U13’s summer training.

Well, now the excitement of the World Cup has died (unlucky England!)……

It’s time for the U13’s to start their pre-season fitness training!

THIS SUNDAY, 15th JULY; 10.30am….. on the artificial grass.

Open to all …… including new players, parents and siblings!

No rugby kit needed (just yet!), just trainers, shorts and plenty of energy!

Separate changing facilities available.

Hope to see as many as possible down!

Paul

 

Eccles U13s summer training start date.

Next season’s under U13s will begin their summer training in preparation for the new campaign:

Sunday JULY 15th 2018

10.30am at the club.

Watch this space for further details nearer the date.

All welcome………. including new players to the game and the club!

Paul Fleming

Eccles RFC Junior Section Chairman and U13s Coach

 

Eccles U12s at the Southport Tournament 2018

Welcome to Southport ………!!

Well, WHAT a weekend that was!

We had all the preparations necessary for an end of season Tour: a near-full squad, a sound game plan, all the logistics in place, a great hotel happy and willing (we think!) to accept an excited group of Salford kids, a fantastic weather forecast, eager parents, nervous coaches …….. and a Tour monkey!!

Now, to the match reports!

Here’s the format and the teams entered:

Six teams playing each other twice over two days = 10 games, 7 mins each way, played 5th and 6th May. 

  • Eccles RFC.
  • Ramsey RFC (Isle of Man)
  • South Leicester RFC
  • Old Laurentians RFC ‘Warriors’ (Warwickshire)
  • Old Laurentians RFC ‘Gladiators’
  • Southport RFC

Rather than trying to report on each game, at which point I’m sure you’d be bored to tears!……….. The following match reports are from the most exciting and exhilarating games.

GAME 01:

Eccles 2 v Southport 3

We were first up against the hosts on a sun baked surfaced with a watching home crowd, which under ‘normal’ circumstances, would be an intimidating environment….. don’t forget these are 11 year old boys…… but, here’s where we differ! These boys are fearless! With a squad devoid of extra cover and fresh legs, we had 13 players against opponents with constant fresh legs!

The opening exchanges set the tone for an absolute toe-to-toe bout over two games which was a whole lot more appealing than the pay-per-view Bellew -v- Haye.

From the first whistle, Ollie sent a wonderful drop-out that landed on a postage stamp sized area for our flyers to threaten the receiver. James was first to the melee and hit it at pace closely followed by Evan and Lucas.

The Southport attack looked hungry and aggressive in the contact zone as the ball was presented neatly for their early surge into the Eccles half.

With Lucas and Heath forming a solid defensive unit in the centre, the Southport attack was halted as Matt came in low to steal possession for the first of many times over the series of games.

Joe hit the open side with his trademark hip shift before a neat pass to Fletcher on the right hand side. As Fletch looked for a gap to snake through, the Southport defender dipped low to upend Fletch, planting him from an unforgiving height, hard into the ground. It was clear that the home tactics were to take to an offensive game to pound the Eccles boys into submission.

The Eccles boys soaked up the onslaught before returning some of their own aggression into the attacks with some superb ball carrying.

Southport took an early lead before Matt burst through the gain line with a hand-off to leave his defender on his knees as the intensity rose with the noise levels of the watching home supporters ….which further galvanised the Eccles boys!! 1-1

The half time interval approached, ‘Port then took the lead following some good work out wide. 1-2

As the second period kicked off, Heath gathered the ball and crashed through a gap only he saw. With Joe and Lucas in support, Adam came on a fantastic line to blast into open space. It was only thanks to some clinical Southport defending that the scores weren’t even. From the restart, the home team secured the ball as they hit the gain line to set up an important score to stretch their lead. 1-3

Back came Eccles after a fantastic counter-drive from Ollie turned the ball over. Evan carried the ball hard into contact to set up a wonderful drive that had ‘Port retreating. From the back of the maul, Joe popped it to James who took it at a pace that was way too powerful to be stopped. 2-3

With the clock running down, the appetite from the Gorton Street boys was infectious as their supporters urged the boys on with a sense that they possessed the heart and desire, and more importantly, the intelligence to turn the game. However, with tournament games played in a shortened format, the clock was against the boys as the hosts ran out as winners ….narrowly.

This was a magnificent ‘curtain raiser’ that would prove be only a taster of what was in store in the following games.

Game 02:

Eccles 2 v 2 Southport

In a rather strange victim of circumstances, the next game for the boys was against the same opponents! However, it was the Gorton street boys whose desire for the re-match would very nearly give them the victory they so deserved. The passion and intensity they showed was a real benchmark that resulted in some complimentary comments from the hosts’ coaching team that their boys had not been pressed so hard in a long time!

From the moment Ollie hoisted the ball high once more, the charge up field from Eccles was a flavour of what would be in store.

Again Matt slammed his opposite number down with a magnificent tackle that was followed up by some aggressive rucking to clear out the ‘Port defenders. Joe gathered the ball and shipped it to Lucas who straightened the attack before putting Fletcher away on the left. As he stepped back inside, he was met with a less than legal attempt at a tackle that saw him prostrate on the ground resulting in the ‘Port defender being sent from the field.

The Eccles boys could taste the fight now!

A loose ball in contact was claimed by the Southport prop who set up the ruck from which came the opening score ….against the run of play.

