Under 16’s Friendly: Eccles – 14 Sedgley Park -13

On a sunny September day the Sedgley Tigers returned to Gorton Street to revenge lasts seasons defeat. The Tigers looked well turned out and ready to get into the action, but were evenly matched by Eccles with Keaton appearing to be tackling even whilst in possession , Dean & Goso jumping for the ball in the line outs and Jack booting the ball up field. Sedgley scored the first 3 penalty points with a successful kick , after the referee decided Eccles had made a handling error. Following a few more evenly matched attacks from both sides a spate of good handling from the Tigers led to their winger scoring a try on the far side (5pts) but they failed to convert 0 to 8. Following a half time team talk and a few home truths from the coaches play resumed , with a penalty to Sedgley which wasn’t converted still 0 to 8. Then the team talk seemed to kick in and Eccles began to believe in themselves sending Keaton on a run , who was stopped only after the fifth Tiger had joined in to take him down. Eccles had several substitutions but everyone seemed to understand they needed to play their part for the team , especially when (following an incident which involved most of both teams players ) Eccles had 2 players yellow carded and off the pitch for 10 mins. Sedgley took advantage of the disruption and ran over for the 2 nd try, but failed to convert 0  to 13. Eccles came back ,appearing to go over the line but no they had to wait , Daniel Wilson leading a drive supported by Paddy and other forwards seemed to be working together but they didn’t make the line(yet) Cameron , Dean , Goso, Wiggo, Bob , Daniel  driving on with a move straight from the training field, passed out onto the backs for Keaton to score and Jack to convert , 7 – 13 game on . Both teams showed attacking play but with not much time left, Eccles were doing ok in the scrums and line outs but needed one last push, then Sedgley won the scrum on the 5 yard line and kicked down field, Ivan playing full back got the ball and was off on one of his runs, Eccles sensed time was running out and  the backs started  passing the ball down the line , a pass from Steven sent Keaton heading for the line , who off-loaded to Jordan who got over the line on the far side 12-13 leaving a tricky conversion from 20 metres plus, into the wind ( I couldn’t look), but I heard the cheers and knew Jack had done it! 14-13! Yay…but still with 90 tense seconds to play. Then thankfully it was full time. A mums’ summary: An evenly matched contest, but Eccles showed that their forwards had structure and a plan , the backs were linking up well we each other and the forwards, players were subbed strategically and for injuries but the commitment was continuous resulting in a well deserved win against worthy opponents once again.

Tigers tamed…and they did it all on their ‘Owen’

Eccles under 15’s Vs. Sedgley Park under 15’s


Eccles 45 Sedgley 15

The Gorton Street sidelines put this win down to Owen Farrell’s appearance this week at the club, but the under 15’s coaches felt a big performance was building, and they were proven gloriously right when their boys tamed the snarling Tigers on the 1st team pitch.

Eccles under 15’s are stylishly rounding off what is supposed to be their transitional season. With even more new faces joining the fray – and squad numbers up to the dizzy regions of 25 – head coach Lewis worked quickly this week to seal the registration of some potential future stars.

6 of the Eccles lads met and trained with England star Owen Farrell this week at the club. After TV shoots, press packs and even a cheeky interview from scrum half Jordan Smith, spirits were high in the Eccles camp. Farrell gave the lads some sound advice in his own measured style and it seems they took note, as their hunger was evident from the very first whistle on Sunday.

Sedgley arrived in confident mood after their 50 plus thumping of Eccles in the reverse fixture some months ago. They were greeted with respect but the Eccles starting 15 were ravenous for revenge and still smarting from a quarter final knockout a fortnight ago. This showed this from the off as Keaton ‘always’ Winning embraced the captains armband and set the tone; rampaging his way down the middle of the park repeatedly. Oates latched on to the weaknesses in the Tigers backline and distributed excellently to his hit-men centres. The game was won in the first 10 minutes through the aggression of the Eccles lads, going silently about their business and playing for the shirt. The backline were up fast and hard and Omar Owe is fast-claiming the 13 jersey, with some textbook hits Owen Farrell himself would be proud of.

Wilkes was digging ball out well from some scruffy rucks and Eccles pacers began to get good ball from WillSchalke’ Goslin’s rucking and Smitham’s clean presentation. Eccles did little wrong in the opening exchanges and some smart slaloming from Wes Chiriseri led to Liam ‘Karate Kid’ Chester going in for the opening score. Wilkes converted and the Eccles balcony were impressed by ball carrying of the backs. Sedge struck back through some pacey back row play but the conversion sailed wide.

Fierce tackling and astute line-out play swung the momentum back to the blue-and-whites, and front row-ers Smith and Wignall led to regular set piece ball on a blustery day. The ever consistent Taylor cleaned up any loose ball and number 8 Josh Hunt was experimenting effectively with the new back row moves. The ball was finding its way to Winning more and more and some slick passing ended in debut winger Grayston sliding his way down the left touchline to round off relentless Eccles pressure.

