The 2017/18 Junior Colts Season

Just pick the bloody ball up!

Each year as Summer approaches, the fixture list runs dry and the season comes to a close, parents, players and coaching staff reflect back on the highs and lows of the preceding nine or so months rugby. Some years you have to squeeze the pips out of the good news lemon in order to spin a story of positivity. Other years, and this is one of those years, you look back and see nothing other than positivity.

There have been low points. The lack of control and sportsmanship of opposition parents and players when we travelled to the Wild West; that feeling of a kick to the noodle what the lads dropped from B to C following the preliminary fixtures; the narrow loss at Ormskirk on day one; most of all, the loss of some of the Junior Colt players, The (not) Wright Brothers, Ellis Pearson (unquestionably not right), Albert, Alex etc.

Those high points though! What a season we have had as the City of Salford’s only representatives at Colts / Junior Colts. Lots of wins, a few losses and lots and lots of Trys. So many Trys that the lads have accumulated more points than any other club, Junior or Senior Colts. Conference C league winners Ormskirk are the only team to have got within a hundred points of the Eccles points tally. Defensively too Eccles have shown their resilience averaging no more than18 points per game conceded – that is less than 3 converted Trys per game. This plays out to an average match score across the season of 42 points for vs 18 points against – an outstanding team achievement.

The lads have proven time and time again that they are a hardworking and honest group who to a man are willing to put the effort in, constantly putting their body on the line. By way of example, just consider how many different profiles Harry Candland’s nose has had.

But in addition to hard work and endeavour there is an abundance of ability, skill, knowledge and rugby guile. Whether is is the Lieutenant Spiers type of runs of Shea Skillicorn, the uncompromising bulldozer charges of Keiron Reed or the FogHorn LegHorn backchat of Dan Aspinall, Eccles Junior Colts have never failed to bring an exciting brand of attacking rugby to the field, more often than not, paying dividends with well deserved and convincing victories.

The playing squad wouldn’t properly function without a team of backroom volunteers and staff who work tirelessly to ensure that the lads a prepared for each and every game:

Coach Kevin Walker – every Wednesday he ruthlessly drills the lads, every Sunday we hear him screaming “just pick the bloody ball up”

Coach Mark Candland – supporting Coach Kevin week in week out like a personal and direct line to the Samaritans

Mark Skillicorn – the team physio following his claims (has anyone seen the paperwork) of some kind of medical knowledge and a bottle of squirty, has been providing medical support for the lads, tending to knocks, bumps and Harry’s nose

Leeann Aspinall – fixture secretary, manager and all round Good-Egg. Without Leeann the whole thing would collapse overnight. Leeann is the foundations of the Junior Colts.

John ‘the suds’ Aspinall – the kit mans ‘kit man’. Eccles very own Barry Scott armed with industrial strength Omo and a bottle of Cillit Bang, John ensures that the Navy and White of Eccles kit is super clean, bright and smelling fresh for every game.

I feel like I’ve missed somebody out here so apologies, but the Rum is kicking in.

Finally I feel I have to mention the catering team at Eccles RFC. We have traveled to many clubs up and down the length of Lancashire, many of which clearly have more wealthy benefactors that Eccles and without fear of contradiction I can state that the post match food at Eccles is second to none

Of the individual players – there will be the formalities of a Players Player of the year etc but the truth is every player has contributed to the seasons successes. Some players contributions are highlighted more often than others, Kieron with his string of Man of the Match performances, Matthew Walker, Captain, 10 and lethal from the tee, Joe Rapinett – masterful in the Line Out, Brad Palmer – so often the last man and so often the difference between conceding a Try or not; Josh Green – Powerhouse of the Front Row. The list goes on and extends further to the U16s who have represented at Junior Colt level, Joe Borrett, Chris Gillard etc.

However there are those players though who regularly fall under the radar of the match report and plaudits but who have contributed immensely to the success of this Junior Colts Squad. Without wanting to single anyone out – I am going to single a couple of lads out.

Jack Williams. In terms of character, commitment and resilience, Jack must be at the top of the tree. He has played right across the Backs and also the Wing but it was his outstanding performance away to Oxton Parkonians at Full Back which in my opinion was one of the stand out individual performances of the season. Jack was immense!

Max Riley. Must be a Coaches dream player. Max will play and put a shift in anywhere on the field. He plays at the Back, as a Centre, as a Second Row – I think on one occasion he even joined the Big Lads in the From Row

The list could go on but in no particular order, (and I know I will have missed people of – apologies) here is a roll-call of the lads who have stepped up and represented the 2017/18  Eccles RFC Junior Colts

  • David Smith
  • Josh Green
  • Dan Aspinall
  • Chris Gillard
  • James Fletcher
  • Joe Rapinett
  • Matty Lee
  • Keiron Reed
  • Joe Borrett
  • Harry Candland
  • Tom Bates
  • Jack Williams
  • Josh Stafford
  • Shea Skillicorn
  • Daniel Delaney
  • Jordan Burns
  • Max Riley
  • Ed Hampson
  • Will Toone
  • Rob Strickland
  • Brad Palmer
  • Nat Kelsey
  • Matthew Walker
  • John Grundy
  • Cameron Williams
  • Albert Tonoyan
  • Ellis Pearson

It has been a fantastic season for Eccles Junior Colts and I have enjoyed doing the occasional match report this and previous years however I have utterly exhausted my book of witty quips and will be hanging up my reporters cap at the end of the season – especially as I have recently found out that Josh Green is studying A Level English Literature.

So, what next?

Well despite a rotund lady gargling the TCP in anticipation of an aria, the season isn’t over yet. The final fixture for Eccles Junior Colts is todays Alan James U17 Trophy which sees Eccles come face to face with the hugely powerful Conference B side Kirkby Lonsdale Junior Colts. Kirkby Lonsdale have had a mixed season, finishing mid-table but securing some impressive victories against Blackburn, Altrincham Kersal and Heaton Moor.

#NavyAndWhite

Epilogue

Unfortunately for Eccles, the Alan James Trophy went the way of league standings with Kirkby Lonsdale running out winners by a couple of Trys in a fiercely contested game. Eccles started slowly, conceding a soft Try early in the first half. This was soon followed by a second Try before some excellent running from Tanny Kelsey inside the Lonsdale 22 opened up their defence enough for Dan Aspinall to find his way in to the corner.

Kirkby Lonsdale extended their lead with some intelligent penalty kicking before Matthew Walker seized the opportunity to close the gap again with a converted Try and Penalty.

Eccles scored a final Try towards the end of the second half with a powerful run straight through the middle of the Kirkby Lonsdale defence from the fabulous Will Toone.

The lads were clearly upset at the end of the Final having lost a game that each and every one of them knew was well within their grasp.  But this has been an encouraging season for the Junior Colts with some great victories and stunning individual and team performances.

The recent decision to field a single Senior Colts squad for the 2018/19 season, drawing together some fantastic young talent from across the club, together with the introduction of the experienced Chris Gaffey to the coaching squad can only serve to strengthen the squad , create competition for places and increase the expectations for the coming season for all involved.

Final Score

Eccles 20 – 36 Kirkby Lonsdale

 

 

Quote of the day – in fact its a contender for quote of the Junior Rugby years.

5 minutes in to the game and my good lady, Lindsay asks me “who is the new lad, the tall number 6  playing for Eccles?” 🤔 🤔 👓 

 

How much have we enjoyed junior rugby Joe?