From the restart, Evan once again took a catch to ‘turn and set’ despite some ‘close attention’ from the opposition! The ball was fed back to Ollie who linked with Heath and Carter who showed some lovely hands to pop it back to Heath. With a strong leg drive, Heath powered by adrenalin, surged deep into the ‘Port half of the field. With still some work to do, Heath showed his determination to get his team mates on the score board 1-1

Eccles were elected to kick off which worked to their advantage as Southport were showing the early signs of battle tiredness. The follow-up on the kick off applied some great pressure on the Southport receiver and the loose ball was claimed by James who managed to remain on his feet long enough for his support to reach him. Max, back on the filed after some treatment, drove hard with Finn in assistance. The ball was put on a plate for Joe who spun it out to the right for Ollie. With the line coming closer, Ollie pulled in the ‘Port defence to time his pass to perfection to Lewis. With his coaches words still ringing soundly in his ears, he gripped the ball tightly as if his life depended on it as he knew the contact was coming. He angled his body perfectly to score a vitally important try amidst some ecstatic celebrations from the Eccles supporters (ok, and the coaches, Sorry!!) 2-1 Eccles.

Then the turn in the game: With Eccles in the ascendancy, a Southport attack was defended hard on the halfway line with Ollie, Heath and Lucas all in attendance.

The referee then spotted an infringement he deemed punishable with a period of rest, much to Lucas’ confusion. But, such is the professional attitude shown by the Captain and despite the intensity of the game, Lucas never questioned the decision. Remarkable and a real example to others which sets him apart as a Captain.

This now meant no replacements for the Eccles boys who were now involved in a real rugby fight of epic proportions…….. just what this wonderful game is all about!

Southport then launched an attack just beyond the halfway line. They were chasing the game now and were struggling to get any momentum as they tired as Eccles constantly met them with powerful defending. A Southport attack was then held up and as the referee called the first drive ‘once’ it was obvious the maul was going to be held on the shout of ‘twice.’

Somehow, the decision was made before the second shout, and, just as Matt ripped the ball back for Eccles with seconds to go, a scrum to Southport was called. A clean hook saw the ball swept right and a last attempt at a match saving tackle wasn’t enough to stop the speedy winger scoring in the corner. Cue wild celebrations from one team and despair form the other. 2-2 final score.

Day One

  • Played 05
  • Won 01
  • Drawn 01
  • Lost 03

Comments:

This [Southport game] was probably the hardest contest these boys have ever been involved in! Both sets of players were absolutely out on their feet as their next games, respectively, showed just how much they had given.

The feeling of commitment and desire and passion was evident and everybody should be rightly proud of what this set of boys did out there. Eccles never lost focus on the job they had to do, and with no fresh legs at their disposal, their task was all the more harder. They thundered into contact, played intelligently with ball in hand, never took a backward step and remained cool under pressure yet aggressive in the contact zone.

Both teams gave it everything!

To come third in the competition after two days of rugby was an absolute compliment to the boys……. well done!

Eccles Squad: 

Heath, Ollie, Finn, Lucas, Matt, Max, Lewis, Fletcher, James, Evan, Joe, Adam, Shayne, Carter, (and Liam).            

  • Lucas: played himself to standstill till he could play no more… and a more complete Captain you couldn’t wish to have in the team. Awesome in the tackle.
  • Ollie: Our Full back with a love of tackling and sticky hands under the high ball and good for the occasional important try….. as he did in his tournament!
  • Heath: A real gem in our midst with a natural charm yet an ability to demolish opponents with his powerful runs and vision for the try line! Scorer of the all important opening try in the second test game v Southport.
  • Evan: A true second row in the making and finished his tournament with a smart black eye (one for the girls he tells me!).
  • Max: A powerful prop with a great pass who always requires at least two opponents to bring him down.
  • Matt: Had a wonderful tour and arguably, player of tour. Scored some vital tries as well as stopping a number of heavy attacks.
  • Finn: Unsung hero as our hooker. Methodically and clinically hooked clean ball time and again, and never complained despite playing in one of the hardest positions on the field (for all you backs!).
  • Joe: Live-wire scrum half always capable of scoring that match winning try and then providing the vital pass to put a team mate in.
  • Adam: Electricity in his boots and constantly kept his teams spirits high. Scored some great tries on tour.
  • Fletcher: Another flier and good for a certain try with open grass in front of him and….. a try scorer on Tour!
  • Carter: At last found his soft hands in the pass with some wonderfully timed short passes at that vital moment. Also incredibly powerful in the tackle.
  • Shayne: Made such an important contribution on Day 2 of tournament with two (TWO!) CHARGE DOWNS on his opponents try line …….. from a prop! Again, another power house in the ruck.
  • Lewis: New to the game this season and scored a wonderful try in the most physical game the boys have ever played against Southport! Well done!
  • James: A capture from rugby league and steadily becoming a solid important player in the Eccles tight 5. His work at the ruck in the Tour games was vital and thoroughly deserved his Tour scores!

Day Two

With another five games on the Sunday and some tired aching bodies, the coaches would have been content with a single win on the day….. however, they once again stepped forward and proved just what a unit they have become.

  • Played 5
  • Won 03
  • Drawn 01
  • Lost 01

The one game conceded on Sunday was against the Tournament winners Ramsey, so no shame here!

Closing Comments:

This was a real roller coaster for the nerves and as the games finally wrapped up on the Sunday afternoon, it was important that parents, players, coaches and staff took part in understanding and appreciating just how far the team has come and how they finally proved they CAN play for each other and compete with some real good quality opponents.