Lewis, Paul, Nick and Dan watched on grinning as things were beginning to click for their team. With 10 minutes left in the first half, they injected yet more pace and power, and Dean ‘toilet break’ Mongan came straight off the bench to bundle over. Oates nailed a difficult touchline conversion and Eccles went in 19-5 at the break.

The half-time discussions concerned the changing weather conditions and an emphasis on helping freezing cold full-back Encarncao if Sedge were to go long and deep for some much needed territory. The second half started in familiar pacey style but Sedgley’s striding, leggy centre (the fastest lad in Bolton and Bury we’re told) went a good 70 metres for a superb individual score. This drew the scores closer but Eccles were in no mood to surrender to the conditions or Sedgley possession and ‘Big Bob’ Unubold bowled over from close range to round off another solid game for the prop. Super-fit Thornley came on at 9 and put instant pressure on his opposite number, forcing errors from the Tigers 9 and putting Eccles on the front-foot in a key period of the game.

From this set piece ball, guest-starring right wing Todd took his chance and went over a couple of barn-storming scores, showing off a lethal hand-off in the process! The game was won and the Eccles coaches switched their men again. Hunt went off with a blow to the head, a result of constant dedication to clean ball for his team. Fellows came on to annoy the Sedgley county representatives, rucking his way through with a smile, battling way above his weight as usual and Goslin even enjoyed a stint on the wing with some silky steps inside.

The win was sealed with score of the day though as substitute centre Danny ‘the Unit’ Wilson counter-attacked from his own 22. He ran riot down the left touchline, swatting tacklers like flies before really opening up and showing “the fastest lad in Bolton and Bury” a clean pair of heels. The Eccles lads wish Liam ‘Karate Kid’ Chester a speedy recovery after breaking a leg for his troubles, we’ve got your glasses Liam don’t worry. Also big thanks for Big Mark for reffing a feisty encounter in a calm and measured way.

The Sedgley coaches heaped praise on the Eccles lads post-match and whether it’s a flying visit from superstar Farrell, or things finally coming together for the super 15’s, a switch flicked somewhere on Sunday and here’s to hoping it’s a sign of things yet to come.

Under 15’s Report Vs. Moor 03/02/13

Eccles under 15’s Vs. Heaton Moor under 15’s

Friendly 03/02 /13

Eccles 19 Heaton Moor 10

Eccles under 15’s were looking for an improvement on the away fixture against a strong Moor team; a team who’ve qualified for the plate competition after finishing above Eccles in the Blacksticks league. Moor turned up in good spirits and organised fashion as usual, big thanks to their coaching staff for welcoming a reverse fixture and a positive attitude throughout.

This is the beginning of a promising month for the 15’s, building towards an exciting quarter final fixture against Blackburn in early March.

They braved a blustery opening quarter under the tunnel, as they were pinned back by Moor’s pack and advancing fly half. The Eccles backline struggled to adapt to the pace of the Moor runners at first and the backline were worryingly deep and dog-legged in defence. Moor ultimately drove over, with the help of the hail and the gale, but the Eccles coaching team were relatively pleased after 20 minutes, as their troops were responding well to touchline advice and the momentum was slowly swinging in the Blue n Whites favour. The Eccles faithful were always confident that, once they’ve weathered the storm,they could surely cause some damage going forward with good ball in hand.

Liam ‘should have gone to specsavers’ Chester kick-started the Eccles boys’ attack with a storming 50 yard run down the left touch line. Despite losing his glasses post-match, Chester is proving a real vision from a coaches point of view, winning the sprint races on Wednesday night training and proving a slippery customer against sizeable opposition. Beginning to gain the upper hand, Dean ‘toilet-break’ Mongan was waking up, and after out-pacing and out-muscling the Moor number 8 ‘Bruno’, the Eccles pressure told and he crashed over from close range. New number 10, ‘mighty mouse’ Cammy slotted the extras and then began to slice his way through the Moor defence from distance, supported closely by inside centre Keaton ‘battering ram’ Winning. Wiggy was winning most messy lineouts, and the game settled into a positive pattern for the Eccles men.

The Eccles boys were in confident mood at half time relishing the prospect of the wind behind them and looking to spread the ball more in the second half. The opening exchanges turned into a bit of a forwards arm-wrestle though. Luckily for Eccles,  ‘Bob’s’ penalty count didn’t sway the game as Fellows turned up for a strong second half on the ground, followed closely by fast-improving Ellis ‘silent assasin’ Yearsley – who’s beginning to throw his dangerous power around. Through Cammy’s darts and Jack ‘Ratatouille’ Wilkes’ clever box kicking, Eccles worked their way into the Moor 22 and the welcome return of Sheldon ‘the Fridge’ Leather pile-drived over for a deserved forwards try. Eccles were glad to welcome back Jordan ‘talks-a-good-game’ Smith at 9 for the final 30 and he impressed with his thought and instruction in the latter stages.