 

 

The End

Junior Colts complete superb League Double over Colne

A hugely depleted Eccles team made the journey to Colne in order to fulfil this league fixture with no less than nine players either injured, working or committed elsewhere. The remaining 15 lads represented their club immaculately, raising themselves to the challenge of facing a group of fast and powerful Colne players who had the luxury of a number of replacements.

The first half was a fairly even affair with Eccles showing a great deal of tenacity and grit as they battled against the biting cold of the Lancashire air which blew in their faces throughout the first half. Eccles were first to break the deadlock with a Try from Joe Rapinett who scored right in the corner after twisting and turning his way through the Colne defence.

Colne responded soon after with a kicked penalty and a well worked Try, the Colne 10 kicking through in to unguarded space for his super quick winger to run on to and score.

Our magnificent Number 8 Keiron Reed put Eccles back on top with a typically robust run through a very solid Colne defence. Keiron had made similar runs earlier but to no avail, the time however he collected the ball at pace, leaving Colne little chance of holding him up.

8 – 10 Half Time

The second half was a fantastic period of rugby from the Eccles perspective; everything that was required of the lads was offered up by every one of them, and in spades!

Robert Strickland settled the second half nerves with an early and opportunistic Try. Rob spotted a mistake in the Colne defence and was first to attack the loose ball, kicking it forward towards the Try line, his pace doing the rest. With Matthew Walker injured, Joe Borrett took on kicking duties and slotted this one between the sticks.

Jordan Burns showed his electric pace as he extended the Eccles lead further with a Try moments later, holding off the chasing Colne defence as he broke wide supported by Max Riley to score Eccles fourth Try of the day, Joe Borrett conferring to put Eccles beyond two converted Trys ahead.

This psychological gap seemed to get under the skin of a few of our Hosts as their discipline began to slip; a lack of discipline that played in to Eccles hands as the lads turned up the heat and following our last two Trys out wide, the lads used their power and drive to forge a way through the Colne lines and score three more Trys through the centre.

First to score was Joe Borrett who jumped up to convert; next was Harry Candland who took an accidental fist to the nose as he grounded the ball. The final Try came at the end of a wonderful half of rugby and it was Chris Gillard who had played exceptionally well throughout who scored it.

8 – 43 Full Time

A great game of rugby with Eccles completing a superb Home & Away double over a very good Colne side.

Eccles Junior Colts’s Vital Statistics

Todays Eccles Squad

Starting XV

  1. David Smith
  2. Josh Green
  3. Dan Aspinall
  4. Chris Gillard
  5. James Fletcher
  6. Joe Rapinett
  7. Matty Lee
  8. Keiron Reed
  9. Joe Borrett
  10. Harry Candland
  11. Shea Skillicorn
  12. Jordan Burns
  13. Max Riley
  14. Rob Strickland
  15. Brad Palmer

Replacements

  • N/a

MIA 🤕

  • Nat Kelsey
  • Matthew Walker
  • John Grundy

AWOL 😣

  • Albert Tonoyan
  • Ellis Pearson
  • Will Toone
  • Ed Hampson

Bertie Magoo’s ⚽🙈

  • Jack Williams
  • Josh Stafford

Scores on the Doors

Half Time 8 – 10

Full Time 8 – 43

Eccles Try Scorers

  1. Joe Rapinett
  2. Keiron Reed
  3. Rob Strickland
  4. Jordan Burns
  5. Joe Borrett
  6. Harry Candland
  7. Chris Gillard

Eccles Conversions

  1. Joe Borrett 4 / 7

Eccles Man of the Match (the Keiron Reed Award)

We have to go back to games in black and white for the last time our Number 8 Keiron Reed wasn’t recognised as the Eccles Man of the Match. As is tradition in rugby the EMoM went to Kieron Reed who had an outstanding game, leading the Forward line and getting himself on the scoresheet. A dead-leg cut his game short late in the second half, the Colne coach gave an audible sigh of relief when Keiron left the pitch.

Coach Kevin nominated the young Colne Outside Centre as Man of the Match for our hosts who had a good game, making a number of good runs

Notable Mentions

EMoM, Keiron Reed took a heavy hit to his thigh late in the second half leaving the Eccles lads to complete the last 10 minutes with just 14 players. Thankfully we have a break of 2 weeks before our next competitive fixture which is away at Oxton.

Hopefully the Colne lad who lost a tooth in the challenge on Keiron will be OK.

Harry Candland went all out to match Matthew Walker in the battle of Crooked Nose. Hope it settles down Harry, definitely gives that handsome grid a bit of gritty character.

❤ ❤ I just want someone to look at me the way Matt looks at Harry  ❤ ❤

So what did Coach Kevin say to the lads at half-time? judging by the souvenirs it may well have been something from Oliver Twist – Fagin!

Very snide of a number of Colne lads to verbally attack Chris the Whistle (sans whistle today). Chris did a great job of running the line (apparently this role is known as a Sidesman…Danielle). It is a measure of Chris’ character that he didn’t respond to the verbal abuse he was unfortunately subjected to.

Can someone define schoolboy error for me please –

Yes….. not opening the bar when Eccles are in town!

How very different the temperatures were in the North stand and the South stand today

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I’ve mentioned it earlier but – WOW! what a magnificent performance from a bare 15 players. It’s worth noting that although 15 players make up a full team, when you are presented with just 15 players, inevitably you end up with players being asked to play out of position. Brilliantly coached by Kevin and Mark today and the lads responded superbly.

All the lads put a huge shift in, some were more influential than others, mainly due to the way the game panned out and also because of how Eccles approached the game. While Joe, Harry, Jordan etc were putting points on the board, David Smith, James Fletcher, Matty Lee, Brad Palmer and others were doing a huge amount of grunt. Matty had another brilliant game and David Smith was just awesome, using his deceptive pace, his strength and his positive attitude to power his way though, gaining countless metres on each and every occasion. He really is a metaphor for all that is good about Eccles U17 Junior Colts.

No game next week, keep a watch out for the smoke signals regarding training Wednesday and possibly Sunday too

Current League Standings

Todays win see Eccles cruise past the 500 points scored marker (points difference of +309). We sit second in the league behind Ormskirk who we visit in a fortnights time, a win here would put us in a good place for finishing above Ormskirk in the final standings.

 

Finally

Matthew Walker suffered a bump to the head and has had a doctor take a look – the importance of grammar needs to be considered here:

Me – how’s your head Matt?

Matt -The doctor has done a brain scan and found nothing alarming.

or was it

Me – how’s your head Matt?

Matt – The doctor has done a brain scan and found nothing, alarming!

 

Junior Colts continue golden streak with win at Clitheroe

A foreshortened and somewhat rushed match report this week as I need to emulsion the ceiling….again! It’s had more coats than Lisa Walker had on at todays game!

Clitheroe is a lovely part of East Lancashire and we were made very welcome by the representatives of Clitheroe RUFC on a chilly Winters day. I think we arrived just after the potato pickers had finished pulling their spuds from the field / 1st team pitch – definitely going to be a game for the Forwards rather than the silky skills and handling of the Eccles Backs.

The first 20 minutes were a fairly even affair with both sides having their fair share of Ball in good positions. It was left to Harry Candland to break the deadlock with a try born of his typically adventurous running. Matthew Walker secured the additional points from the Tee.

Eccles extended their lead shortly after as the power and persistence of the Eccles Forwards eventually paid off as the excellent Kieron Reed took the ball at speed, crashing his way through the Clitheroe defence to score in the corner.

