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Toc out of the Cup after a flat and frustrating performance at home

Toc out of the Cup after a flat and frustrating performance at home

Arthur Crabtree12 Nov 2018 - 13:41
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After a string of impressive performances against some handy sides in the ADM Premier this season, Toc were beaten at Ford Lane for the first time this season by Eccles and are subsequently out of the Lancashire Plate.

There are few positives to take from this defeat. Toc were unusually flat and had about them a palpable sense of indifference. It felt from the outset as if this match was an inconvenient diversion to a day spent watching the Autumn Internationals.

Toc were without a number of key players - indeed, they made thirteen changes to the squad that beat Heaton Moor in the league the previous week - but the club still put out a team, and especially a pack, that could have been more competitive.

Among those changes was an entirely new backline, comprising front five forwards and a debutant flanker in the centre. The plan, therefore, was to keep it simple, kick chase and play as directly as possible around a strong set-piece.

That never happened. At times it looked as if Toc might get some joy from that direct approach after some decent carrying from back rowers Alex Brassel and Josh Brockmen and second-row Alex Matthews - but too often the team were careless in possession in key areas of the pitch.

Didsbury must have lost four or five lineouts in the opposition 22. In terms of field position, Toc were absolutely competitive. But their lack of cohesion, especially in defence, was evident.

Eccles, meanwhile, always looked a threat on the break and moved the ball to space well. They were also adventurous and happy to play from anywhere on the pitch, which at least provided some of the open and stylish rugby Ford Lane is used to seeing.

But make no mistake, Toc were playing a side who wouldn't have really troubled Heaton Moor, which goes to show how far Toc's level had dropped from seven days prior.

Not that that was Eccles problem. They were the far better and more clinical side.

Many of the chances they created presented themselves on the left wing, where their winger scored four good tries. Regardless of the porous defending that welcomed him, that was an impressive return.

Even so Toc still didn’t help themselves. Turning down an easy three points when trailing 5-0, they then carelessly lost the ball in midfield from which Eccles were gifted seven more.

That was a big momentum shift and another good score on the stroke of half time saw Toc trail at the break 17-0.

A brief rally in the opening period after the break saw Toc somehow get back to within three points of the visitors.

But in fairness that scoreline was unrepresentative and not a close reflection of the game.

Eccles were clearly the more competent side on the day and definitely wanted to win more.

Admittedly, that wasn’t especially difficult given that Toc’s intensity, aggression and tempo was unrecognisable.

The match finished 29-14 to the visitors.

It was a forgettable afternoon at Ford Lane.

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