The weekends festival of rugby began with a trip to East Lancashire on the Eccles Party Bus. The under 15s had been invited up to Colne RUFC to play a game prior to the 1st team fixture as part of the clubs sponsor day. The manner in which the lads conduct themselves on and off the pitch is a credit to the club, coaches and parents. The invitation to Colne on Saturday together with the invitation to Ormskirk the following day is a true reflection of the fine upstanding young men they are becoming. The parents though!!!
The trip to Colne started slowly as we had to wait for our guests of honour Mr & Mrs B Borrett who despite living less than 200 yards from the pick up point managed to be 20 minutes late arriving. When we eventually hit the road it wasn’t long before the familiar sound of bottle tops being lifted from the spout of a Budweiser bottle could be heard all around the charabanc.
Despite the excesses of the parents, the boys remained focused on the game ahead as they got themselves pumped up with a rousing chorus of that rebel rousing war cry ‘Never Gonna Give You Up’ by Rick Astley.
We arrived at Colne RUFC generally two Bud’s to the good and ready for a brew and a bacon barm however we had to settle for a pint of Bitter and some scampi fries. With no heating on the temperature inside he club house was marginally above the temperature outside. We all huddled together, blokes around pints of bitter, ladies around a cauldron (a traditional Lancashire coffee table)
By the time the heating had come on it was time for the lads game to kick off. The game was a closely fought affair with both sides having their fair share of possession in promising positions.
Eccles had control of the game for long periods of time but failed to make the most of the opportunities when they presented themselves. A lack of urgency at the breakdown would see the man with the ball too often isolated and exposed to the opposing players for much too long, giving Colne the opportunity to regroup around the ruck.
Eccles found the game hard going at times as they struggled to cope with the physicality of the Colne forwards. Josh G found himself on the wrong end of a Glasgow kiss but his handsome looks were saved by fast work from the thumbs of Mark Skillicorn. Joe R had his chances of that place at Oxford University reduced when he took a knee to the side of the head early in the second half bringing his game to a premature close.
Despite the injuries Eccles battled on and Matt W scored a couple of well worked tries, one in each postage stamp corner of the left and right flanks of the pitch leaving desperately difficult conversions which were exquisitely pumped over the posts by the metronomic right boot of Matt W.
Ellis P gave yet another outstanding performance, driving hard at the Colne lines and gaining huge ground before releasing to the supporting Centres Shea S and Harry C
At full time the lads trooped off to the changing rooms while the parents retired to the bar to discuss and debate the to’s and fro’s of an excellent game of rugby while watching the 1st team match between our hosts and their local rivals Pendle.
It was at this moment when for one of the parents, all background noise went silent and all that could be heard were the warm delightful tones of Sam Cooke
Cupid, draw back your bow
And let your arrow go
Straight to my lover’s heart for me, for me
Cupid, please hear my cry
And let your arrow fly
Straight to my lover’s heart for me
Now, I don’t mean to bother you
But I’m in distress
There’s danger of me losing all of my happiness
For I love a Tight Head who doesn’t know I exist
And this you can fix
Never have I seen such a Bromantic explosion, however the man-love was unrequited and we all thought that the love struck James was in danger of receiving a slap in his soft head from the Tight Head, especially when he ran after him and chased him into the changing rooms.
The after match hospitality laid on by Colne was excellent with the Colne lads selecting the Ellis P as their Eccles Man of the Match and Eccles returning the complement to one of their lads.
As part of the day a raffle was held and as we all waited with baited breath, expectant on a decent prize as we had bought a mountain of tickets, the first winner is …… the lady behind the bar – well done! the second prize winner is …… the lady behind the bar – someones been done! …… third prize was picked up by Jen Smith and she had a choice – does she take the envelope containing a Virgin Red Letter Day or the half litre of Benedictine. We later found out that the Virgin Red Letter Day was a trip to Twickenham, we also found out that Benedictine is a decent drink and a half litre bottle doesn’t go far far amongst Rugby dads.
Eccles had control of the game for huge periods of time but failed to make the most of the opportunities when they presented themselves. A lack of urgency at the breakdown would see the man with the ball isolated and exposed to the opposing players for too long. Too many handling errors and way too many missed tackles from our lads today.
Eccles U15’s Vital Statistics
Todays Eccles Squad
- Josh G – Loose Head Prop
- David S – Hooker
- Ellis P – Tight-Head Prop
- Alex T– Second Row
- James W – Second Row
- Joe R – Blind-Side Flanker
- Oliver W – Open-Side Flanker
- Matt L– Number Eight
- Dan A – Scrum-Half
- Matt W – Fly Half (Captain)
- Ed H– Left Wing
- Harry C– Inside Centre
- Shea S – Outside Centre
- Rob S – Right Wing
- Brad P – Full-Back
Replacements – Joe B, James F, Max R, Jack W, Archie H
Scores on the Doors
Half Time – God knows!
Full Time – 14 – 19 …….. is what most people seem to remember
Eccles Try Scorers – Matt W x 2
Eccles Conversions – Matt W x 2
Eccles Men of the Match
Players Choice – Ellis P (Chosen by the players of Colne RUFC)
Coach Choice – James W
Parents Choice – Matt W
Coach Kevin –
“Wheres the coach gone?”
“Did anyone pick up my Barbour Jacket off the coach?”
“Does anyone have the phone number of the driver?”
Martin Thornton –
“Theres a crate of Fosters on the coach, we’d better get him back here”
“I love you Alan”
No refereeing duties for Chris’tle today but he still managed to give the match referee some good pointers from the sidelines.
How cold does it have to be in order for Chris’tle to wear a coat?
On top of the two tries he scored, those conversions today from Matt W were memorable, on a day that is pretty much a blur. I don’t think we have played a team that has a better kicker than Matt W and it was these conversations that led to him receiving the parents Man of the Match award. Clearly its is a shallow victory though as most of the parents could hardly see straight by this point
Billy Borrett and his yard of ale. The winners of the players Man of the Match award shared a yard of lemonade between them. Another victory for Ellis P who necked about 7/8 of a yard – is that a furlong of ale??
Thanks to Martin Thornton for carrying James Palmer off the bus and propping him up against the wall at Eccles
Joe B played up an age group but never looked out of place amongst the Under 15’s. Well done Joe
Whoever supped the crate of Fosters that had been left on the back seat of the charabanc for the journey home
Josh G white boots
Some Images of the day