Eccles Touch is back

Wednesday summer evenings, 7pm-8.30pm, sees the return of O2 Touch to Eccles RFC. Pitch up and play on the 11th July (registration 6.45pm). League begins 18th July.

6 aside (minimum 2 female players). 6 minute games. 6 touch tackles per set. Rolling subs. No kicking. No diving trys. Team up. Compete.

For more details & application forms contact:



Eccles RFC Summer Social BBQ. All welcome, especially new faces. Next Saturday 7th July, sizzling from 1pm onwards. (Yes, should they get that far, that could be a England v ? in FIFA World Cup Quarter Final, and could well be on in the clubhouse if you ask nicely ).

County recognition for Eccles

Lancashire County RFU have recognised the efforts of Eccles RFC twice within the pages of its Annual report for the 2017/18 season.

Under ‘WOMENS & GIRLS RUGBY’ is this endorsement from Chairwoman Helen Duggan for our Ladies section –
“Eccles fought a hard battle to avoid relegation from the Championship North 1 ensuring that Lancashire women have a team representing within every level of the current league structure, key to how we can develop rugby going forward.”
In the same report, under ‘COLTS RUGBY’ is this acknowledgement from Chairman Alan James for our hosting of the Lancashire Colts Cup Finals –
“To Paul Thorpe and the team of Volunteers at Eccles, “what a day”! The first time Eccles RFC runs out of beer!! Albeit late in the evening when the crowds where leaving. Your expertise in running the event showed from start to finish; thank you and well done to you all, a true community rugby club.”

Praise indeed.

The full report:


New season, new approach, new nights.

Preparations for the new Senior season are well underway.  The Ladies have already commenced their pre-season training and are reporting good numbers. 

Men’s pre-season training will begin on July 10th and with it will come a change to Tuesday and Thursday evenings 19.00 -20.30.

It’s hoped the switch from Monday/Wednesday will provide an additional day of recovery for knocks and injuries incurred by Seniors on a Saturday; encourage Colts participation who play on a Sunday afternoon; and enable attendance of College and University students who play on Wednesdays.

The decision for Mens and Ladies squads to train on the same evenings has been reached following consultation between coaches and with the aim of making better use of the club’s facilities and physios, and to improve general collaboration and socialisation between the sections.

We hope to welcome many new faces to Gorton Street over the next few months.  Eccles are actively looking to recruit players this summer and the club’s ‘Men Wanted’ film has already achieved over 2,000 views on Twitter/Vimeo and almost 9,000 views Facebook.  If you’re interested in playing at Eccles join us at pre-season training or get in touch at or

Royal recognition for Eccles Golden Group

Congratulations to Alicia Calton, Leah Christian, Adam Christey, Fin Cox, Kyle Dowarka, Joe Gaffey, Matt Hope, Edward Mather and Chris Thomas who on Thursday 24th May received their Duke of Edinburgh Gold Award at a special presentation held in the gardens of Buckingham Palace, where the nine young people from Eccles RFC met HRH The Duke of Cambridge and entertained the future king with tales of their now legendary expedition to France.  After the palace the group dined at Brasserie Zedel, Piccadilly.

The grand occasion in London was the summit of a long and arduous journey that for many of them commenced back in May 2014 when as U14s they began working towards their DofE Bronze Award. To achieve their Gold Award the group had to complete 12 months of volunteering work, 12 months of Physical and Skills activity, undertake a week-long residential activity away from home and undertake a 4-day Expedition.

The story of this group’s expedition began on 1st July 2016, when U18 Colts and Girls from Eccles RFC participated in the City of Salford’s 100th Anniversary commemoration of the Battle of the Somme.  This event inspired a 12-month heritage project to uncover the forgotten lives of the Eccles RFC volunteers of 1914, many of whom enlisted in local ‘Pals’ battalions in order to fight France alongside their mates. Following WW1, Eccles RFC struggled to regain its pre-war status. The club recommenced rugby activities in October 1919, playing in a field off Stott Lane against a FlydeXV with a team composed in the main of discharged soldiers, many of whom had suffered injuries. If it were not for the perseverance, determination and commitment of those players, and all those that followed them, Eccles Rugby Football Club would not exist today.

As a tribute to the sacrifice of those young men, the nine young people trained, researched and planned their DofE Gold Award expedition to the Somme Battlefields where they retraced the journey made by the Salford Pals Battalions of the Lancashire Fusiliers Regiment, 101 years before them.

Travelling inland from the French coast, the group walked in their footsteps along the same roads and through the same fields and villages, camping along the route, covering an average of 30km a day using maps and compass.  They visited British, French and German war cemeteries along the way, laying poppies at the graves they could identify as soldiers from Salford and Manchester.  On 1st July 2017, the group arrived at their final destination of Thiepval, where they attended a memorial ceremony to honour the servicemen who lost their lives on the Somme. Here they paid their respects and laid poppy wreaths on behalf of the Fusiliers Regiment and tributes of a willow cross and minor’s lamp from the City of Salford, items of remembrance they had carried with them from home.  After the ceremony the young people met with dignitaries including Lord Llewellyn, British Ambassador to France and Colonel Borneman of the British Embassy.

