A bad day in the salt mines for the U15’s

After a great start to the season, our lads have suffered a brace of defeats over the last fortnight despite putting in good performances and a trip to the Cheshire planes was never going to be an easy, confidence boosting walk over. Todays opponents have played some excellent teams this season and have had no luck with their results, losing 44 – 0, 43 – 5 and 32 – 24 to Wilmslow, Lymm and Fylde but last week they followed up with a 7 – 7 draw with Stockport. Clearly this is a side that is improving as the season progresses and will be looking for their first victory of 15/16.

Northwich got the game started and following an early Eccles line out, the Northwich winger collected the loose ball and skipped past the sleepy Eccles defence to score in the corner – however from my vantage point it appeared that in NFL style the lad forgot to ground the ball. The conversion proved too difficult but left Eccles trailing within the first two minutes of the match.

5 – 0

Eccles restarted with a short kick but the Northwich forwards were alive to the move and easily collected the ball before forcing Eccles back into their own 22. Eccles battle for possession and turn the ball over in the ruck but hands still moist with ‘wet look’ hair gel knock the ball on.

Referee Chris, looking resplendent in his freshly laundered crimson shirt awards the scrum to our hosts. A scrum is a bit like Vegas; what goes on in the scrum stays in the scrum, so we’ll never know what was done or said amongst the two sets of forwards to promote the game of pat-a-cake that ensued. Fortunately for everyone Referee Chris was on the scene and like a shiny new fire engine, he metaphorically hosed down the lads with some harsh words and a touch of rouge.

Northwich double their lead as it appears Eccles tenacious tackling has been left in the changing room today in favour of polite good manners “after you Sir, I insist”

10 – 0

Twenty five minutes in and Eccles are beginning to get a grip on the game with Alex T, Harry C and Dan G all taking turns to make penetrative runs at the Northwich lines but another Eccles handling error was to prove costly as the Northwich fullback picked up the gifted ball and makes an impressive run from his own ten metre line down the wing knocking over the Eccles skittles before scoring directly beneath the posts. From a Northwich perspective it was a tremendous individual try but from an Eccles point of view it was a try that could have and should have been thwarted before the lad was out of his own 22, plus there were numerous opportunities to make a tackle as he worked his way down the Eccles flank.

17 – 0

With five minutes remaining of the first half Eccles began to dominate in all areas of play. The introduction of debutants Robert J and Adam A (does anyone else hear Burundi drums and picture a man in a Native American boned vest wearing heavy nose make-up?) certainly livened up the Eccles forward play but the half came to a close with Eccles trailing and Coaches James and Kevin fuming

Half Time 17 – 0

The boys gathered under the posts, they formed a circle around Coaches Kevin and James and as a group were wholeheartedly roasted until they were crispy. As was the case last week they had not woken up until the game was all but beyond them. I’ve had a look on the internet and I’ve decided to start saving up for a Home Electroconvulsive Shock Therapy kit to use on the lads prior to kick off; there are some serious, long lasting and unpleasant side affects but I think it should wake the lads up in time for the first half in future

The Eccles lads returned to the field for the second half looking like Cameron Diaz in Theres Something About Mary following the half time hairdryer, but to their credit they started the second half as well as they had finished the first, delivering some good rugby and maintaining control of the game.

It wasn’t long before Eccles were pushing for a try with Oliver W, Dan G and Ellis P at the heart of the good work. Eccles press and look to be through; some great work from Harry C has the ball passing through quick hands from right to left but as Eccles found themselves with a three on one overlap, a late tackle on an Eccles player sees play brought to a halt by a tout from the man in the crimson top. Disappointment for the Eccles lads as they really thought they were through.

