Mark Salisbury was picked as Irlam’s stand out player by the Eccles contingent.

 

 

Team: Andrew Muscat, Christian Higgins, Matthew Gilligan, Mike O’Boyle, Martin Judge, Steve Barry, Mike Carnet (MoM, 2T, 5G), Glynn Watson, Tom Warburton, Mark Thomas, James Brown, Marc Jones, Chris Smith, Mike Foster, Mike Murray, Ben Williamson (1T), Adam Taher.

 

 

 

Saturday 20th August 2011

 

ECCLES 60 - CROSFIELDS 0

 

Crosfields came to Eccles with 8 under 18’s in the side and they were no match for the more experienced home side, who were
playing for places in this Wednesday’s Valentine cup final against Irlam Hornets at the Willows. Front row Barry Lowe put in a solid defensive show for the visitors and young full back James Martin showed some good touches but Eccles had stand out players all over the park, although Adam Taher was adjudged man of the match.     

 

Eccles took just 2 minutes to open the scoring with Rick Openshaw sending Matt Gilligan over in the corner, too far out for Carney to convert (4-0) and it was 10-0 on 6 minutes when Carney’s low kick was collected by Christian Higgins who spun out of a tackle to score. Carney kicked the first of his 7 goals from 10 attempts. Crosfields then held out until the 15th minute when Taher and Openshaw combined to present Gilligan his second try (16-0).

 

Lee McCormack’s kick to the in goal on 26 minutes saw Openshaw score (22-0), the first of 3 tries in 6 minutes. Martin Judge chased Steve Barry’s long kick to dislodge the ball from Judges’s grasp and presented Andrew Muscat with the easiest of tries (28-0), then, from the restart Judge collected and burst through the line to race 80 metres for a try in the corner (32-0). Right on the half time whistle Carney was stopped just short of the line and Mark Thomas burst through two defenders to score wide out (38-0).

 

Two minutes into the second half Muscat and Gilligan combined to send Judge over for his second try (44-0), but then Crosfields had their best period of the game until Eccles broke them down on 57 minutes. Mike Foster took a pass from Barry
and “stepped” past the last defender to score (50-0).

 

Crosfields forced a goal line drop out when Muscat was tackled in goal on the hour, but Eccles responded with 2 more tries in 3 minutes. The first, on 66 minutes, saw Marc Jones force his way over wide out after Higgins was pulled down inches short of the line (54-0), then Carney raced 80 metres after squeezing through a gap to score between the sticks and he allowed change kicker Glynn Watson to add the conversion (60-0).

 

Andrew Muscat (1T), Christian Higgins (1T), Lee McCormack, Matthew Gilligan (2T), Martin Judge (2T), Steve Barry, Mike Carney (1T, 7G), Glynn Watson (1G), Richard Openshaw (1T), Adam Taher, Mark Thomas (1T), Marc Jones (1T), Chris Smith, Mike Foster (1T), Adam Walker, Jon Smethurst, Tom Warburton.

 

 

 

Saturday 13th  August 2011

 

ECCLES 30 - CASTLEFORD PANTHERS 22

 

 

Two very committed teams contributed to a very entertaining game at Moat Hall and it was Eccles who came away with the points after overturning a 0-10 deficit in the first quarter. Panthers looked to be in control with 2 tries in 3 minutes, the first coming in the 14th minute when Kieran Woods found a huge gap in the home defence to score the opening try 13 metres from the sticks, which Lee Norton converted (0-6). Norton was unable to convert his own try though after he forced his way over wide out (0-10) and Eccles hit back on 22 minutes. Panthers were on the attack but a kick went straight into the arms of Lee McCormack who sent Mike Carney racing away down the wing to score from 70 metres. He was chased all the way by full back Chris Hepworth but just managed to stay in front of the Panthers man. Carney also added the conversion, the first of his 5 goals from as many attempts (6-10).

 

On 29 minutes Mike Forgham pulled off a try saving tackle on Nathan Campsill, stripping the ball out of the wingers’ arms as he crossed the line, and Eccles immediately went down to the other end to take the lead. Martin Judge made a good break down the wing before sending Andrew Muscat in for a try wide out (12-10).
 

6 minutes from half time Eccles stretched the advantage when Adam Taher off-loaded out of the tackle for Carney to scamper over from 15 metres out for his second try (18-10), and they made it 24-10 on 50 minutes. Another Panthers attacking kick was taken in by Judge and he raced away 75 metres down the wing before being hauled down by Reece Henderson. From the play the ball however, Eccles quick passing stretched the visiting defence and Carney shot in for his hat trick.

 Eccles looked to be in control at this point, until Panthers hit back with 2 Norton converted tries in 4 minutes. The first came on
57 minutes when they got a pass out of a tackle and John Brummitt cored next to the posts (24-16). He was quickly followed by Jack Higgins who forced a try in the corner (24-22). Eccles scored the final try though straight from the re-start.
Muscat took advantage of a kind bounce to retrieve the ball and moved it quickly across the pitch to Mark Thomas who spun out of a tackle to get the ball down 15 metres from the posts (30-22).
 

There were no more scored in the last 17 minutes as defences were on top but Eccles did force a goal line drop out on 66 minutes when Tom Warburton and Christian Higgins tackled full back Hepworth back over the line.

 

 

Team: Mike Forgham, Christian Higgins, Andrew Muscat (1T), Lee McCormack, Martin Judge, Steve Barry, Mike Carney (3T, 5G), Glynn Watson, Richard Openshaw, Mark Thomas (1T, MoM), James Brown, Marc Jones, Chris Smith, Mike Foster, Tom Warburton, Jon Smethurst, Adam Taher.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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