The 2018 DofE Gold Group are a credit to the club and an example of what can be achieved through sustained commitment and endeavour.
You can watch a film about their ‘Somme101′ project and DofE expedition here

The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award, is a youth awards programme founded by Prince Philip in 1956, that has since expanded to 144 nations and is now the world’s leading achievement award for young people, recognised by employers and universities alike as evidence of persistence, commitment and personal development over a period of time.

Eccles RFC have run the DofE award scheme for its players since 2011 and anyone aged 14-24 can participate. The 3-stage Bronze, Silver and Gold award programme compliments the values of Rugby Union and aims to inspire, support and encourage young people in their self-development and social interaction, instilling in them a spirit of adventure, self-reliance and teamwork.

This year’s Gold Group were supported/nagged along their journey by their proud parents and DofE volunteers Paul and Vivienne Newton, Mark Baines, Hilary Berry and Ruth Mcgaharan whose continued encouragement and commitment to the young people was instrumental in their success and deserve special recognition.  The planning of the Salford Pals Somme101 Expedition was also greatly assisted by John Dennison of Francourt / Les Passeur de Memiore, whose enthusiasm and local knowledge made an invaluable contribution. Far less deserving of a mention are Messers Dave Nicholls and Sean Baines who were expedition envoys to the group whilst in France and wholly responsible for the incident involving the watermelon and the Police, which was nothing at all to do with me, your Royal Highness.


Glastonbury may be cancelled this summer, but thankfully you can still get your fix of epic outdoor live performances when Eccles RFC hosts its own End of Season Weekender on 28th and 29th April.   The 2-day event will not only mark the end of the Men’s 2017/18 rugby season but will also be a celebration of two notable events for the Ladies and Colts sections:

Saturday 28th April

  • KO 3pm – Eccles 2XV v Littleborough 2XV
  • KO 5pm – Eccles Ladies 1XV v Eccles Ladies Select XXI
  • Evening entertainment in the clubhouse will feature a presentation by the Ladies Captain and hopefully the return of the Men’s 1XV team with a victory from Tarleton.

Sunday 29th April 

  • Eccles RFC host a celebration of the county’s finest youth teams.
  • Eccles U17 v Kirkby Lonsdale U17 in the Junior Colts Trophy Final, KO 11am.
  • Heaton Moor U17 v Blackburn U17
  • West Park St Helens U18 v Widnes U18
  • Littleborough U18 v TBC
  • Presentations will take place on the Royal Balcony.

We hope ECCLESFEST will be a big social gathering for the whole club and have the clubhouse and grounds at full capacity.  All club members, past and present, Ladies, Seniors, Colts, Juniors and their families are welcome and encouraged to come down and enjoy the rugby on both days. Wellies, denim cut offs, cowboy hats and shades are all permitted dress code.  There will food, drinks and toilets available. No camping. No ticket touts.  More details to follow. #EcclesFest2018

Simpson and Christey recognition

Former Eccles Colts teammates Leon Simpson and Adam Christey met in a U18 North of England warm up game at Preston Grasshoppers yesterday.  A tremendous achievement for both lads. Leon, who went on to score a try for the North of England in the 30-13 victory over a Myerscough select XV, was selected following trial at the end of January.  Adam has attended Mysercough college since September 2016.  We wish both Leon and Adam the best of luck for their continued success and look forward to following their future Rugby progress and hair styling decisions.

Sharks Academy selection for James.

Congratulations to former Eccles U17 Colts Second Row Connor James, who was selected to play for Sale Sharks v Leicester Tigers, in the Northern Conference U18 Academy League, January 5th.
Unfortunately Sale were defeated 6-16 in the close contest, played at Manchester Met University, Platt Lane, to a second half try and penalty by the visitors (scoring sequence 3-0, 3-3, 3-6 HT 6-6, 6-13, 6-16 FT). More match info here
Connor, a Kirkham Grammar student and former pupil of Ambrose Barlow RC High School Swinton, has been reared on a strict diet of Baby Bio and Miracle Grow and is available during holidays to fix street lighting and rescue cats from trees.
Photographs: Chris Hoddle

Eccles Snr Colts 7 – 41 Rossendale Snr Colts

Lancashire County U18 Joe McDonough Colts Trophy, 29th October 2017.

Last Sunday, Eccles succeeded in assembling a Senior Colts team to honour their fixture in the Lancashire U18s Trophy. Full credit to all the lads who made a commitment to play.  Since February (the last time many of them were on the same field together) the Eccles U18s have lost four talented players to other clubs, three more county-standard players were missing due to injury, and many of the remaining colts are no longer able to train mid week or play at weekends due to employment. Undeterred by this situation the players themselves recruited new team mates from Rugby League and combined with the U17s who contributed eight players to the squad.  Sadly, Eccles’ valiant effort was to be no match for the Rossendale team, who were a well organised, more cohesive outfit. The visitor’s advantage of familiarity and match practise was further supported by speed in their backline, something Eccles struggled to combat.