Dan Aspinall returned from injury and got himself on the scoresheet with a well worked Try in the latter stages of the first half. Joe Borrett picked up kicking duties from the injured Matthew Walker and slotted the ball between the sticks to give Eccles a deserved 19 point lead.

In the last action of the first half Clitheroe gave themselves some hope with a Try that to those close enough to see, was clearly held up. Unfortunately for Eccles the referee was some distance away from the immediate action and couldn’t see that Joe Borrett had made an excellent Try saving tackle.

Half Time 5 – 19

Having played the first half down the farmers field, Eccles would have to put in some unenviable uphill gardening in the second half. This would prove to be a challenge that Eccles would rise to, running in some fine Trys on the way to a convincing but hard fought win.

Ed Hampson was the first of the Eccles Forwards to prove that running uphill through a farmers field was easy, as he ploughed his way through the mud like a young buck searching out Theresa May amidst a field of wheat. He broke from inside his own half and showed his incredible ball running as he weaved in and out of the oncoming tackles to score beneath the posts.

Joe Rapinett extended the Eccles advantage further as he managed Trys in back to back games before having to retire because his ‘wegs were vewy vewy tired’ the poor likkle lamb

The best Try of the day has to be the Eccles penultimate effort scored by Harry Candland. However without wanting to tinkle on Harry’s bonfire, the Try was the creation of Shea Strickland who must have ran 100m through countless tackles before finding himself facing the oncoming Clitheroe Full-Back. Shea drew the Clitheroe tackler on before firing the ball into the arms of the supporting Harry Candland. A truly fantastically worked Try from the two lads, finished off by Harry.

Joe Borrett sealed a brilliant personal performance with the final Eccles Try of the game. Having received the ball from a Penalty inside the twenty-two, Joe looked to pass inside, then outside, then inside again. As the defence closed him down and with limited options Joe charged forward and leaped for the line extending the Eccles points tally to 47.

Clitheroe showed tremendous spirit during the final moments, closing the gap with a couple of impressive Trys, keeping the Eccles endeavours honest to the end.

Full Time 17 – 47

Well done to both sides. Clitheroe showed some big improvements from the performance that saw them concede 66 points at Gorton Street back in January. The pitch played its part, restricting the pace of the likes of Jordan Burns and Robert Strickland. Eccles controlled the game from the first through to the final whistle and never looked like they would lose however they will be disappointed to have conceded three Trys today.

Many thanks also to todays referee who had a good game under the watching eyes and ears of the auditors (or whatever these guys are known as)

Eccles Junior Colts’s Vital Statistics

Todays Eccles Squad

Starting XV

  1. Dan Aspinall
  2. Josh Green
  3. Matty Lee
  4. Max Riley
  5. James Fletcher
  6. Joe Rapinett
  7. Ed Hampson
  8. Keiron Reed
  9. Joe Borrett
  10. Matthew Walker
  11. Harry Candland
  12. Shea Skillicorn
  13. Jordan Burns
  14. Rob Strickland
  15. Brad Palmer

Replacements

  1. Jack Williams
  2. David Smith
  3. Chris Gillard
  4. Josh Stafford

MIA 🤕

  1. Nat Kelsey
  2. Ellis Pearson
  3. Alex Hardman

AWOL 😣

  1. Albert Tonoyan
  2. John Grundy
  3. Will Toone

Scores on the Doors

Half Time 5 – 19

Full Time 17 – 47

Eccles Try Scorers

  • Harry Candland x 2
  • Keiron Reed
  • Dan Aspinall
  • Ed Hampson
  • Joe Rapinett
  • Joe Borrett

Eccles Conversions

  • Matthew Walker 1 / 2
  • Joe Borrett 6 / 6

EMoM

Once again the Eccles Man of the Match was awarded by Clitheroe to Kieron Reed who put in yet another powerful performance at Number 8, a position that he has cemented as his own – a bit like Man of the Match to be fair!

Coach Kevin nominated the young Clitheroe Full Back as Man of the Match for our hosts who had a great game under some intense pressure from the Eccles attacking line.

Notable Mentions

Similarly to last week Eccles suffered an early blow as Matthew Walker was forced to retire from the game inside thirty minutes. Hopefully both Matthew and Tanny who suffered a head injury last week will have speedy recoveries and will be back fit and available soon.

Billy Borrett continues to be a winner as he managed to find himself 5lb of spuds at the bottom end of the Clitheroe pitch.

A fine pass to water-boy Joe Rapinett as he Sandlered his way across the pitch with his bottles of water – WHACK! straight in his grid!!

The Burnley result last week served as a timeous reminder to the lads that results cannot be taken for granted. Well done to the lads for reacting well to last weeks ‘tighter than it should’ve been’ win.

The rugby today was really entertaining however the animated antics of Chris the Whistle on the touchline was pretty good too.

This has taken me way too long to write due to my autocorrect which consistently wanted to rename Joe Borrett, Joe Barrett.

I have no intention in revealing to what autocorrect adjusted ‘Clitheroe Tackler’ & ‘finished off by Harry’ – Lets just say that I will be clearing my browsing history

It was a bit cold today!!

Fair play to the Clitheroe Groundsman for preparing the pitch hat pitch!

The Table

A slight shift in the rules regarding the date that clubs have to have fulfilled their fixtures by may prove a penalty to the endeavours of Eccles who have honoured every fixture (regardless of injuries, travel weather etc). All we can do is to continue to play the Eccles brand of rugby that sees us sit just below Ormskirk in the table with the highest points tally and highest points difference of any Senior or Junior Colts side.

Burnley Capitulate as Junior Colts win again

Temperatures that wouldn’t look out of place in the middle of a Canadien Winter greeted the teams on the compact pitch under the railway tunnel; a pitch however, that was in reasonably good condition given the fact that the U15’s had played just 30 minutes earlier

The mood of the game was set with the very first action as straight from the Burnley Kick-Off Eccles Knocked-On. The Burnley Forwards were clearly up for the game as they forced Eccles back towards their Try line with wave upon wave of attack. Eccles concede a penalty and Burnley take the decision to kick and get some early points on the board.

0 – 3

Further bad news for Eccles as Ellis Pearson pulls up with an injury to his knee.  Ellis’ injury sees Matty Lee join a game in which he would go to excel in.

Eccles regrouped but still found themselves pinned back until a break from defence by Matty Lee saw Eccles gain valuable yards into the Burnley half. Eccles were becoming frustrated as a number of minor infringements seemed to go unpunished and decisions seemed to go against them. Without regular mouthpiece Dan, it began to look as though no one would order themselves a cheese slice. Step forward the Burnley Flanker, windmilling his Louis Vuittons like a crazed Spongebob in the direction of anyone in Navy & White (but mainly Josh Green) he found himself to be the proud owner of a Tesco SmartPrice Cheese slice and in truth, very fortunate not to have seen rouge. Shea Skillicorn too managed to collect a slice of Leerdammer and a reprimand from the referee – unsure what this card was for, although Valentines Days is fast approaching!!

Eccles got themselves back into the game whilst Burnley had a bit of a power-nap shortly after conceding the last in a massive series of penalties. Quick thinking Matthew Walker took a Tap and weaved his way through the nodding Burnley players to score in the corner

5 – 3

Within five minutes of going ahead Eccles fell behind again as a loose pass across the Eccles line was intercepted by the Burnley Centre who ran through almost unchallenged to score under the posts.