Each and every player stood up and took their game to the opposition. They found their inner belief built on hard work, concentration and a determination that they would NOT be a pushover.

Indeed, if it hadn’t have been for the epic toe-to-toe ‘series’ with Southport, (and this applied to both teams I have to say) it may well have been an Eccles v Southport final. The shear physicality shown by both teams left them out on their feet.

I cant, and won’t, nominate a player of Tournament as this will be an award bestowed by the majority come awards night in June! But to finish this off, each player knew they had played to their best of their ability……….. and that’s all we ask!

Well done boys. Proud of you all!!

That’s it this season. We will be reconvening earlier this year to begin fitness training in preparation for playing on the big pitch next season.

The ‘Tour Report’ will be posted at a later date.

Thank you to……..

Paula without whom the Tour would not have happened and for making sure we are compliant with all the relevant rules, laws, addendums etc etc… as well as the fund raising….. a real star!

Andy for the whistle all season! If you’ve never refereed a game, you have no idea how hard it is! Thanks Andy.

Mark: For all his wisdom and energy with the backs and the team as a whole.

Big Dave: We all know Dave! A tremendous assistant in everything we do and another reason the team goes from strength to strength.

Vicky: Our regular statistician and source of info for the match reports so I don’t embellish everything!! Also a big thanks for the half time oranges giving the boys that additional boost!!

Liam: Absolute No: 01 supporter!

Lastly: All you parents……. it does not, and will not, happen without your help, support and understanding! Brilliant……. all of you!     

U12s at the Southport Tournament!

Five games starting with a back to back against the hosts.

First game played in a ferocious manner saw Eccles go down 4-1

Second game; boys absolutely took it to Southport after finding some inner belief to have their opponents defending their line.

With Eccles in front 2-1 and the last seconds on the clock, the boys conceded a scrum out wide. Southport hit the blind side channel to squeeze in the corner for a 2-2 draw……. cue wild celebrations  and contrasting dispair!

Three more games v

South Leicester (L 4-0)

Ramsay (Isle of man) (L 0-3)

Old Gladiators (Warwickshire) (W 4-1)

MORE GAMES TODAY !!!

Under 12’s ….. Eccles 10 – 3 Bolton

Sunday 18th Feb:

Well….. from possibly the worst performance in this fixture at the start of the season… came the best performance so far last Sunday!

With the game plan programmed into the boys at Wednesdays training session, it remained to be seen just how much had sunk in and how effective it would prove against a physically strong and well organised Bolton team.

The early exchanges saw Eccles take advantage as they looked to move the ball across a firm and welcoming surface that would suit the Gorton street boys’ style of play. The early pressure from the forwards swept the ball out to the right hand wing to set up the first meaningful ruck. Joe planted his feet at the base ready to feed Lucas on his left. When Heath is on your shoulder, you always have options to either off-load or go for the gap as he draws the opposition defence. This time Lucas chose to ship the ball to his centre partner who hit it with such pace, there was no danger as long as he hit the angle cleanly. 1-0 Eccles.

Back came Bolton as Eccles momentarily lapsed in concentration to allow their big runners the slightest of gaps to surge through. The attempted tackle on the big lad was always likely to be weak when trying to stop a player like this anywhere above the waist line! Lesson learnt 1-1

Eccles knew from this point that accurate passing and ball retention would be the only way of securing a win. Alfie made a mockery of his slight frame time and again proving it really isn’t size that matters, but skill and smart thinking. Time and again he was surrounded by red shirts but never lost possession and constantly returned the ball for his team mates. Ollie was in magnificent form and pulled off one of the tackles of the day against the big rangy centre who found himself out wide with just Ollie to beat for a clear rum to the line. Once again, Ollie dropped his body position at the right moment as he dispatched the attacker under the noses of the watching Eccles supporters. The lift this gave the team was instant! Matthew was in outstanding form and never panicked on the ball, always setting a platform for Joe to hit his flankers and turning cleverly on his feet to simply present the ball for his supporting player. Evan occupied a smart channel close to his winger… and when that winger is Adam, you always want to slip the ball to him and watch the afterburners ignite!

It was another fine strong running line from Heath after some good ball retention from Shayne, that gave Eccles the next try. 2-1

Again, Bolton retaliated with another barging surge up the middle, and again, although a better attempt at a tackle…… there was no stopping the lad as he crashed over the line 2-2

Ollie looked to hoist the ball high from the restart as Adam and Lewis came off their wings to put pressure on the Bolton ball catcher. With Lucas on the wingers’ heels, there was always a chance of possession. The ball was knocked forward as Lucas picked up the bounce. By now Finn had hit the maul with a great body angle as Joe  again found Heath. With some way still to go, Heath shifted his shoulders before exploding through the defensive tackler. A fine try and possibly his best of the day! 3-2 and an early hat trick for Heath before half time.

By now the Eccles boys understood why they did the physical session at Wednesdays training as their game fell into place. The handling from the all the boys was a pleasure to watch. the middle of the park was secure and this gave Joe a perfect springboard to launch from. Bolton came again but this time, Jake scooped up the ball before setting the ruck for Matt to link with Heath. As Joe sprinted to support him, Heath popped the ball for Joe to take a looping line to score 4-2 Eccles.

