Didsbury Toc H RFC
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Eccles 19 - Didsbury Toc H 25
Newly promoted Didsbury Toc H continued their unbeaten start to the North Lancs & Cumbria season with a third straight victory, coming from 19-12 down to beat Eccles.

Didsbury, still with some players unavailable for selection, named a strong squad for the visit to Eccles, with Mike Moran continuing at scrum half after a fine display the previous week.

Both teams defended well in opening exchanges and it was going to take something special to break the deadlock. Centre Andy Popoola, returning from a lengthy injury layoff, supplied a perfect grubber kick for Joseph Perkins to gather and score his third try of the season; Sean Bishop narrowly missed the conversion. Didsbury doubled their try count on 20 minutes, second row Phil Cooper spotted a gap and raced 60metres to within touching distance of the Eccles tryline. Cooper managed to offload to Perkins who in turn found Tom Rooney who crashed under the sticks. Bishop added the conversion and Didsbury had a 12 point lead. Unfortunately this was the last action from Rooney who had to leave the field due to a knee injury, but Didsbury had the luxury of replacing him with last season’s top try scorer Dave Hoare. Eccles, who finished third in the league last season, dominated the remainder of the half and Didsbury struggled to get out of their 22. Eccles’ impressive stand-off converted two well taken penalties to half the deficit to 6-12 and Eccles took the lead with a neat try from a move from a scrum. Eccles managed to add another penalty before the break to give them a 19-12 lead.

Didsbury needed to up their game, as only solid defending had restricted Eccles to a seven point lead at halftime. Hoare started to make some trademark runs into the heart of the Eccles defence and the whole Didsbury team started to force turnovers. Both defences’ cancelled each other out until Cooper struck again on 65 minutes. He cleverly stepped through a gap to touch down by the posts, Bishop added the conversion and the game was tied at 19 all. The home side were being forced into giving penalties away and Bishop, who had a fine day with the boot, slotted two penalties to stretch the lead to 6 points. Eccles couldn’t get into Didsbury’s territory to threaten a late score, and Didsbury hung on to the victory.

Another hard fought victory for Toc H, but there won’t be any easy games at this level. Phil Cooper was rightly named man of the match, and hopefully the injury to Tom Rooney isn’t as bad as first feared. Next Saturday Didsbury have the short journey to Heaton Moor, 3pm kick off.


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