To compound the frustrations of Eccles, Northwich were to score their final try while James W and Ellis P were trying to draw the attention of coaches and referee to a prostrate Robert J who had taken a nasty blow to the head. Thankfully Robert was able to continue and following the application of a magic sponge he returned to the action and continued to make his presence felt

24 – 0

Northwich were far more alive at the start of the game, they showed the desire and hunger of a team who have been convincingly beaten in recent weeks but have now begun to find their feet and had the belief that they could claim a victory. They deserved the win but the 24 point gap disguises how competitive and close the game was throughout large periods of the match.

We have a break from fixtures for a few weeks which should give the lads time to recover from their various bumps and knocks (there were quite a few today) while they train for the upcoming fixtures away at Buxton, Vale of Lune and Rochdale.

There is no doubting that Eccles Under 15’s are one of the fittest sides in the region. This is born out by their consistent ability to perform incredibly well from thirty minutes in, right through to full time. Coach Kevin has a few ideas he intends to implement to get the lads going from minute one; I’m still saving for the EST kit just in case

Full Time 24 – 0

Eccles U15’s Vital Statistics

Todays Eccles Squad

Adam A, Harry C, Chea C, Dan G, Joshua G, Alex H, Robert J, Matthew L, Ellis P, Joe R, Max R, David S, Alex T, Albert T, Matthew W (Capt), Jack W, James W, Oliver W

Half Time Score 17 – 0

Full Time Score 24 – 0

Eccles Men of the Match

Despite the loss and failure to register a score, all the Eccles players put in a real shift today especially Alex H, Dan G, Matt W, Robert J who all received nominations from the ever knowledgable and yet indecisive crowd of travelling parents

Players Choice – Harry C

Coach Choice – Ellis P

Parents Choice – Ellis P

Try Scorers – AWOL

Notable Mentions

Cath Riley “I’ve got your numbe …. nam ….errrr boot colour”

A big Danielle style shout out to Joanne Wright who gets a mention for her Spinal Tap style ‘Volume up to 11’ support form the sidelines

Congratulations to Robert J and Adam A who both had great debut games today with both lads making an immediate impact with some powerful drives at the Northwich defence, welcome to Eccles

Ellis P for putting his head, hands and eggs in places most people wouldn’t put a stick. 100% commitment for 95% of the time – the other 5% was spent recovering from windings, squashed hands and trampled eggs. Great game Ellis!

Matt W played well despite having been the victim of ivory poachers last week. Often overlooked as he sets such high standards for himself, Matt had a fine game today at Fullback

Joe R (Joey Eccles) played in five different positions today showing his versatility and knowledge of the game of rugby. He also showed us why he doesn’t play football with a late airshot

Matt L is another player who does the basics well, providing a consistent rock in a front row that continues to grow in strength, power and numbers

Max R recently had a ‘bit of work’ done to improve his chances of appearing as Mick McCarthy on upcoming series of BGT, but this didn’t stop hime from ‘getting involved’ when needed

A late but special mention for Adam A and Ellis P who helped Max R off the field following his injury last week. Their help was very much appreciated by everyone. New to the club and already a credit to themselves. Very well done lads.

Naughty Step

Salford Schools in general for failing to recognise the significance of Fridays visit to Eccles RFC of the England team on the eve of their final game in this years World Cup Finals. Hardly any of our U15’s boys were given the opportunity to meet the players they aspire to emulate and I suspect the same will be true of the other age groups and girls teams. Knees-up in a brewery comes to mind

A lot of handbag neophytes are tempted by Longchamp’s signature nylon bags, but the ever astute Albert T brought along his favoured leather version of the style which makes for a more long-lasting and robust choice given the impacts of Sunday morning rugby

Boys – your kit is quite simple – boots, socks, mouthguard, shorts – the shirt is provided by Kitman John; Before the game is just as simple – white shirt, club tie, black shoes and keks (undercrackers are optional). Don’t rely on mummy & daddy to get your stuff together, you’re all big boys now!! Plus your parents are at that Grandpa Simpson age where they start to forget things

And Finally

I have been concerned that my good lady has OCD …. she soon put me in my place!!!

No…you shut up!