Jack came into the action……. this was the one the watching crowd wanted to see as Jack, playing against his home town side, looked to show them his repertoire of skills! His first job was a double tag with Lucas to stop a potential strong attack from Bolton. Form the resulting scrum, Eccles moved the ball wide towards Alfie. Once again he kept possession wonderfully as Shayne took the pass from Joe. This was to be a real important score as it just put the breathing space between the teams leading to half time. 5-3 Eccles.

  • Half Time:

The second period saw Heath off the field, but the centre partnership was cemented as Jack slotted along side Lucas. As Ollie launched another counter attack inside the Bolton half, it was Captain Lucas who bagged a well deserved try to stretch the score board further 6-3 Eccles.

Fletcher was on the field to add his pace up the flanks and was always likely to see plenty of ball the way the boys were playing.

The next score was perhaps the sweetest of the day: Jack took a great pass from Matt who was having a tremendous day on the ball. With two defenders still to beat, Jack had a glint in his eye as he just knew contact was coming! With shoulders dipped low and a centre of gravity impossible to stop, Jack smashed over the line to loud applause 7-3 Eccles.

With the game ‘in the bag’ and conditions perfect, Eccles (for once) knew they had secured a real gem of a win against a strong opposition who were stretched on the day.

The score finished 10-3 Eccles, but it was the manner and the application that the boys displayed to secure this win that was impressive. They knew 100% concentration would only suffice, and they very nearly slipped up in the opening exchanges, but realised they had a game to stick to as well as the confidence to move the ball and trust themselves! Wonderful performance from all the boys who maintained concentration, composure and dignity. Well done!

  • Coaches Comments:

I think its all been said in the boys’ performance on the day. Each one of them backed each other …. and themselves. The game really was in the balance briefly, but they knew what to do and HOW to do it, more importantly. A mention must go to Andy our Ref on the day. Once more, too much from too many on the side lines as everyone on ONE side of the field had a ‘difference of opinion’ and as always, such views will never change a referees mind! Lesson to all!

Thanks to Vicky for the match stats and oranges at half time! ….the finer details always complete the bigger picture.

  • Eccles Squad:

Lucas (Capt), Heath, Ollie, Evan, Shayne, Taz, Finn, Lewis, Adam, Alfie, Jack, Joe, Fletcher, Matt       

 

Under 12s: Lymm 4 – 3 Eccles

The U12s were met with near perfect conditions in the sleepy suburbs of Lymm…. until we were moved over onto the adjacent pitch which resembled a Flanders muddy field!

Not to worry as the coaches explained, both teams have to play on the same surface!

So, at last we had a game of rugby ….. and what a decent game! Both teams looked to move the ball from the first whistle as the forwards not only secured decent ruck ball, they also exploited the rare opportunity to ‘pick and go’ from the base of the contact area, thanks to the Lymm referee asserting a tactic to encourage both teams to play attacking rugby.

With Captain Lucas electing to kick, it was Eccles who applied the initial early pressure as Jack and Lucas himself chased Ollie’s kick off which hung beautifully in the air; remarkable given the stodgy surface he had to lift the ball from!

Lymms’ defence held strong though as they realised they had to think quickly to mount any serious early attacks.

Joe had some varied options from scrum half with Shayne and Max hitting the gain line well. It was James though who took the challenge deep into the heart of the Lymm defence with some magnificent and effective carries.

Finn occupied his favoured role of hooker and once more showed how his rucking game is developing. Lewis and Johnny looked to cover the only patches of grass out on the flanks as they awaited the ball be shuffled wide.

It was Lymm however who took the first points of the day after a moments hesitation in the Eccles defence saw an attack seep through the gap. 1-0 Lymm.

From the restart Eccles knew they had to raise the intensity otherwise it could have been a long day ahead!

Jack took a great pass from Lucas and burst through to evade the tackle. As he hit the contact, Evan, Shayne and Matt cleaned out for Joe to scoop the ball and shuffle it left.

As the ball found Johnny, he broke the gain line only to suffer a heavy knock that saw him taken from the mud bath. On came Adam to add his fizz on the wing!

Lymm took the next score to make it 2-0 but this only spurned the boys into some tremendous tackling and counter-rucking.

Ollie put in a great tackle as the Lymm winger looked for an odds-on try down the right. He did everything right into the contact and stopped the attack instantly.

The ball then popped up for Lucas to hit Matt with a fine flat pass. Still with some work to do, Matt changed the ball for one hand to the other as he handed off the defender before creating the gap to pull a score back for Eccles. 2-1

Once more from the re-start, the ball was sent high again by Ollie as Adam sprinted up to collect on the bounce! (you see now why we insist on pressuring the re-starts!) With the pack securing the pill for Joe, he shipped it left for Max to carry it up. As the Lymm defence floundered a little, it was Adam who took possession again to sweep away for a well deserved score. The boys were in the ascendance now and looking to stretch into a lead. With the halftime break looming, the commitment into attack again created a gap in the Eccles defence for Lymm to exploit. 3-2

A real good first half carried over into the second period and the half-time changes didn’t disrupt the game plan for Eccles. Cameron came on for Evan and Carter slotted into the mid-field along side Jack to create a solid partnership. ‘Taz’ came in for Finn who had a superb first half game.

Wit the score board so finely balanced, both teams upped their game as Eccles clawed away through some great drives into the Lymm defence. Shayne was so unlucky not to reap the rewards of a strong driving maul as he was held up just short of the line. The mistakes were always going to be punished and the Eccles boys showed very few. Ollie hit the gain line to try and get his team on the front foot; Lewis took a great catch from a high ball to set up another Eccles attack; Jake started all fired-up with some superb body angles in the rucks; Max carried hard and Matthew was constantly threatening; Cameron got his hands on the ball a number of times to secure possession.