5 – 10

As half time approached Eccles were again bossing the game. They had Burnley on the back foot and were controlling the speed and tempo of play in all areas of the pitch. Just as Burnley thought they would see out the half ahead, Harry Candland broke through the Burnley lines to score Eccles second Try of the game on the stroke of Half Time. Matthew Walker converted to leave Eccles ahead by 2 points at the break.

12 – 10 Half Time

Eccles were forced in to more changes as Matthew Walker retired injured and Ed Hampson needed to head off to work. So a 14 man Eccles side got the second half started and it would be Burnley who would take the initiative yet again, no doubt buoyed by the Eccles numerical disadvantage and the loss of Ed and our 10.

A number of Eccles players seemed to stop in their tracks in expectation of play being brought back for a forward pass but the whistle was never going to be blown and Burnley found themselves ahead again.

12 – 17

A clash of heads put paid to Tanny Kelsey’s involvement and saw Eccles down to just 13 players with almost a full half to play. Needless to say, in the face of huge adversity Eccles showed the tremendous guts, determination and spirit that they are known for, and with the additional space that fewer numbers on the pitch presented, Eccles began to play with a level of freedom and pace that previously had been stifled by the huge Burnley Pack.

Jordan Burns would be the first to capitalise on the additional space as he collected the ball at the back of the Ruck and opened his legs, bursting past the hapless Burnley defence to score right in the postage stamp at the corner of the Try line. Joe Barrett stepped up and hammered the ball between the uprights.

19 – 17

Eccles extended their lead shortly afterwards with a typically Shea like Try from Shea Skillicorn; ball tucked high under his arm and running straight through the Burnley Forwards, Midfield and Defence, scattering players like blue & yellow 10-pins.

24 – 17

Even though Eccles had scored 4 Try’s to Burnley’s 2, the game was still delicately poised as a converted Try from Burnley would rob Eccles of a victory they had fought hard for.

Eccles were still playing the better rugby and it would soon pay off as Joe Rapinett collected the ball from James Fletcher inside the Burnley half. Joe had plenty to do but, at full pace managed to hold off the tackles and plant the ball in almost the same spot as Jordan had done earlier in the half. Joe Barrett again converted from an incredibly tight angle to seal the win for the 13 men of Eccles.

31 – 17 Full Time

Eccles Junior Colts’s Vital Statistics

Todays Eccles Squad

Starting XV

  1. David Smith
  2. Josh Green
  3. Ellis Pearson
  4. Max Riley
  5. James Fletcher
  6. Joe Rapinett
  7. Ed Hampson
  8. Keiron Reed
  9. Nat Kelsey
  10. Matthew Walker
  11. Harry Candland
  12. Shea Skillicorn
  13. Jack Williams
  14. Rob Strickland
  15. Brad Palmer

Replacements

  1. Matty Lee
  2. Joe Borrett

MIA 🤕

  1. Dan Aspinall
  2. Will Toone

AWOL 😣

  1. Albert Tonoyan
  2. John Grundy
  3. Chris Gillard
  4. Josh Stafford

Scores on the Doors

Half Time 12 – 10

Full Time 31 – 17

Eccles Try Scorers

  • Matthew Walker
  • Harry Candland
  • Jordan Burns
  • Shea Skillicorn
  • Joe Rapinett

Eccles Conversions

  • Matthew Walker 1 / 2
  • Joe Borrett 2 / 3

EMoM

Eccles Man of the Match was awarded by Burnley to Kieron Reed who lead from the front with his relentless and powerful running from start to finish 

Notable Mentions

Eccles suffered a couple of early setbacks with injuries to Ellis Pearson and Matthew Walker, neither of whom were able to continue. Work commitments saw Ed Hampson take an early shower, leaving Eccles down to just 14 players. The lads rallied and battled on but were soon down to 13 players when Scrum Half Tanny Kelsey took a knock to the head. Ironically, being down to 13 players opened up the pitch to the Eccles brand of rugby with fast, secure ball handling and lightening quick breaks being the winning formula over the shear grunt of Burnley.

Eccles briefly fielded 16 players when Blue broke free from the grasp of Martin Parkinson and joined the Ruck. Skidding about on the mud, arms windmilling in every possible direction and blurting out some quality old Anglo Saxon literary, Martin took the Eccles numbers up to 17 as he chased Blue around the bemused Burnley Forwards and off the field.

How high was that tackle on Rob Strickland??

Lessons Learnt

Never underestimate mate your opponent! This Burnley side was unrecognised from the team we beat bu over 100 points just prior to Christmas. They came to Gorton Street off the back of two great results against Colne. Like Burnley, Clitheroe have had a mixed season so far but have beaten Burnley home & away, Oxton Parkonians and secured a draw against Colne. Sunday will be far more difficult than the home fixture late last month.

Positives

Another fine show from the lads in difficult conditions against a side built of physicality. Matty Lee put in one of his best performances, carrying the ball on numerous occasions and even finding himself breaking the Burnley line within his own half and making 60 or 70m before setting up a Ruck.

With Matthew Walker off the field, Joe Barrett stepped up to take on the kicking duties. Joe’s kicking was fantastic and included two straight out of the Matthew Walker scrap-book of ‘Kicks from the Touch Line’.

Negatives

Eccles were fairly disciplined throughout the game despite some provocation, windmilling and even the occasional karate kick. This indiscipline and red mist did see the Burnley 7 receive a lenient cheese slice. The cheese slice that Shea received is still a bigger mystery that the Bermuda Triangle

Eccles Line-Out is usually a huge strength but today it just didn’t happen for us. Clever play from Burnley stifled the Eccles Line-Out, forcing mistakes, Knock-On’s, wayward throws etc. Lets hope for better at Clitheroe.

Next

Our battles with teams of East Lancashire continues next week as we travel up to Clitheroe RUFC. In our previous meeting at Gorton St, it was Eccles who came out on top but as todays result will tell us, this does not necessarily mean we will have it all our own way on Sunday.

Hopefully we will have a strong squad to take North on Sunday, but this will depend on how some of the lads recover from knocks and injuries – Dan, Matthew, Ellis, Tanny; the availability of our U16s Chris, John, William, Joe; and commitment from those that couldn’t make todays game – Albert

Training

Wednesday as usual – lets see if we can get a good turn out at training this week; work on our game and take the outworking of training in to Sundays fixture.

Remember the Six P’s

Proper Preparation Prevents etc

League Status

Junior Colts too strong for Clitheroe

A slightly depleted Clitheroe made the journey from East Lancashire down to Gorton Street to fulfil todays Conference League fixture. Given the recent disappointment following the postponement of the Oxton fixture the lads were chomping at the bit to get some game time under their belts.

Eccles started well and were totally dominant throughout the game. Despite their valiant efforts Clitheroe found the Eccles tempo just too difficult to compete with. The game didn’t present itself as being particularly one sided however Eccles were able to score at will and never looked as though they would concede.

Clitheroe did have some decent possession but Eccles defended like Spartans from the Front Row of Ellis, Josh and Dan, right through the team to the last defensive line of Brad Palmer who given the result etc had a fair amount of possession.

It was a courageous effort from our visitors who conducted themselves really well. At one point it was clear that their heads had dropped having conceded a third Try but they rallied and although couldn’t manage to break through the Eccles defence, still gave absolutely everything for their club colours.

A tally of ten Trys didn’t flatter the lads in Navy & White but to concede with the last play of the match came as a bitter disappointment to the lads who had defended so impressively throughout.

Another three valuable points collected – an absolute joy to watch.