The game slipped into another muddy lull at the hour mark, only to be gloriously awakened by the lightning quick Ivan Encarcao. Barely touching the ball all game, many expected him to poke the ball upfield as the Moor 10 sent it spiralling into space – but instead, Ivan tiptoed his way around the outside of the Moor backline and had the skill and presence of mind to pop inside to new recruit and ‘back of the match’ Carlton to sprint free. ‘AfroMan’ supported well and ran through brick walls all day on his debut, capping it off with a fine score.

Man of the match went to Steven ‘dump-truck’ Smith though, who showed his true form finally this season. Smith was everywhere on a cold, wet day, leading from the front in both attack and defence, chucking Moor forwards up and over for fun all day. Next step Tyldesley, a tough team with two wins over Eccles this season. But the under 15’s are on the charge and in confident mood, onlookers are predicting an upset…

Under 15’s Match Report Vs. Bolton

Pre-Season Warm-Up -23/09/12

Eccles 54 Bolton 10

Eccles under 15’s have had a mixed pre-season. A pre-season that’s involved saying goodbye to old faces (both players and coaches) and yet a great influx of new players and new ideas. Coaches Lewis, Paul and Dan were glad to see the back of the Summer, as back to school business meant building a team.

With just 11 players on the team sheet a fortnight ago, BIG shout outs go to all of the lads, especially the Albion and Moorside lot, though everyone played their part in scraping together an eventual 17 players for a first test against Bolton! A blend of ex-rugby league-ers, complete beginners and even an MMA fighter turned up at Gorton Street to try their hand at ruggers the Eccles way.

A curious crowd, an eager coaching staff and a balcony full of kids turned up to find out what the under 15’s were all about this season. Safe to say they weren’t disappointed. If the Eccles 1st team can replicate the start these lads made on their very pitch on Sunday, then they won’t be doing much wrong this season.

Bolton arrived in confident mood and with sizeable players, but from the very first whistle, Eccles were amongst them. From Wilkes tactical chipping to ‘SCHALKE’ Goslin’s (I explain this on Sunday!) ferocious rucking, Eccles did little wrong in the opening exchanges. Fierce tackling from front row-ers Smith and Wignall led to an almost immediate turnover for the home team and the game came to life almost instantly; as impressive offloading from second-row Taylor and ‘BIG BOB’ led to a forward drive, resulting in powerhouse ‘SMITTY’ Smitham smashing the ball down. First blood to Eccles.

The first ten minutes of this game summed up everything Lewis, Paul and Dan have been trying to coach across the last 6 weeks: Fast, high-pressure, ‘keeping the ball alive’ game-play. And nothing was more pleasing than to watch 15 individuals come together and buy into this mouth-watering style of running rugby.

A cool and collected Wilkes fired over the first of 8 conversions – some from tricky angles – and Eccles were in their stride. Bolton were rabbits in our fast-approaching headlights and strong running from debutant number 8, Dean ‘PADDY’ Mongan, led to great field position for the hosts. This culminated in a deft chip from Captain Wilkes, for lightning quick Encarncao to scurry onto the end of and score under the posts.

At the first break the coaching team were struggling to find any holes in Eccles’ first 20 minute performance. A perfect start. This quickly changed though as Bolton responded to their coaches’ comments and stray kicks into the wind from both Eccles half-backs led to a surprise Bolton score. Despite some strong running from Omar ‘MISSED THE BUS’ Salih, Eccles found themselves up against it and Bolton’s big men started to make some inroads. This could have proven costly for the hosts, but they have Ryan ‘THE UNIT’ Thornley to thank at full back, as he repeatedly mopped up any missed tackles by the men in front of him and secured his position as 15 for the upcoming season. Some good organisation from sparky, scrum half Smith led to quick tries from Mongan and Salih again and Eccles were home and dry.

Lewis rang the changes in the final third and the ‘STEAMTRAIN’ Sheldon punctured Bolton’s defence with some unbelievable solo charges into the opposition 22. After much encouragement from the sideline, PADDY learnt how to pass in the latter stages of the game and this led to a fantastic breakaway try from Encarncao and Paddy secured a well-deserved hatrick of tries himself. This finished Bolton off and you could see the Eccles boys really relax and enjoy the victory.

Other special mentions go to Dean ‘VERSATILE’ Fellows for stepping up at back row this season; he was smart and physical at the breakdown and one of the hardest workers on the park. Dion Wallis impressed on his very first game of union and the team was led triumphantly by Wilkes as skipper.

Big thanks for Bolton for the game and for reversing their shirts!! We’ll see them again in the Blacksticks before long. I’m going to finish by summing up the game in reference to the wingers. Callum Johnson played through an injury and didn’t put a foot wrong all day, both in defence and going forward. And finally (I can’t believe I’ve not mentioned him yet) Liam ‘KARATE KID’ Chester enjoyed an unbelievable debut and I think players and coaches alike will be urging him to swap UFC for ERFC – you know it makes sense Liam.