It was a lapse in concentration though the gifted Lymm their next score.

With the attack moving wide, the Eccles defence looked to push the Lymm threat out towards touch. The winger still had a some work to do in the heavy conditions and he was rewarded with a neatly taken try right in the corner to make it 4-3 Lymm.

From the restart, again Eccles applied some heavy pressure. James, having his best game in an Eccles shirt, drove hard and presented the ball for Joe who found Lucas. With Jack on his shoulder, Lucas gave a short delivery as Jack plundered up-field.

The try line was coming nearer and nearer and the watching parents and spectators  (including an Eccles 1st team prop as well as an ex-Lancashire Capt) urged Jack forwards. The ball then came back in-field as Matt latched onto it. He just couldn’t get through the space as the closing minutes saw a tense finale deep in the Lymm half.

It wasn’t to be however, and on the final whistle, the jubilation and despair from both teams told the story!

A great game with total commitment and I’m sure both teams would relish the opportunity to take each other on again on a more accommodating playing surface!

Well done to all!

  • Thanks to Vicky for the match stats and oranges at half time.
  • Thanks to Neil from Lymm for the match day invitation.

Coaches Comments: A real toe-to-toe between a couple of heavy weights given the conditions under foot! Both teams tried to play open rugby and the score line reflected this in the end. With a little more concentration on the ‘game’ these boys will turn tight contests in their favour as they are learning that results are starting to be dictated by single errors or lapses in concentration. Their ability is unquestioned. We just need to remain focused on being sharper at the right times….. this will come! Proud of them!

  • Comedy moment of the day: The pitch! Joe having spent 30 minutes in the showers only to come out, though washed, wearing the soiled kit he’d played in!
  • Naughty step: ‘Taz’ with his desire to pirouette whilst holding onto an opponents shirt collar!! oops!

 

  • Eccles’ Squad:

Lucas (Capt), Ollie, Finn, Carter, Matthew, Max, Cameron, Jake, Lewis, Evan, Joe, Jack, Shayne, James, Johnny

TRAINING THIS WEDNESDAY 07th Feb; 6.30pm …….. all welcome including players new to the game!    

 

Eccles u12’s 7 – 1 Ormskirk u12’s

Back to business for the under 12s on Sunday against a promising Ormskirk team that showed they weren’t prepared to travel to Gorton St to come second!

The weather was perfect and the ground nice and soggy: just what’s needed to have a good game of rugby!

The question was however: Could the boys follow on from last weeks great performance away at Lymm? Well, after a bit of a reshuffle with selection it was Ormskirk who made an early impression on the scoreboard, and there was an ever so slight feeling of: ‘oh no, here we go again…. we make a late start and have to chase the game.’  0-1 Ormskirk

But, that’s where these boys have shown how much they’re developing as a team.

Captain Lucas took a pass from Joe at the restart as the boys set off on their first meaningful attack ‘down hill,’ with Heath just on his shoulder it was ominous as Ormskirk were forced to turn and defend. The emphasis this season is moving the ball and allowing IT to do the work. The early link-up play amongst the backs was looking good as Heath powerfully cut through a gap after brushing off a tackle. With a fair distance still to cover, his support runners were still catching him as he headed towards the try line. On this occasion they were not to be needed as Heath bagged his first of the day. 1-1

It was now the turn of the pack to show how they’re progressing: with James once again starting in the second row with Evan, Matthew linked form midfield with a fine flat pass to Evan. As the Ormskirk defence scrambled, Evan set up the ruck as Max, (pack leader), Taz and Matthew secured the ball for Joe at the base of the ruck.

James took a clever angle to avoid the tackler and claim his first try in an Eccles shirt! Well done! 2-1 Eccles.

From the restart, the Eccles boys pressed their advantage of playing down hill as Lucas charged down an attempted clearance deep inside Ormskirk’s half. He was rewarded for his endeavours and bravery as the ball deflected in his favour, Lucas managed to collect and finish for a well deserved score. 3-1 Eccles.

Heath suffered a nasty looking injury to the ribs as Jack came on to replace him. The swap was seamless as Jack soon got his hands on the ball after Max drove hard and straight, Joe once again looked for his runners. This time Shayne put the hard yards in as Adam then looked for possession. In an alternative role for Adam at full back, he took a smart angle before doing what he does best: sprint for the line with a defender or two in his wake! He was held up just short of the line but again, thanks to some great ball retention from the forwards, Joe again found space in the middle to dart over for a clean try. 4-1 Eccles

More changes came as Evan was replaced by Ollie, and Lewis and Alfie came onto the wings for Fletcher and Johnnie. Their eagerness was soon being rewarded as the ball handling from all the boys was appreciated by those watching. Again, Matthew (having moved into the second row) was pivotal with a fine pass to find Lucas. With Coz and Taz adding to the numbers at the breakdown, the ball came out cleanly again for Joe to find Adam. This time he wasn’t going to be held short of the line as he made sure the half time score provided a good lead to build on. 5-1 Eccles  

 

The second period saw a rejuvenated Ormskirk side as they also introduced fresh legs. From the restart, Eccles (now playing up-hill!) knew they had to lift their work rate, regardless of the score line. Finn came on in the hookers role and Cameron came on for Shayne at tight head prop to use up the Eccles bench.