Eccles Junior Colts’s Vital Statistics

Todays Eccles Squad

Starting XV

  1. Ellis Pearson
  2. Josh Green
  3. Dan Aspinal
  4. Max Riley
  5. James Fletcher
  6. Joe Rapinett
  7. Matty Lee
  8. Keiron Reed
  9. Nat Kelsey
  10. Matthew Walker
  11. Harry Candland
  12. Shea Skillicorn
  13. Jack Williams
  14. Rob Strickland
  15. Brad Palmer

Replacements

  1. David Smith – Started for Clitheroe

MIA 🤕

  1. Jordan Burns
  2. Ed Hampson
  3. Alex Hardman

AWOL 😣

  1. Albert Tonoyan
  2. Joe Borrett
  3. John Grundy
  4. Chris Gillard
  5. Josh Stafford

Scores on the Doors

Full Time 66 – 5

Eccles Try Scorers

  • Rob Strickland
  • Dan Aspinall x 4
  • Harry Candland x 2
  • Jack Williams
  • Brad Palmer
  • Keiron Reed

Eccles Conversions

  • Matthew Walker x 8 / 10

EMoM

Eccles Man of the Match was awarded by Clitheroe to Harry Candland who had fantastic impact on the game and final result with his fast, jinking runs from his own half, carrying the ball deep in to the Clitheroe half, bagging himself a brace of Trys to boot. All the players have aspects of their game that they need to work on and Harry is no exception with his poor performance in the Eccles Cake & pint (of lemonade) challenge.

Notable Mentions

David Smith put in a shift in Clitheroe colours during the first half however most of his work seemed to be in vain as Clitheroe failed to find him as he made good space for himself on multiple occasions. Switching to his more familiar Navy & White David dropped back in to his usual role at Prop and went on to have a great second half at the heart of all of Eccles good work.

Ellis Pearson and James Fletcher took up the mantle of representing Clitheroe during the second half. James and Ellis saw a good amount of the ball during their spell in the maroon hoops, making their usual fully committed runs at the Eccles Forwards. Many of these runs were brought to a halt by the magnificent combination of Jack Williams and Max Riley, neither of which missed a tackle the whole game.

Jack managed to get himself a well deserved Try and could have had another if he had managed to ground the ball in an earlier attempt. Jack’s attitude and application today was exactly what all the players, coaches and supporters love to see. A magnificent performance Jack which followed on from an equally impressive training session last Wednesday.

Josh Green missed this mornings weather report and dignity check as he turned up in a pair or his mums 40 denier tights.

Not forgetting Keiron Reed who had his Cinderella moment, only bringing one boot to the ball this morning.

Matthew Walker gave another first class exhibition of kicking today, finding the posts from pretty much everywhere in fairly awful  underfoot conditions. One miss and one off the upright prevented Matt from a full house of kicks.

Positives

The attitude of the lads today was excellent with hardly anyone being yellow carded for dissent!

Support play – possibly the best support play we have seen from the lads. Jack, Max and Joe all deserving a mention for their hard work

Eccles ran in Trys at will, playing fantastic rugby, quick, decisive passing through hands, fast to the Ruck and an unprecedented level of support play.

Fine 10 play and impeccable kicking from Matthew

Negatives

Less secure in the Line-Out than usual, a lack of concentration / communication cost Eccles good possession at the Line-Out on a couple of occasions

Discipline cost us 10 minutes of a numerical advantage as Ellis copped for a cheese slice. This didn’t really matter today but there will be games when such indiscipline could see us turn a wining position to a losing one. Referees are like women, they are always right even when they are clearly wrong – an understanding and acceptance of this make life a whole lot easier.

League Table

Next

No game next week so the lads can have a well earned rest before we host another team from East Lancashire, Burnley RFC who we had a convincing victory over at the start of December 17. The lads will be confident going in to this game but will still need to work hard because Burnley have had some close games since our win against them, losing to Colne by just a couple of Trys.

Junior Colts vs Winnington Park

Like a Phoenix from the ashes, Eccles Junior Colts rose from the disappointment of a poor performance last week to put in one of their finest of the season against possibly the most physical in League C in a tense and pulsating thriller. 

Both sides knew that nothing less than a win would suffice today in order to keep within touching distance of Wirral who had opened up a decent lead in the League. No quarter was asked and none given as the two teams played out a classic encounter in a game that was truly end to end.

Eccles opened up the scoring mid way through the first half following an amazing run down the left wing from Robert Strickland who broke from deep inside his own half. Rob broke left, evading the Winnington tackles, his pace took him to within ten metres of the Try line before he was bundled in to touch by the Winnington Full Back. From the resulting Winnington Line Out Joe Rapinett won yet another aerial battle, hooking the ball back to the waiting Dan Aspinall who collected the ball before making a bursting run through the defensive lines to score in the corner.

A fine kick from Matthew Walker drifted agonisingly wide of the upright but it was clear he had his kicking boots on today. Matthew staring in his usual Number Ten position found himself on the receiving end of a loose knee to the jaw which saw him replaced at Ten by Harry Candland. Matthew (of course) returned to the field and played out the game on the Wing. Ten was an ‘unlucky’ position today as Harry too was on the receiving end of a blow to an already troubled nose.

Winnington had the better of the early second half encounters and made the very best of this, running in two Try’s to take an unlikely 5 – 12 lead

Despite falling behind Eccles maintained their composure and continued to play their own brand of rugby. Their patience and indefatigable pressing eventually bore fruit as the Forwards took the ball in for what seemed like the millionth time, Joe Rapinett went to ground, supported by Matty Lee and Shea Skillicorn, the ball broke free, quick thinking Dan Aspinall was the first to react to the loose ball, picking it up and racing a good twenty five metres, eagerly pursued by the Winnington Backs, to score under the posts.

Matthew Walker stepped up to convert the kick which although in a fantastic position, carried a huge amount of pressure.

Coaches Kevin and Mark used the full extent of the Eccles squad, rotating players in order to try and keep as many fresh legs on the pitch as possible and also to rest one or two of the players who picked up slight knocks during the course of the match. Max Riley came on at Second Row and was immediately sat down as he found himself one on one with the Winnington big Number Eight. Max hung on and with the help of Brad Palmer prevented a clear break through the Eccles Midfield. Despite being riddled with Man-Flu, David Smith gave Coach Kevin options and saw half an hour of action as the hugely powerful Eccles Forwards were rotated – I could be wrong but I think that David played Hooker, Lock, Winger and goalkeeper today. Now then…..Jack Williams! What a performance from the bench today. Jack absolutely epitomised the character of an Eccles player today with his attitude, resilience and tiger like tackling. Coming on for a resurgent Robert Strickland, Jack showed pace going forward, tirelessly making himself available as a wide option as Eccles were on the attack and as any good Winger does, defending like a demon, often as the First line of defence for the Eccles Backs.  

As the full time whistle sounded there were very contrasting reactions from the two groups of players. Eccles looked disappointed as they knew how close they came to a victory today and given a few minutes more they would surely have scored again, such was the pressure they were putting a tired Winnington Park defence under. In variance to the Eccles reaction Winnington looked tired and relieved, they had come to Eccles with an anticipation that their physical style of play would overwhelm Eccles but this was not to be the case as Eccles were just too resilient for such a one dimensional approach.

