Fri 21 Jan 2022 01:48



Wigan 27-24 Eccles

Eccles arrived at the Douglas Valley Ground looking to start 2022 with a positive performance. The 1XV had achieved a 29-15 victory over Wigan at Gorton Street in October fielding a youthful team, and despite player availability once again resulting in an unfamiliar line up an away win would provide a welcome boost and opportunity to move up the table. 

It was a pleasant winter afteroon as the game kicked off in sunny conditions. Eccles started brightly putting Wigan under immeadiate pressure. An Eccles line out inside the opposition 22 was won by the hosts who attempted to counter attack, but Matt Parkinson collected the ball in his own half and, under pressure, weaved through the midfield, evading tackles to attack up the right flank, offloading to supporting lock Javi Manzanares on the wing, who in turn passed back inside to openside Reece Walker who charged though to score the opening try with 3 minutes played. Converted by the boot of Alex Speakman  0-7 Eccles.

Despite striking the first blow, Eccles were kept inside their own half for the next 10 minutes by Wigan who, in responding to the early set back, enjoyed better possession and field position. On 13 mins Wigan were awarded a penalty which was missed, but the game remained inside Eccles territory, with handling and defensive pressure preventing progress for both teams.  At 20 mins an effective break up once again up the right wing resulted in an Eccles line out and driving maul, which lead to a penalty in front of the sticks, which Speakman slotted home without difficulty. 0-10 Eccles.

For the next 10 minutes Wigan made a concerted effort to respond and although Eccles were ahead they were not comfortable. The pressure applied eventually paid off when Wigan scored a try in the corner with 35 mins played and a following the restart a penalty for the hosts just before the break brought them right back into the game 8-10.  Having made a good start, Eccles failed to take control of the game with Wigan confidence increasing as the first half progressed. HT 8-10

The second half kicked off and Wigan secured a penalty almost straight away for offside, in the middle of the pitch, giving them a straight forward opportunity to go ahead; 11-10.  For the next 10 minutes Wigan continued their acendency as Eccles were unable to keep possession long enough to advacne thier cause.  Jay Christie made a try saving tackle, with Wigan celebrating, believing they’ve scored, but a penalty was awarded. Having seemingly escaped, Eccles played themselves back into trouble and the hosts regained possession and eventually crossed the line to score on 50 minutes. The conversion hit the post, but there was no reprieve for Eccles as 2 minutes later, straight from the restart Wigan are awarded another penalty in the midfield and the hosts extended their lead. 19-10. 
Eccles attempted to shift momentumn back in thier favour with a sustained attack inside the Wigan 22, but a loose carry resulted in a deep exit kick from Wigan. However the Eccles return kick did not find touch and the ball was returned with pace up the left wing by the Wigan number 12, who broke though attempted tackles to run the ball in behind the sticks. 24-10.
Having endured a miserable 20 minutes, Eccles restart the game with renewed determination and for the next quarter of an hour it's Wigan who find themseleves under attacking pressure. The Eccles forwards pound away at the Wigan defense but are unable to find a way through to the goal line only a few metres away, whilst the back's shouts to shift the ball right into space are ignored. At 66' Eccles are awarded a scrum penalty inside the 22 on the left. Jay Christey breaks with the ball, but is injured in the tackle as he drives for the line and is carried from the pitch with a suspected dislocated knee*. Eccles continue to build pressure, Wigan are pinned inside their 22 and another Eccles injury out on the right wing halts the clock.
With 5 minutes remaining Chris Fortune ruptures the defensive line to score under the sticks to set up an exciting finish. 24-17.  Wigan attack from the restart but Alex Speakman intercepts the ball and bursts free, running about 70m before he is caught and brought down just inches short of the goal line. The arriving support is unable to get the ball over the whitewash but the mellie leads to an Eccles penalty scrum. With 3 minutes on the clock the ball is moved swiftly from the base of the scrum to Will Parky who swerves through the defenders to score under the sticks. Alex Speakman converts for the extras and it's all square with 2 minutes left to play. 24-24. Wigan restart, reclaim the ball in the middle of the pitch, are awarded a penalty and secure the victory with the last play kick. Whistle. FT 27-24. 
*It was later confirmed at A&E that Jay had suffered a medial patellofemoral ligament damage meaning the young back row will miss out on his U20 Lancashire selection. We offer him sincere comisserations and wish him a speedy and full recovery.
Report and photos - CG


3’ 0-7 TRY ECCLES (Walker) conv (Speakman) 

23’ 10-0 PENALTY ECCLES (Speakman) 

35’ 5-10 TRY WIGAN


HT 8-10


50’ 16-10 TRY WIGAN


60’ 24-10 TRY WIGAN

75’ 24-17 TRY ECCLES (Fortune) conv (Speakman) 

