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Thursday, 27 November 2014

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Aspatria go down to Eccles forward power

Forward power ultimately secured Eccles a 24-12 victory over a resilient Aspatria who had travelled without a recognised second-row pairing.

As the Black Reds struggled in scrums throughout the game, Eccles fully exploited this narrow advantage but still had to work hard for victory in this North Lancs Cumbria League clash.

Eccles, smarting from a three-game losing streak looked in no mood to add a fourth and took an early lead with a penalty.

But Aspatria soon responded ln 12 minutes with a Jack Clegg penalty.

To the frustration of the Aspatria coaching set-up, Eccles forwards regained the ball from the kick-off and drove it up to the Aspatria line, from where it was mauled over for an unconverted try.

Clegg pulled the score back to 8-6 with a long range penalty but as the game moved into the second quarter the heavyweight Eccles pack began to dominate the scrums.

The resulting possession was not used wisely and a magnificent scrambling defence led by Mark Beverley and Tom Lindsay held out. So well did they do that when they started to make inroads themselves Clegg put them in front with his third penalty.

The one point advantage was short lived as Eccles opted to turn a late penalty into points and provide a half time lead.

Early in the second-half the visiting backline looked fully capable of exploiting gaps in the Eccles defence. Movement was good but final passes that might have unlocked the door went to ground.

Once again, the only reward was a Clegg penalty on 49 minutes to give them the lead again.

Eccles, by now had abandoned all pretence of opening the game up. This was a wise tactic that allowed them to begin playing the game almost exclusively in the Aspatria half. Penalties on 56 and 58 minutes restored Eccles lead at 17-12.

With Aspatria finding it increasingly difficult to obtain possession the Black Reds task appeared to be to hang on to a losing bonus point. Up to the 74th minute this seemed a possibility but then the Eccles pack bludgeoned over the line for a converted try.

Bottom of the table Egremont travelled to high-flying Aldwinians short of a number of prominent first teamers and were well beaten 66-7.

Aldwinians proved to be a well-drilled, big side with a powerful scrum and Egremont had no answers. The strong-running home team off- loaded in the tackle and moved the ball wide, so by half-time had established a 40-0 lead.

In the second-half Egremont put up a much better performance and dogged defence kept them out for the first 20 minutes.

They then ran in 26 un-answered points but Egremont kept on battling to the end. Chris Temple, with his continuous powerful runs set up a maul on Aldwinians’ line which allowed Andrew Branthwaite to sneak over from short range. Liam Nicholls converted.

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