Half Time 5 – 0

Full Time 12 – 12

Eccles Junior Colts’s Vital Statistics

Todays Eccles Squad

Starting XV

  1. Josh Green
  2. Dan Aspinall
  3. Albert Tonoyan
  4. Matty Lee
  5. James Fletcher
  6. Joe Rapinett
  7. Ed Hampson
  8. Keiron Reed
  9. Nat Kelsey
  10. Matthew Walker
  11. Harry Candland
  12. Shea Skillicorn
  13. Jordon Burns
  14. Rob Strickland
  15. Brad Palmer

Replacements

  1. Jack Williams
  2. Max Riley
  3. David Smith
  4. Will Toone

AWOL 😣

  1. Joe Borrett
  2. John Grundy
  3. Chris Gillard
  4. Josh Stafford

Eccles Try Scorers

Dan Aspinall x 2

Eccles Conversions

Matthew Walker x 1

EmOM

So many of the lads played well today, Matty Lee, James Fletcher and Nat Kelsey amongst many others all put is a tremendous shift for the team but it was Dan Aspinall who caught the eye of our opponents with his tenacious tackling, powerful running and a speed of thought that saw him score a brace of Trys.

Debutant

Well done to debutant and Danny Wilson lookalike, Will Toone who had an impressive first competitive game for the U17 Colts today. Starting on the bench Will initially came on at Prop for Albert before switching to Centre as cover for the injured Harry Candland. Will made an immediate impact for the Junior Colts with his strength, adaptability and intelligent runs, gaining valuable yards for the side.

Cheese and Wine

Eccles found themselves down to fourteen players on a couple of occasions today with the referee handing out cheese slices for offences he deemed as a high tackle and later for back chat. Both seemed vary harsh and put Eccles on the back foot at a time that they were dominating in all areas of the field.

Three bottles of Eccles finest Claret were opened today with Joe Rapinett, Matt Walker and Harry Candland all receiving a bang to the hooter at some point during the game – good luck washing that out Suds!

Jordan Burns saw his game come to a premature conclusion when he pulled up with tightness to his quad – Although familiar with an occasional premature conclusion, I have no idea what a tight quad is!

Eccles Cake Challenge

Dan Asplinall capped a fine performance on the field with a convincing victory in todays post match Eccles cake challenge, thus confirming that, if you can stop him talking etc…

Not to be outdone, Dry January ÜberJibber, Coach Kevin Walker smashed his Eccles cake challenge with a dipping technique which is sure to make an appearance at later challenges. Coach knows best, look & learn etc

Where its at!

Current League C standings following todays results

Next Sunday

Hopefully Jordan and the other injured lads will be fit for our visit next week to the Insular Peninsular as we visit Oxton Parkonians. This will be our first visit to Holm Lane but as long as the lads don’t suffer from the Wirral wobbles that occurred last time we headed out to CH43 we should be confident of getting a result against a side we have already beaten convincingly  66 – 17 at Gorton Street.

The Final Word

Indefatigable – I never thought I’d get to use it

Come on my Boys! ©️ Danielle Hackett 

Junior Colts Capitulate away at Wirral

Having beaten Wirral convincingly at Gorton Street prior to Christmas, Eccles ought to have gone in to this fixture with positive attitude however this was not to be the case. A first 25 minutes strewn with wholly uncharacteristic handling errors, dreadful decision making and a deaf ear towards the instructions of Coaches Kevin & Mark saw the lads 21 points down within the blink of an eye. The clear frustration of the Coaches could be seen by all and eventually the lads reacted in what was their only period of sustained play in the Wirral half.

Eccles continued to put pressure on a Wirral defence that seemed to struggle with the power and pace that Eccles have in abundance but brought to the game so infrequently.

A typically powerful drive from Josh Green saw him go over and the game was truly lit up from an Eccles perspective with two outspending breaks from Robert Strickland and Jordan Burns, both of which resulted in a Try each for the lads.

These glorious moments were just not enough to compensate for the lack of possession in key areas of the field and the many individual and team errors.

The lads, the team, the squad are so much better than this performance suggests. Time to pick ourselves up, put his one behind ourselves and make ready for Winnington Park

Full Time 38 – 22

Eccles Junior Colts’s Vital Statistics

Todays Eccles Squad

Starting XV

  1. Josh Green
  2. David Smith
  3. Dan Aspinall
  4. Matty Lee
  5. James Fletcher
  6. Joe Rapinett
  7. Ed Hampson
  8. Keiron Reed
  9. Matthew Walker
  10. Harry Candland
  11. Max Riley
  12. Shea Skillicorn
  13. Jordon Burns
  14. Rob Strickland
  15. Brad Palmer

Replacements

  1. Jack Williams

AWOL 😣

  1. Albert Tonoyan
  2. John Grundy
  3. Chris Gillard
  4. Josh Stafford
  5. Joe Borrett

MIA 🤕

  1. Alex Hardman
  2. Nat Kelsey

Scores on the Doors

Full Time 38 – 22

Eccles Scorers

Try’s

  1. Robert Strickland
  2. Jordan Burns
  3. Josh Green
  4. Shea Skillicorn

Conversions

  1. Matthew Walker x 1

EmOM

Congratulations to Keiron Reed on his Man of The Match award from the players and coaches of Wirral RUFC. Keiron took over the mantle of Eccles regular Number 8 at the end of last season following an injury to Alex Hardman. Keiron has pretty much made this position his own now, putting in a series of outstanding performances and picking up countless EMoM’s along the way.

A few of the lads were clearly suffering from the effects of the Christmas break; some were recovering from or showing signs of contracting one of the many bugs and viruses that have been going around but ultimately the result reflected the amount of possession that the two sides had.

Another big game this weekend as we host Winnington Park at Gorton Street in a must win fixture. Although Winnington came out on top in our previous meeting, Eccles are strong at home and won well against our visitors during the preliminary games.

Right thats it! I’m not even going to mention:

  • Half the team getting locked in the showers
  • Matthew Walkers Claret-Schnoz

Junior Colts vs Colne & Nelson

A wet and boggy Gorton Street welcomed some of our favourite visitors today in a fixture reversed due to the Colne & Nelson pitch resembling a scene from The Day After Tomorrow due to its location in large area of Westeros that lies North of the Wall.

Despite the torrid conditions at Eccles we were (almost) treated to a feast of fantastic rugby with both teams playing some of their best rugby so far this season. Eccles defended their territory like lions, Colne unable to break through, cleverly changed from their early tactic of carrying the ball in, to a kick and chase style on a number of occasions. But with each endeavour they found the Eccles defence well positioned and ready for the move. Brad Palmer in particular seemed to be alive to every attempt to break the Eccles lines.

As is becoming the norm the Eccles Line-Out was again dominant, securing possession from their own and stealing the ball from Colne when the opportunity arose 👀 👀 . Great work from James Fletcher and Josh Green in lifting Joe Rapinett who seems more and more assured at the top of the Line-Out. Even on the occasion when a loose Eccles throw seemed to hand possession to Colne, the Eccles lads managed to recover there composure and retrieve the ball.

At the start of the game it was clear that the underfoot conditions would be very challenging for the Pack. By the mid point of the second half it had been decided that the only way forward was to move to uncontested scrums. Both Packs were struggling to gather any kind of traction and the scrum itself was beginning to look like Captain van der Poel’s bag in Ice Cold In Alex as they sunk lower and lower in to the Eccles mud. The switch to an uncontested scrum helped to maintain the momentum of the game but I’m sure both Packs would argue that until this point, they were dominating the scrum.