For the first five minutes however, it was Eccles having to do the defending. Lucas, in outstanding form, put in a wonderful clean tackle to halt an Ormskirk attack. As the ball was fed back to their supporting player, the Eccles forwards set up a defensive drive in scrum formation….for an ex-second rower, it was wonderful to witness and had me and Dr Dave purring! It was made all the sweeter to see backs joining as well with correct body angles, the drive returned the Ormskirk player to his starting point.

Johnnie enjoyed a great run down his wing to set a platform from which Joe could launch his strike runners. Jack hit the gap supported by Lewis as Joe chased his own pass to take possession before straightening his run towards the line. 6-1 Eccles.

With still some 10 minutes or so to be played, the boys were finally enjoying a chance to play some open rugby. Cameron got his hands on the ball and carried into attack. Ollie and Adam constantly and cleverly switched between full back and centre to keep options of attack open. Taz and Finn swapped hooking duties to  great effect and Matthew was a constant threat with the ball in hand. Fletcher put in a powerful run up the wing but his boot just crossed the touch line! Shayne came back on for Max, who had also had a cracking game, and once more put in some real effective surges into contact as well as tackling like the scores were level!

James rounded off a perfect day for himself to claim his second to leave the final scores 7-1 Eccles.

  • Coaches comments:

This was the performance the boys have been threatening for some time now! It was fantastic to see ALL the boys playing like this! They are beginning to gel as a group of young lads who can and WILL play for each other. This was proved on the side lines where the replacements stood urging their team mates on and eager to get involved. This is the spirit complimented with the attitude that will carry them through their development. The ball handling was wonderful as they finally showed some self belief. The tackling was immense and was verging on the offensive as they knew they would get possession back. To single out any individual on the day wouldn’t be fair but, Lucas led from the front as the Captain and the others all followed him, committed and without hesitation…. There was boys playing in different positions and boys who normally start the games, but this week were on the bench, yet nobody groaned!  well done to all of them!

  • Eccles Squad: Lucas (Capt), Matthew, Ollie, Heath, Jack, Johnnie, Alfie, Jake, Evan, Max, Lewis, James, Finn, Adam, Joe, Shayne, Cameron, Fletcher.

Big thanks to Referee Andy who kept the game moving.

Thanks to Vicky for the match stats and half time oranges.

Thanks to Paula who organised the bag packing on Saturday (its a logistical nightmare!)

  • Training this Wednesday 29th Nov 6.30pm. All welcome including new starters!  

 

Closely won contest for the U12s…… at last!!

Eccles 2- 1 Heaton Moor

Well, this was a contest that tested everything, and everyone!

We made the journey under the railway bridge to the wild side of the Patricroft railway to take on a strong Heaton Moor side, who only made the trip down to Eccles a matter of weeks previously.

It was a drawn game on that day, so the tone was set for another tight bout.

With a few of our rugby league lads back to bolster the squad, a strong wind wasn’t going to prevent either team from having a real go at each other.

From referee Clark’s first whistle, it was ‘Moor who attacked first to signal their intentions. It was then Shayne who took the ball into contact to set up the first ruck which was so vital. Max hit it cleanly with Evan to lay down the first marker between the packs. With Matt in a different role at scrum half, the ball was fed out with the conviction the coaches had asked for. Lewis came on briefly, but a bad ankle from an earlier injury saw him pull-up in pain.

Heath took possession as the Eccles boys looked to launch an early meaningful attack.

However, it was the ‘Moor defence that held tight to repel the threat.

They counter-rucked well enough to retake possession and turn defence into attack.

This would be the pattern of play for the first half as both teams looked for an all-important break and some open ground which to attack.

Jack carried well into contact, but it was his wrestling skills that proved so important as time and again he latched onto the ball being carried by the attacker, wrapped his arms around the pill and ripped possession back for his team mates.

Ollie sensed the difference in the game from the last few outings, as he realised he could play a lot flatter and ‘come onto the ball’ to create the additional attacking option from his fullbacks berth.

Finn started the game in his favoured role of hooker and continually secured the ball at scrum time, with the help of Cameron and Max who propped him up. Jake, relishing his role as our additional hooker, was always a thorn in ‘Moor’s side.

Matt had a wonderful contest with his opposite number at scrum half.

Carter complimented the tight five as they finally got their game on song and played rugby on the front-foot.

James offered more attacking options down the right wing as Alfie, carrying on his fine recent form, took up the other wing.

From a rare ball in touch, Eccles quickly hit the centre field with Lucas who cut a wonderful angle before a deft pass to Heath. Jack continued the attacking wave as Matthew collected a pass from him to break the ‘Moor line for the first and only score of the first half.

Half time: Eccles 1- 0 Heaton Moor

Would the second period promise to offer as much as the first….. no, more than the first half! After a few minutes of both teams banging at each others door, the boys put their bodies constantly on the line, as first Shayne took a heavy knock below his eye, then Scott (after deciding he wanted some of the action!) retired early with a nasty hand injury.

Ollie put a fine tackle in to stop a ‘Moor attack, then Jack with arguably the best tackle of the day, stopped a certain ‘Moor try with his wrestle style tactic in snatching the ball and setting up a ruck for Max and Evan to clear out close to the Eccles line.

Matt swept the ball right to Lucas as Jack came back into play to feed James who just about managed to find the strength to stay on his feet in contact.