78’ 24-24 TRY ECCLES (Will Parkinson) conv (Speakman) 

80’  27-24 PENALTY WIGAN

FT 27-24



Warrington 39-0 Eccles

Awaiting match report



Sale 1861 90-0 Eccles

Awaiting match report



Lancashire Colts Trophy Quarter Final

Southport 27-15 Eccles

Awaiting match report
10' 7-3 TRY SOUTHPORT, Conv.
35' HT 10-3
40' 10-8 TRY ECCLES
52' 17-8 TRY SOUTHPORT, Conv.
65' 22-15 TRY ECCLES, Conv.
70' FT 27-15



Lancashire U16 Challenge Cup

Liverpool St Helens 17-12 Eccles

Eccles travelled to St. Helens hoping to continue their fine form in the next stage of the Lancashire Cup against an LSH side which had handed a depleted Eccles side a heavy defeat in a pre-Christmas fixture.

Eccles commenced proceedings with a deep kick and LSH showed their intent early by kicking deep to Leighton, who returned the ball well and won the penalty when the hosts didn’t roll away. Eccles didn’t find touch with the penalty kick handing LSH the first chance to attack, although the Eccles defence held firm forcing LSH to kick dead with an attempt to chip over the top. Eccles conceded a penalty with the line out throw not being straight to give the home side more territory and possession.

LSH were awarded a scrum although the Eccles pack dominated the contest and a crushing tackle by Max stopped them in their tracks. Another LSH penalty gave them more field position but the resolute Eccles defence kept them out and a penalty from an LSH lineout gave Eccles the scrum for some much needed possession. Jack L picked the ball up at the base of the scrum who then found Joe who made some good yards which in the end forced LSH to knock on over their goal line and force the drop out. Although this phase of possession didn’t go anywhere, the defensive work of both teams was determined and Cael won a penalty when he tackled his opposite number who was penalised for not releasing.

Eccles were still dominating the scrum and Leighton spotted a gap and kicked through and chased, with Joe then doing the same, which won another Eccles penalty although some over enthusiastic handling meant the ball flew into touch. From the lineout Raff crunched the LSH centre and secured the ball giving Finn half a chance to break but he was forced into touch on the 30 metre line.

Evan was proving to be a real handful at the front of the lineouts and won another one against the throw  Jack L attempted a cross field kick to Raff who took the defender with him in making good progress which was supported at the breakdown by a good run my firstly Cael and then Max, but LSH scrambled well and won the penalty for not releasing. More dominance in the scrum saw Eccles push LSH off the ball and Joe tried another kick through to the in-goal which went dead. Play however was brought back for an LSH offside and then a quick tap saw another Eccles penalty and a yellow card for LSH who cynically used hands in the ruck to drag the ball away.

Eccles were in the ascendency now and believed they had opened the scoring when Finn dived over in the corner but the referee had other ideas and brought the play back for a high tackle on Lucas who was proving a real threat. Another quick tap saw a carbon copy of the move out to Finn who this time was awarded the try as he slid in out wide. Jack hit the crossbar with a great attempt from out wide to leave the score 0-5.

LSH restarted the game and Lucas took the kick and smashed into the defence before finding Matt H in support who galloped over the half way line and drew the full back before passing to Jack who saw the cover defence coming across and timed his pass out of the back to Joe who cut back inside and was held up just short of the line. LSH took the chance to kick to the 30 . Evan again won the line out and Jake opted to go down the blind side and was bundled in to touch giving LSH the opportunity to kick deep from the line out which Leighton chased back to gather, but Eccles were penalised at the breakdown for going in at the side and LSH were quick to take advantage to level the scores when they moved the ball out to the right and dived over in the corner with the conversion hitting the post to level the scores at 5-5.

Sam D spotted the LSH weren’t set at kick off and chipped the ball wide where Jack L outpaced the opposition to gather the ball in and win the penalty but a forward pass from the scrum proved to be past meaningful play of the first half which saw Eccles on the front foot for the majority of the time. HT 5-5.

LSH got the second half underway with Eccles making a raft of changes hoping to build on a strong finish to the half with Jake taking the kick and Leighton clearing the Eccles line with a kick downfield and when LSH were offside from the returning kick it gave Eccles an early chance with a lineout on the LSH 30 metre line which Matt H won. When Harry G slipped into contact the ball was knocked on from the next phase . Lucas continued his excellent game when he partially blocked an attempted clearance from LSH and chased the loose ball to force a knock on from LSH to give Eccles the scrum which almost resulted in a score but Eccles knocked on out wide with the line beckoning.