The first half was fairly tight with Eccles having the better of Colne and deservedly leading by seven points at the half time whistle. The second half started with the introduction of four Eccles substitutes and it wasn’t long before they made an impact as Eccles extended their lead by a further seven points, giving the lads respite from the intense pressure of being just one converted Try ahead. A third Try wasn’t long in coming either and this seemed to finally take the wind out of the Colne players as their body language became suggestive of a team defeated

As always, Colne brought a great set of lads who gave 100% from kick-off to final whistle. They have had a really poor and uncharacteristic run of results so far in the Conference League but if they perform anything like they have done today in future fixtures they will surely move up the league before the end of the season.

Full Time Eccles 21 – 0 Colne & Nelson

Eccles Junior Colts’s Vital Statistics

Todays Eccles Squad

Starting XV

  1. Josh Green
  2. David Smith
  3. Dan Aspinall
  4. Matty Lee
  5. James Fletcher
  6. Joe Rapinett
  7. Ed Hampson
  8. Keiron Reed
  9. Nat Kelsey
  10. Matthew Walker
  11. Harry Candland
  12. Shea Skillicorn
  13. Jack Williams
  14. Rob Strickland
  15. Brad Palmer

Replacements

  1. Joe Borrett
  2. Max Riley
  3. Jordan Burns
  4. Daniel Delaney

AWOL 😣

  1. Albert Tonoyan
  2. John Grundy
  3. Chris Gillard
  4. Josh Stafford

MIA 🤕

  1. Alex Hardman

Scores on the Doors

Half Time 7 – 0

Full Time 21 – 0

Eccles Try Scorers

  • Dan Aspinall
  • Keiron Reed
  • Shea Skillicorn

Eccles Conversions

  • Matthew Walker x 3

EMoM

Despite his dad suggesting that he was moving at the pace of Ayres Rock, Eccles Man of the Match was awarded to Keiron Reed who, fresh from his trip down under to watch a bit of ‘run 6 in & hand it over’ rugby had an outstanding game at number 8. Well done Keiron & welcome back to our regular Number 8

Eccles awarded their EMoM to the Colne Number 9 who despite the loss, had an outspending game throughout. It was sad to see the Colne 10 retire early in the game as he is a bit of a talent and the game would have been better for his input.

Notable Mentions

Shea Skillicorn highlighted how cold it was today as he dashed about in his Christmas thong, leaving Danielle blushing and Iodine Mark looking through his medical bag for a corn-plaster.

Christ’le ran the line today – no idea what message he was semaphoring to everyone on the opposite side of the pitch

It seems that we never see a week pass without David Smith surprising us with a previously unseen bit of skill; last game we saw his outstanding chase and Tap-Tackle to prevent a certain Try; this week he showed off with a spectacular left footed kicked clearance from the Touch Line inside his own twenty two, in to touch around the half way line. Keep it up David!

Thanks to the players, coaches and parents of Colne RUFC for making the trip down to Gorton Street to ensure that the reversed fixture could go ahead.

Many thanks to the Eccles team of groundsmen (Eccles Under 16s) for preparing the pitch for the Junior Colts in their fixture against Sefton just prior to our game.

John ‘the suds’ will be busy until Christmas eve trying to get the mud out of that kit. I’m pitching it at six washes!

And while Suds is busying himself with the Acdo, Leeann will be trying to polish out a Gilbert imprint from the bonnet of her car

Sick List

  • Nat Kelsey suffered a bit of a dead leg
  • Matty Lee hurt his second favourite hand
  • Matthew Walker broke his nose

Get well soon lads

Good News / Bad News

Five pairs of shorts are unaccounted for – to be honest I reckon a couple of pairs of those shorts may have walked out themselves

I have found a pair of shorts! Only four pairs are missing now.

 

Party Bus cancelled “booooo”

Party bus to be rescheduled for early 2018 ‘hooray”

Quote of the day

Mattthew Walker – “Did you break my nose mate?”

Colne Player – “Yeah, early in the first half I think”

Matthew Walker – “Haha nice one mate”

Next Up

No fixture next weekend as the lads will be suppressing their excitement as they await the arrival of Santa. We have to wait until January 7th now (very special day in my house) for our next game which is a top of the table clash away to Wirral RUFC. Wirral have only been defeated once during this series of Conference games and that was here at Gorton Street. In that game Eccles came out  comfortably on top by 59 – 21 but since then Wirral have gone unbeaten. This will be a difficult game and a win is vital to our aspirations of winning this league.

And Finally

It has been a brilliant 2017 watching the lads mature in to Junior Colts and reporting on the games.  There have been lots of changes and challenges since this time last year including watching Coach James moon-walk away from the Junior Colts to concentrate his coaching with Eccles Ladies; the introduction to Kevin Walker’s Coaching staff of Billy Borrett and Mark Candland; the departure of players including Alex Thornton and the Wright Brothers. The lads have completed their GCSE’s, left school, gone to college, gained employment and have started on their journey into the world but importantly for Eccles RFC, as a team they stuck together like the sheets of a teenage lads bed. 2017 has been brilliant but 2018 could be magnificent for this group of lads.

Many thanks for all of your kind comments and support, heres to 2018.

Todays report has been sponsored by Aldi Merlot, £3.99 a bottle. I only drink it prior to report writing in order to keep my mind limber.

Dance yourself silly this Christmas guys (just click the pic and think of Shakin’ Stevens singing Christmas songs)

#NavyAndWhite

Junior Colts vs Burnley RUFC

Today’s match report would do well to be accompanied by the music from the Hovis Advert; stone houses and a great big hill welcomed our Under 17 Junior Colts as we travelled up th’M66 to Burnley RUFC. This was the first time that Eccles and Burnley have played one another and although Burnley had had a mixed start to the Conference league, Eccles knew that they had to be on their game to avoid dropping further behind early league leaders Winnington, Ormskirk and Wirral.

Eccles arrived with the bare minimum of 15 players, with our hosts only able to muster 14 lads as the game kicked off. Eccles numbers were bolstered as half time approached by the arrival of Joe Borrett and Chris Gillard fresh from a good win away at Bury RUFC with the Under 16’s.

The first half was a fairly one sided affair with Eccles dominating the play in all areas of the pitch, Burnley only getting within twenty metres of the Eccles Try line on a couple of occasions and never really posing a threat. The half concluded with Eccles ahead by in excess of fifty points.

So you’re over fifty points down and haven’t got near the Eccles Try line. How thrilled you must be to see Chris Gillard and Joe Borrett warming up on the sidelines.

At the start of the second half Coach Kevin did a bit of a reshuffle with Chris coming on in the Second Row and Ed Hampson ‘volunteering’ to swap sides and play for Burnley in order that we had even numbers. Not long in to the second half Joe Borrett was introduced as a replacement for David Smith who like Ed, played on for Burnley following an unfortunate injury in the scrum to a Burnley Front Row.

Ed and David both had excellent games firstly for Eccles and latterly for Burnley. However they both looked a little lost when the handbags came out following Davids tremendous tackle on the flying Jack Williams.

The second half action was very similar to that of the first with Eccles dominating the play from the first to the final whistle and running in a hatful of Trys again.

In fairness to Burnley they never allowed their heads to drop and Eccles had to earn every single point. The Burnley lads were physical and aggressive but couldn’t match Eccles for power, pace and rugby, with the Eccles Backs tremendous throughout, scoring almost freely at times. Many thanks to the players, coaches and parents of Burnley RUFC for their hospitality.

