So it was the last game of the season for the Swans, on a dry but windy afternoon under heavy surfaces due to the weather on Saturday.
When the Swans went up to Eccles they were caught out by a couple of quick backs, however they had the dominance up front. So a game plan was set in place from the word go despite the difficult and late team selection.
Before the game we discussed that the Swans were going to enjoy their last game in Championship North 1 for the year and put everything they had trained into practice.
Swans started the game very strongly and applied immense pressure early on, but to no success. It was the away side who opened their account first. It was poor discipline that let to multiple penalties allowing Eccles out of their half and a break away try under the post. 0-5
A quick chat under the sticks sorted the Swans out. They were to continue this pressure and cut out the penalty count too.
The home pack put a marker down on the game with a few powerful scrums allowing for the first score which was converted by Katie Clark. 7-5
With both sides now well settled into the game, it was obvious that Eccles weren't going to use the wind to their advantage, but credit to them, their backs broke through the gain line on multiple occasions and when Buckingham tried to clear their line the Eccles back three were almost untouchable. Eccles tried to use their backs well, but a well read interception from Katie Clark burst through only to run out of gas 25m out, but was able to offload to Holly Malins who scored under the posts. 14-5 HT
The Swans set out for the second half to continue where they left off, and tighten up a couple of areas. However Eccles came out of the blocks quickly and put the swans under sustained pressure. Not allowing them to get a grip of the game. It was the traveling side who got the first points of the second half. 14-10.
The home side struggled to keep their hands on the ball but forced Eccles to work hard for all their points. Eccles were camped in the Buckingham 22 for 10-15 minutes before scoring again. 14-17.
With 20 minutes on the clock left Buckingham Swans needed to get some territory and go through some phases of their own. This they done to perfection. With some fire in their belly's the home pack really started to dominate. But it was Holly Malins who smothered the Eccles full back deep into the Eccles 22 which lead to a turnover. From here the Swans 8 and Bec Bray at scrum half rumbled on and on and on until desperate defence held out holding the ball up. Deja vu struck as just like Buckingham done at Eccles the pack utilised the 5m scrum to great success driving Eccles back for Kirsty Haig to fall on the ball. 21-17.
With 5-10 minutes to go Eccles were determined not to leave without the win. Having chased most of the game Eccles found themselves breaking through a much tiring defence. Stealing a victory right at the death in the far corner. 21-22 FT
This game sums up the season for the Swans, having no luck what so ever.
Back of the Match this week goes to Katie Clark. Not only was her conversion rate with the boot 100%, but also the interception for Holly's try and setting the team on the front foot.
Forward of the Match could have gone to anyone, the front row put in a massive shift, the second row carried the ball well, and the back row were superb. But for her outstanding efforts once more on the floor, turning the ball over at some crucial times, and scoring a try on behalf of the pack Kirtsy Haig gets the honours this week.
I would like to thank Sophie Lepper for all of her efforts this year both on and off the pitch. Despite the disappointment of the results this year, I'm sure that it won't be too long before they bounce back up to that level again.