LSH had the scrum on the 22 metre line and Eccles were offside and the compounded this error when they knocked on from the kick through although Raff won the ball back playing as a flanker after his first half stint on the wing but more poor handling by Eccles out wide returned the ball to the home side . LSH won the scrum but were tackled into touch but Eccles lost the lineout, then were penalised for not releasing, then judged to be offside in back to back penalties which was further compounded when Eccles questioned the official's decision which allowed LSH to march 50 metres downfield for free and the hosts ghosted through the defence untouched at the lineout to score in the corner to make the game 10-5 with the kick not strong enough for the extras.

Eccles were proving to be their own worst enemy, with poor discipline racking up penalties and allowing LSH off the hook when Eccles had the ball, and giving them field possession when Eccles were defending.

Sam D restarted the game again and Eccles flew into the tackles and LSH seemed happy to kick the ball away each time but were caught offside themselves which allowed Josh to build up a head of steam and put Eccles on the front foot, which gave the backs quick ball with Lucas and Leighton moving possession out to Scott who still had a lot to do but managed to touch down inches from the touchline with defenders hanging off him. Jack composed himself for a tough kick from the wide position and split the uprights with a precise conversion to take the lead with a few minutrs left at 10-12.

Eccles received the ball but knocked on straight away on their own 22. The Eccles defense held firm but were then penalised as they were in front of the Sam who kicked deep but then began to chase down the ball which meant LSH had a penalty 30 metres out to edge in front. The kick wasn’t strong enough though and fell short with Harry G taking the ball and securing it but with slow arriving support another penalty for not releasing gave the ball back to LSH who attempted to go blind side but were pushed into touch . Eccles won the line out again but Leighton’s kick was parried into touch giving the visitors the line out on the 22, which Eccles won at the second attempt and cleared their lines again, but with nothing to lose LSH kept the ball alive and yet another penalty gave them more territory and a quick tap found the Eccles defence lacking in numbers out wide, with the winger scoring in the corner despite a heroic attempt by Sam to hold him up. The extras were added to take the final score to 17-12 with the referee blowing up after the conversion.

This was a game Eccles should have and could have won but poor discipline with repeated penalties in the last quarter gave the home side unnecessary help to move forwards. Game management needs to improve in the coming weeks as Eccles have given themselves work to do in order to progress in the competition. 

25' 0-5 TRY ECCLES (Finn)
33' 5-5 TRY LSH
35' HT 5-5
57' 10-5 TRY LSH
67' 10-12 TRY ECCLES (Scott) Conv (Jack L)
70' 17-12 TRY LSH, Conv. 
70' FT 17-12
U16 MOTM: Jack L



Sale 4-10 Eccles

Sale hosted the Eccles U12's this week with what was a very positive start to the new year.  It was the first game for both teams playing the full U12's rules so it was decided by both sides to use the opportunity to help the boys and use the game as a training game. We were a couple of lads down so Sale kindly loaned us 2 players to make it 12 a side.
Not much training was needed as both sets of lads got stuck straight in. We are used to playing 9 a side so the extra 6 men on the pitch certainly made for a busy game.

Sale started strong, using their bigger lads to break through Eccles defence and get an early try but Eccles soon dug in and played solidly the rest of the game.  Owen came in injured but you wouldn't have guessed with his tackling bang on form and his massive run from the half way line to get a try. We'll done Owen.  George was on fire with his fast feet, big hits and absolute grit in his teeth determination to break through Sale. Seb supported George perfectly on the wing allowing George to off load and Seb to gain more ground. Brilliant to watch. Seb was a beast in the rucks also, clearing the bigger Sale lads with ease. Eccles had a couple of tries disallowed and a few questionable forward passes but the lads didn't argue, the referees word is final, they just got stuck in and kept the intensity up until the end.

Captain Fin proved again he can easily deal with anything coming at him. His tackling, runs, passes, support, rucking was all fluid and had the Sales parents in awe. Some of them were heard praising how well he was playing throughout the game. Jamie B had a great game, you can see he is determined to get more tries, he grits his teeth and gives it his all which is all you can ask really. Kenzie had a few good runs and was smashing the rucks which we were winning confidently. Monty rightly pointed out at the break that we were easily winning the rucks but weren't quick at playing the ball which was giving Sale the chance to steal it. This advice was soon heeded and more tries were scored off the back of it. 

Every one on the pitch put an absolute shift in and big thanks to the Sale boys who were leant to us, they played just as hard against their own team.
Jamie F finished the game with a huge try, handing off 3 of the opposition from his own half and placing the ball down confidently to give us the win 10 - 4.

A big thank you to all the lads, everyone of them played brilliantly. Fin and George both won Coaches Player for their efforts. We'll done boys

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