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Crucial home league victory for Eccleshall 1st XV

By Staffordshire Newsletter  |  Posted: January 14, 2014

By Dave McLean

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Eccleshall 1st XV 27 Bloxwich 1st XV 22

ECCLESHALL 1st XV returned to winning ways in Midlands 3 West (North) on Saturday with a hard fought 27-22 victory over Bloxwich.

The ground conditions at Baden Hall were not ideal but when the opportunity arose Eccleshall were able to use their back line to great effect with both wingers getting on the score sheet.

The home side started well and following some good work by the forwards they found themselves inside the Bloxwich 22. New recruit, Jimmy Dodkins spotted a gap at the side of a ruck and cantered over unopposed for Eccleshall’s first score, converted by fly half Tommy Hodkingson .

Not satisfied with an early try, Eccleshall were soon on the attack again and, following quick ruck ball and some decisive running from centres Mark Howells and Chris Whalley, winger Nick Bigham scored in the corner for a 12-0 lead.

The second score seemed to be a wake up call for Bloxwich as, from the restart, they used there lumbering forwards to great effect and mauled Eccleshall deep back in to their half. The Eccleshall defence was only able to delay the inevitable as Bloxwich bulldozed their way over the Eccleshall line for a converted try.

However, Eccleshall were able to extend the lead when captain Nick Hulse picked up from the base of a scrum and forced his way over.

But the ten point lead was short lived as, following a knock on from the restart, Bloxwich drove the Eccleshall scrum deep in to their own half and an infringement at the scrum by Eccleshall meant that the visitors were awarded a penalty ten metres from the Eccleshall line.

Bloxwich decided to run the penalty rather than take the scrum or penalty kick and they were rewarded with an unconverted try in the corner.

As Bloxwich pushed forward, great efforts by Eccleshall props Joe Tomasik, Alex Parker and second row Jonny Sexton and David Phillips, also good work from flankers Tom O’Mara and Jimmy Dodkins at the breakdown led to Bigham running in his second try.

Bloxwich entered the last 20 minutes desperate to get back on level terms and soon were able to use their dominance in the scrum to drive Eccleshall over there line to record their third try of the game.

With the score 22-17, Eccleshall were keen to extend their lead and winger Mickey Carr showed great pace to score Eccleshall’s fifth.

Bloxwich scored another push over try to make the score 27-22 and Eccleshall defence held strong to clinch their first victory of 2014.

This Saturday, sees Eccleshall host Burntwood in a league game.

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