Morrow the hero as Hawcoat Park snatch victory from Eccles
Hawcoat Park 25 Eccles 22
HAWCOAT showed perfect timing as a late try snatched them a first win of the North Lancs/Cumbria League season.
The Maroons were never in front against Eccles, until Brad Morrow forced his way over out wide inside the final five minutes to seal the points.
For any neutrals in attendance, it must have been an enjoyable watch, with Eccles returning down the M6 disappointed to have only a losing bonus point to show for their efforts.
The visitors started strongly as Park failed to collect the difficult kick-off and the loose ball was collected by the Eccles pack.
After a few drives for the line, Hawcoat got a hand in to prevent a try-scoring pass, but the ball bounced over the try-line and a delighted scrum half pounced for the score to make it 5-0.
Making use of a slight wind advantage, Eccles continued to dominate, and Park's defence had to be strong.
The pressure eventually told and 15 minutes in the visitors extended their lead when their strong-running centre ran a good angle to beat a couple of would-be tacklers and touchdown halfway between the posts and the corner. The conversion increased the lead to 12-0.
The effort Eccles put in eventually began to show and fatigue set in, allowing Hawcoat back into the game.
Through the running of second-rower Ash Mowat, Grady Slater, Jason Priss and Callum Ramsay, the hosts had a sustained spell in the Lancashire side's 22.
Hard-working hooker Adam Grainger scored a typical try, showing good determination to force his way over from close range.
Soon after, Grainger showed another aspect of his game, taking a pass from grafting scrum half Jonny Burrows and showing a turn of speed to spot a gap and run in from 35 metres out.
Both James Howden’s conversions just missed and it was 12-10 to Eccles at the break.
The visitors regrouped after half-time, and a close-fought contest between two evenly-matched sides broke out.
Eccles had two strong-running centres, and home centres Chris Burns and George Smith did well to make a cover tackle and prevent a certain try.
Fifteen minutes into the half, and recognising how tight the game was, Eccles booted a 40-metre penalty to stretch their lead,.
Midway through the half, Hawcoat drew level as props Andy Kent and John Donnan set the platform before quick hands from Howden and crisp passing along the backs freed up the returning George Hilton, who finished off well in the corner. George Smith’s conversion attempt just missed.
Eccles restored their lead with team determination. Their quick-thinking Eccles scrum half showed a great dummy from a maul and shot 35 metres down the line to touchdown near the posts for a 22-15 advantage.
Desperate to take something from the game, and showing real character, Smith put over a 30-metre penalty with 10 minutes remaining, creating the opportunity to go for one last try to win.
That try came inside the final five minutes.
Park's lineout work had not gone as well as usual, however, they got it right this time.
Howden booted the ball from a penalty to the Eccles 22, and Mowat took a clean catch. From the resulting driving maul, skipper Morrow was the last to get his hands on the ball to force his way over. Smith put the icing on the cake by booting a great conversion.
Eccles finished the game hammering away the home line, and it was only last-ditch tackling that kept them at bay.
It was an important maximum five-point win for Hawcoat, in a game well-refereed by Carlisle's Martin Plummer.