Full Time

Burnley RUFC 0 – 102 Eccles RFC

 

Eccles Junior Colts’s Vital Statistics

Todays Eccles Squad

Starting XV

  1. David Smith
  2. Josh Green
  3. Dan Aspinall
  4. Matty Lee
  5. Max Riley
  6. Joe Rapinett
  7. Ed Hampson
  8. Nat Kelsey
  9. Matthew Walker
  10. Harry Candland
  11. Shea Skillicorn
  12. Jordan Burns
  13. Jack Williams
  14. Rob Strickland
  15. Brad Palmer

Replacements

  1. Joe Borrett
  2. Chris Gillard

MIA 🤕

  1. Alex Hardman

AWOL 😣

  1. Albert Tonoyan
  2. James Fletcher
  3. Keiron Reed

Scores on the Doors

Full Time 0 – 102

Eccles Try Scorers

  • Harry Candland x 4
  • Rob Strickland x 2
  • Jordan Burns x 4
  • Matthew Walker x 2
  • Shea Skillicorn x 2
  • Chris Gillard x 1
  • Brad Palmer x 1

Eccles Conversions

  • Matthew Walker x 8

EMoM

Eccles Man of the Match was awarded to Brad Palmer who had another outstanding performance at Full Back despite wearing a huge strap-on

his ankle following an injury a fortnight back. Brad ran in a late try and also gave us a reminder of who has the most impressive collection of Vuitton’s amongst that Back’s.

I’m not sure who the Eccles lads voted for their man of the match.

Francois Pienaar’s in the wash

Notable Mentions

How many balls did we get through today? There must be half a dozen in the garden behind the posts.

Great beer and cheap and chips too!

Those concrete fence posts could do with some protection on them eh Rob?

Joey Eccles took his usual whack to the cherries again today but still managed to carry on his run before releasing the ball to Jack Williams. A second mashing of the spuds came during the post match Pie & Peas as Diesel jumped on Joes lap. I’m clearly not destined to be a Grandfather!

Well done to Ed Hampson who represented Burnley for the entirety of the second half and also to David Smith who did the same for most of the second half following an injury to one of the Burnley Forwards.

Tackle of the day and maybe of the season so far has to go down to David Smith who, while representing Burnley chased Jack Williams down the wing before launching an immaculately executed Tap Tackle bringing Jack down and preventing a certain Try

Interesting (in its broadest sense) fact of the day

Eccles didn’t have a single Line-Out today

Quote of the day

“He could of shaved his R’s”

State of the Nation

With just two games left in the first half of the Conference League Eccles are tied in third with Ormskirk just 2 points behind Winnington Park and Wirral

And theeen!

Next weekend sees Clitheroe RUFC make the trip from East Lancashire down to Gorton Street. We have played Clitheroe before and on that occasion Eccles came out on top. So far Clitheroe have suffered one of heavy defeat to Winninton Park in week one and another defeat to Ormskirk. However they have had a couple of good wins against Burnley and Oxton and held Colne to a draw this week. Clearly Clitheroe are an improving side and Eccles will need to be at their best to secure the points.

And theeeeen!

No match report next week as I am down in that there London town for a fancy do – pearly jacket, jellied eels and flat beer etc.

Good luck against Clitheroe RUFC

#NavyAndWhite

Junior Colts vs Oxton Parkonians

Fresh from a disappointing result last week the Eccles U17 Junior Colts were back to winning ways with a season defining performance against an Oxton Parkonians team who had won two from three of their previous fixtures in the Conference League. Eccles new that a good performance was necessary but more over a win today was vital.

Oxton arrived with just fourteen players and accepted the offer of a player from the Eccles squad which was bolstered by a number of players from the Under 16’s together with recent arrivals Josh Stafford and Jordan Burns

From an Eccles perspective both halves were fairly consistent and full of action with Eccles having the majority of the play running in six Trys in each half. Dominance in the Scrum, Line-Out, at the Ruck and at the Break-Down would see Eccles completely overpower Oxton for 90% of the match. However lapses in concentration in important parts of the field would see Oxton score three Trys of their own; not of huge importance in todays game given overall score line but in games that are more nip & tuck, these errors could and have proved very costly. Ormskirk!

Full Time 66 – 17

Many thanks to the players, parents and coaches of Oxton Parkonians RUFC for making the journey to M30 today, I’m sure they will want to overturn this result when we meet again in late January.

Eccles Junior Colts’s Vital Statistics

Todays Eccles Junior Colts Squad

Starting XV

  1. Josh Green
  2. Dan Aspinall
  3. Joe Borrett
  4. James Fletcher
  5. Chris Gillard
  6. Joe Rapinett
  7. Albert Tonoyan
  8. Matty Lee
  9. Nat Kelsey
  10. Matthew Walker
  11. Harry Candland
  12. Shea Skillicorn
  13. Jack Williams
  14. Rob Strickland
  15. Josh Stafford

Replacements

  1. David Smith
  2. Jordan Burns
  3. John Grundy

MIA 

  1. Max Riley
  2. Brad Palmer
  3. Ed Hampson
  4. Alex Hardman

AWOL

  1. Ellis Pearson
  2. Keiron Reed

Scores on the Doors

Half Time 33 – 12             Full Time 66 – 17

Eccles Try Scorers

  • Shea Skillicorn x 1
  • Jordan Burns x 1
  • Josh Stafford x 1
  • Chris Gillard x 3
  • Harry Candland x 1
  • Matthew Walker x 1
  • Joe Rapinett x 1
  • John Grundy x 1

Eccles Conversions

  • Matthew Walker x 8

EMoM

It must have been a tough one to call but Oxton nominated ‘that big ginger lad’ as the Eccles Man of the Match. So many players making outstanding contributions to todays game however it was Chris Gillard who picked up the honour today. An absolutely outstanding achievement, capped with a Hat-trick of Trys, well done Chris.

Dispatches

Very well done to John Grundy and Jack Williams for representing Oxton during the 1st & 2nd halves to ensure that although Oxton could only muster 14 players, we were able to play a full 15 v 15 for the whole game

It was great to see Brad Palmer at today’s game. Brad has been sidelined after sustaining a injury to his ankle during last weeks game

Jordan Burns made an impact with a debut Try; Josh Stafford maintained his impressive start at Eccles with a Try and John Grundy managed a second half Try despite playing the 1st half for our visitors.

Joe mentioned to me on the way home that Eccles is definitely better than any of the clubs we have visited so far this season, hot showers and good food seemed to be the key!

I managed to miss the whole of the second half as I had über-dad duties to perform, (hence the waffley nature of this report), but I am reliably informed that it was a bit of a performance from the lads.

For those of you that don’t know where Oxton is, it is just outside Birkenhead, home the urban poet Jegsy Dodd and the Sons of Harry Cross who’s work includes:

The Beer Bellied Bully Boys from Birkenhead

Liverpool, so good they named it once

Psycho Nazi Police Cadet in “wheres your muzzy” shock!

Too Good

Eccles were just too good today. An outstanding team performance that wasn’t short on brilliant individual performances too.

Unlike last week, the Eccles Line-Out was totally dominant today, both in possession and in defence. Accurate throwing from Dan Aspinall, clean lifting by James Fletcher & Josh Green and secure handling from Joe Rapinett gave Eccles the advantage at every Line-Out

Too Bad

Twice! Yes twice the ball managed to find its way to smashing Joey Eccles square in the grid

Next Up

Our next fixture will be our first visit (I think) to Burnley RUFC.Burnley have struggled so far in the Conference league having been defeated in their first three fixtures against Oxton, Ormskirk and Clitheroe, racking up just 21 points over these three games. However complacency and over confidence are certain to trip us up if we do not approach the game isn the same manner as we would against a more successful side. Additionally Burnley had their game postponed this week, their lads will be free and eager to perform.

#Navy&White