‘Moor were back-pedalling, and the Eccles boys had to take full advantage. Heath again got involved before Jack, pulled the defence left before slipping the ball to Ollie. Max hit the contact with some aggression in support.

Ollie still had a bit of work to do, but playing up hill, he took the wider channel with a hand-off to make the space to finish unchallenged. 2-0 Eccles.

From the re-start, Eccles took possession, but as Ollie once more hit the gain line in attack, the void he left at full-back didn’t get covered as the ‘Moor winger spotted ‘no-one at home’ to set off down the left wing.

With a straight foot race, the speedy lad was never going to be caught as ‘Moor deservedly pulled one back.

Ohh how the tension increased!

It was all to play for into the closing minutes. The boys were still giving their all as the  casualties in Dr Dave’s sick bay grew quicker than he could tend to them!

This was the game the boys had been threatening to put in for a few weeks now, and it was a real game for the purists!

Both teams gave everything and a big well done to ‘Moor for the challenge.

Final score: Eccles 2 -1 Heaton Moor

Coaches Comments:

This was a display the boys were capable of providing! The balance was just right and the effort was immense as they found their self belief that they are good enough to win games by playing simple but effective rugby.

The fitness session must have worked for them on Weds night! Well done to all of them! They were black and blue and they knew they’d all had a marvellous game on the day!

Some big games ahead this season!

No training this weds 25th Oct & a weekend off next Sunday 29th… we have too many boys away!

Thanks to Andy on the whistle: Vicky for the stats: and Dan from ‘Moor for a great game!

Eccles Squad: Lucas (Capt), Ollie, Finn, Carter, Cameron, Jake, Alfie, Heath, Lewis, James, Matt, Evan, Shayne, Scott (eventually!), Max, Jack, (& Liam)

Eccles U12s -v- Preston Grass Hoppers/Wythenshawe

The U12s took on another round-robin fixture at the weekend in an effort to reverse recent back-to-back defeats. So it was thanks to Leeann, our wonderful fixtures secretary, that two teams sent respectable numbers along to Gorton Street.

First up were Preston GH.

The boys have encountered some real good, hard games down the last few seasons against Hoppers, so it was an opportunity to test themselves against a quality opposition.

With near perfect conditions for rugby, Eccles kicked off, although just managing to field a full team after late selection difficulties, their intention was laid clear from Referee Clarkes’ first whistle as Lewis and Scott chased the KO to apply some early pressure. As the Hoppers centre caught the ball he had one eye on the rushing attackers and didn’t quite take possession cleanly. Lucas snapped up the loose ball and was supported into the contact by Evan.

With Matt playing in an unusual role of scrum half, he directed a lovely pass to Heath who, against his old club, wasn’t about to waste his moment of glory! Still with a lot to do before reaching the try line, Heath took a great angle to shift the Hoppers defence sideways and then use his power to breach the tackles before finishing cleanly! 1-0 Eccles.

The second try came after shortly after, following some good ball carrying by Shayne. A good set-up at the ruck saw Matt involved again as he slipped the ball to Adam just on the halfway mark. Adam set off up the right hand wing to blister his way past the defender for a well taken score.

As halftime loomed, Hoppers rallied to put in some good aggressive attacks down the middle to force Eccles onto their back-foot. A restart following a Hoppers foot in touch, was taken quickly deep in the Eccles half as Evan, in fine form, crashed the ball up for Maxwell to support him at the breakdown. This time Matt took the ball from Ollie to finish as the whistle sounded the halftime interlude.

Halftime:  3 – 0  Eccles.

Jake came on to replace Finn at hooker as the second half kicked off. The game plan now revolved around getting the ball wide, and quickly, to get the wingers involved. Scott was on form although a little frustrated at not getting the service he desired out wide. Lewis constantly looked to get involved and saw some good ball retention which would see him on the score sheet eventually. It was Max who stepped up next with his trademark bulldoze to the line from a break down close to the Hoppers try line.

Taz put in a tremendous tackle to stop a promising Hoppers attack to dislodge the ball that turned defence into attack. Lucas, also in great form, scooped up the ball to move it laterally to Ollie. As Ollie stood up in the tackle, he just managed to ship it to Heath who set off from a standing start before claiming his second try. Matthew then grabbed his second as Shayne came on for Max and Ollie dropped out to balance things. Cameron, back from injury, enjoyed a great game and would also finish the day with his name on the score card.

In the end, although a fantastic effort from Hoppers, it was Eccles who took the spoils comfortably 8-0

In the second game, it was a newly formed Wythenshawe team in only their second ever game that took to the field. Eccles dropped off a couple of players in the scrum to further balance the contest. Ollie had licence to play along side his centres in a flat attacking line, rather than staying deep to thwart any threats, as he took a pop pass from Evan before snaking towards the try line.

It was looking from very early on that this would be one-way traffic. However, the Wythenshawe boys never gave up and the spirit they showed was evident all through their squad.

The Eccles boys now revealed themselves to be able to finally play some open rugby. With some slick moves off the training field, it would test them with ball in hand. Finn came back on and slotted back into his hookers role. With a clean hook near the ‘shawe line, Matt fed Lucas who drew the defenders before finding Adam. Again, his speed of foot was too much as he finished to set the score board rolling.

In the second half, with a few changes in the Eccles ranks, Cameron nailed his first for the club in between Lewis (also bagging his first tries) claiming three on the day.