Both teams began with ferocious tackling and aggressive defence. Rossendale broke the deadlock scoring the opening try down the left wing via their fast fullback;  5 minutes later following a scrum the same player was put through to score a second try. Eccles dominated possession for the next 10 minutes, battering away at Rossendale’s defence. A clearing kick upfield was collected by Eccles fullback Tim Cullen, who was then clattered with a late charge, leaving Rossendale free to collect the loose ball and release their fullback once again into an open flank, unopposed, to score his hat-trick try. Josh Houghton replaced the injured Cullen; Dan Aspinall replaced injured Hooker Dave Smith, Kieron Reed replaced injured no.8 Liam Thornley. Eccles responded. Joe Gaffey was unfortunate not to break through with a P&G following a scrum inside the Rossendale 22. The resulting drive by the forwards was stopped on the line and the ball stolen back and cleared. On the stoke of half time Rossendale added a fourth try moving the ball along their back line following a line out.  With the score at 0-22, 4 players injured, and nothing going Eccles way, least of all the match official’s decisions, the break could not come soon enough.

A half time team talk and change of approach appeared to galvanise the colts. George Duckworth replaced the injured Harry Candland on the wing. Eccles began the second half with a fire in their belly; The forwards had dominated the opposition pack in the scrum and now began to make determined driving attacks through the middle, using the pods to good effect to retain the ball, pinning Rossendale into their 22. Eccles were soon rewarded with a try by Captain Ed Mather from the base of a ruck, converted by Matt Walker. With momentum shifting, Eccles continued their pressure on the visitor’s defence. Dillon Carter and Josh Kilby were both stopped short of the line. Kieron Reed played with authority at number 8 and was unlucky not to score from the base of the scrum. The fightback was short-lived. Rossendale regained their composure with a penalty – a deep clearance kick to touch and a well-executed move off a line out 10m from the Eccles goal line led to thier 5th try.

Motivated by some unnecessary goading, Eccles took the game to Rossendale. Mather was denied on the line attempting a bold carbon copy of his first try. From a penalty just outside their 22, Matt Walker fed Damola Ayanlaja who thundered towards the posts before offloading a lofted pass out wide to prop John Nicholson who powered through defenders over the line with the ball only to be denied the try by the referee for a ‘double-movement’. The all-out offensive did not pay off as the visitors proceeded to score from two back-to-back counter-attacks- the first beginning directly from an Eccles attack, with a Rossendale player picking up a loose ball in his own in-goal area, wriggling free of several tackles on the wing and offloading the ball to a team mate to run it home up the other end of the pitch under the posts. Conagh Blake replaced Shea Skillicorn at centre and Matt Lee replaced the relentless Mather in the back row who had to retire with injury. Josh Houghton and Josh Green both broke free with the ball but were stopped by strong tackling.  Eccles displayed good character and perseverance, attacking and battling until the final whistle, but the last 15 minutes saw no further scores and the game ended 7-41.

Rossendale’s resilient defence, speed of support and fast backs provided the visitors with a deserved victory, in what was – apart from the unwelcome verbal exchanges towards the end of the game – a good spirited, competitive, combative contest.  The Eccles players awarded their man of the match to the triple-try scoring Rossendale flying fullback.

Many thanks to Andy Waring, Dave Nichols and Sean Baines for their assistance at short notice and to the U17s for the loan of their kit.

More match photos at @EcclesColts

The U17s return to their Colts League fixtures on Sunday, at Home to Ormskirk KO 12:30, whilst the U18s return to Call of Duty and Tinder (probably)



10 mins TRY Rossendale, unconverted 0-5

15 mins TRY Rossendale, unconverted 0-10

32 mins TRY Rossendale, unconverted 0-15

34 mins TRY Rossendale, converted 0-22

HT 0-22

40 mins TRY Eccles (Mather), converted (Walker) 7-22

46 mins TRY Rossendale, converted 7-29

53 mins TRY Rossendale, converted 7-36

57 mins TRY Rossendale, unconverted 7-41

FT 7-41


  1. Josh Green
  2. David Smith
  3. John Nicholson
  4. Dillon Carter
  5. Chris Thomas
  6. Joe Gaffey
  7. Ed Mather (c)
  8. Liam Thornley
  9. Harry Candland
  10. Matt Walker
  11. Josh Kilby
  12. Damola Ayanlaja
  13. Shea Skillicorn
  14. Matt Hope
  15. Tim Cullen
  16. Conagh Blake
  17. Matt Lee
  18. Kieron Reed
  19. Dan Aspinall
  20. George Duckworth
  21. Josh Houghton