Match Report Ashton edge out Eagle in hotly contested tie
Monday 8th January 2018 @ 12:14 by Mark Phillip

Lancs/Cheshire Division three (North)

Ashton 13-7 Eagle

Having won the corresponding fixture on their Warrington home ground 56-7, second placed Eagle probably expected another win against lowly Ashton on Saturday afternoon. It’s possible that the cold wind that swept around from the vague direction of Hartshead Pike wasn’t to their liking, but there’s little doubt that they couldn’t have been prepared for the fierce determination of the Ashton pack, who kept them on the back foot for most of the afternoon.

The home side completely dominated the first twenty minutes of the game, pinning their opponents back in their own half for virtually all of that time, until the deadlock was broken by wing forward Conan Bligh, who went in for a try following some fierce pressure in the left hand corner. There was to be no relaxing for the rest of the half, and credit has to be given to the Eagle defence, which kept Ashton at bay until second row man Jon Lee barged his way over for a second try just before half time.

With the benefit of the slight slope the Warrington side were quickest out of the blocks for the second half and for the first time in the game the host side were forced back on defence. They kept Eagle out for the first quarter hour, but then were forced to concede a converted try. With only three points now dividing the two sides, things looked ominous, but that was to underestimate the spirit of the Ashton players.

The pack took over events again, and ten minutes after conceding they had forced their way into the opposition 22 when they were awarded a penalty out on the right hand touchline. The decision was made to go for goal, and Tom Costello’s accurate kick went sailing between the posts to stretch the lead again.

There was to be no further scoring, but Eagle were denied much possession from then on, and were given little sight of the Ashton line as the home forwards ground their way to a well deserved victory.

By Ian Crickett