Evan deservedly got on the score card, along with a wide spread of scorers, to give the Gorton St lads a comfortable win at 11- 0

Coaches point of view:

It was refreshing to see the boys ‘cut loose’ and enjoy the kind of rugby they have threatened to play for a while now. If they can put the same levels of efforts and skills and confidence in to the next few fixtures, there should be some great contests. The range of scorers stretched across the squad and it was great to see our new boys bagging tries.

We still need to focus on our game plan and getting the ball to do the work rather than making unnecessary runs, especially into the contact zone. However, watching the lads carry the ball comfortably and retaining possession instead of ‘giving it away cheaply’ was good to see.

There’s more to come, but, they CAN do it!

  • Memorable Mentions: Ref Andy, officiating against his old club and doing a wonderful job (in OUR view anyhow Andy!) Vicky for the match stats and helping clear away the playing surface after the games (and Mike also!). Pam for food logistics and getting 30+ lads fed.

Thanks and good luck to John from Wythenshawe and thanks to Mark from Hoppers also.

  • Eccles Squad: Ollie, Lucas (Capt), Jake, Scott, Shayne, Lewis, Cameron, Adam, Taz, Max, Matthew, Heath,  

Training this Weds 11th Oct from 6.30pm. All welcome including new players!

Eccles U12s improved performance, but…..

The under 12s saw a change of venue on Sunday morning as they made the short trip over the ship canal to Sale’s Carrington training facility.

Sale -v- Eccles

With a perfect playing surface and a wide pitch to attack from the wings, the Gorton street boys looked on with an appetite to put last weeks’ trudge behind them.

Now, here’s where the plans go astray: with limited squad numbers to select from due to a number of boys being unavailable, we looked at bolstering our squad with a few players form Tyldesley who kindly stepped into the breach.

Up first were Sale, the hosts, who were blessed with a good squad size as well as some very talented players…. and, some very big lads! Not to be fazed though, our boys knew their game plan should stretch the opposition where we could exploit the wide spaces to create scoring opportunities. If only……

Despite a really good midweek session on the training pitch where we fine tuned our attacking moves, we never put this into practice come game-time. Constantly, we chose the wrong option of going for the ‘power play’ of players charging off individually into the waiting wall of Sale defenders. Instead of moving the ball and hitting the gaps, we were caught in possession with support arriving too late.

It wasn’t for the lack of trying however, as in similarity to last weeks’ performance, the boys didn’t quite gel as a unit, yet each one tried desperately to kick-start a team display they know they are capable of producing.

Jake, in his favoured role of hooker, showed some superb body angles into contact as well as a putting in some important tackles. Ollie also served up some wonderful clean tackles to deny Sale one or two certain tries. Lucas put in a tremendous captains display, with his trademark tackles and superb breaks from nothing.

Heath, back form illness that saw him miss out last week, showed all his strength to power through the contact zone, before setting the ball in the ruck or ‘popping’ it out of the tackle.

Evan, now well established in the pack, had to alternate between front row and second row; Adam took an early knock that further restricted the game plan, but returned later after Dr Dave patched him up! Fletcher occupied the wing but had limited possession to feed off; James continued his transition from the league code and showed good lines of running with the ball in hand. Alfie continued his good run of form with some important tackles; Carter always looked strong into the contact area: Johnnie tried to ignite his feet of flames but with no room to work in, was starved of attacking options.

At half time it was 3-0 to Sale.

The second half saw Johnnie leave the field following a bang to his shoulder, and he was replaced by one of Tyldesley’s quick lads just before Lucas scored an excellent try.

It was always going to be an uphill battle with the limited numbers to select from, but, try as they could, the Carrington outfit were stronger in every area.

Final score: 6-1

Eccles v- Tyldesley

The second game proved more of a fairer contest as they [Tyldesley] were also suffering with selection problems and unavailability. Adam returned to the action but we still required two guest players from Sale to even numbers up. Ironically, Tyldesley also took two players form Sale and it was both of these boys who scored consecutively to put ‘Bongs up 0-2

Carter was beginning to come into the game: he took a pop pass from Ollie to crash up the middle to set the ruck up. Heath took the ball from the Tyldesley scrum half before shipping it along to Adam. With a little shuffle of his feet, he made the space to attack before launching up the left wing to race to the line for a great score.

With the score looking respectable at 1-2, the Gorton St boys just had enough left in the tanks to keep the flow of attacks heading in the right direction. Again, Heath and Lucas were instrumental in setting up the next try. Jake hit the floor and set the ball as Evan just did enough to secure the ruck. Heath then linked with Lucas who put Carter away to finish through a crowd of defenders with a great body angle.

Final score: Eccles 2 – 2 Tyldesley

Coaches comments:

A much better performance from last week, but we’re still not there in terms of team performance. Individually, there is everything we need in great quantities. Even with low numbers, we should still be able to move the ball. We suffered from a depleted squad, but in the next few weeks, a lot of boys will return and this will obviously strengthen the squad and improve performances. It WILL COME!!

Keep working boys and you’ll get the rewards.

Eccles U12s Squad:

Lucas (Capt), Ollie, Evan, Heath, Alfie, James, Johnnie, Adam, Jake, Carter, Fletcher

Thanks to Andy for the whistle; Vicky for the match stats and Phil and Mike from Tyldesley and Sale respectively, for their loan of players.

Training this weds 4th Oct: 6.30pm, all welcome including new players!