Champagne Rugby as U15s meet Ormskirk and NSL

With the majority of parents still nursing a hangover and a slightly depleted squad following yesterdays encounter with Colne we all headed along the East Lanc’s Road to fulfil the second invitational fixture of the weekend. This time we were to take a foray into the unknown as the Eccles U15 lads play two short (40 minute) games latterly against Ormskirk but firstly in our international debut against the U16 French touring side Naves Seilhac Lagrauliere School of Rugby (NSL)

Eccles v NSL

Prior to kick off NSL presented Coach Kevin with a NSL booklet and club tie. Kevin prides himself on being very much an Eccles bon vivant but today the sweat dripped off his brow as he pondered “do I shake hands, kiss one check, both cheeks (face!) and if so do I go left or right first …. a clash of noses and puckered lips wouldn’t be the finest of starts and could upset the whole entente cordiale

Eccles got the game started with a deep kick in to the NSL twenty two, the ball was collected and the French poured forward in numbers towards the Eccles line of defence. With almost perfect timing the ball was to be released to the supporting player as the Eccles tackles rained in on the NSL runners. Two minutes in and Eccles find themselves behind and in a state of shell-shock. Coach Kevin runs over to the lads to give them a lift of encouragement, their shocked faces tell the story and the gaps are filled in by Ellis P who proclaims ‘Flippin Heck – what was that?”20160417_113442

NSL had control of the game and Eccles struggled to compete in all areas of the pitch as wave after wave of red, white and gold engulfed the Eccles lads throughout the first half leaving Eccles trailing by twenty five points at the toot of Chris’tles half time flute.

Coach Kevin got the lads together and lifted their spirits with his half time ear-bashing.

The second half was more evenly battled, NSL were still very much on top with Eccles chasing an insurmountable points tally but there were glimmers of hope as Matt W jinked left and right in an endeavour to create a gap; the powerhouse prop David S then showed his new-found blistering pace as on two occasions he looked to have broken through the NSL lines only to be felled by a crunching NSL tackle; Ellis P took the opportunity to make some lung bursting charges at the NSL lines and Harry C who puts his head in places I wouldn’t put my boot, made good distance with a number of driving runs.

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In the end though Eccles lost to a better side. In all the time I have been watching this group of lads play rugby I have never seen them so outplayed as they were by NSL. What is pleasing about the defeat is that NSL play a brand of rugby so very close to that which Coaches Kevin and James have been promoting with our lads – NSL just do it better than we do at the moment. But this could all change and by the time the two sides meet again, which I think we all hope can happen, Eccles will be better, fitter, stronger and will no doubt compete more evenly with Naves Seilhac Lagrauliere School of Rugby.

I know it’s not rugby, but todays game against NSL reminded me very much of my favourite football match – Eccles v NSL Excuse the soundtrack but watch out for Chris’tle, Rob S, at least two of our forwards, some twins, a grown up Joey and Matt W

Full time 0 – 39

Ormskirk vs Eccles

With hardly time to catch their breath the Eccles lads were lining up again, this time against our hosts Ormskirk RUFC who we had drawn 12 – 12 with earlier in the season and then shortly afterwards lost 19 – 41 in the Blacksticks Quarter Final.

This game was an altogether different affair with both sides very evenly matched. Eccles had the better of the first fifteen minutes with Josh G using his guile and strength to force his way over to score in the corner, Matt W converting comfortably from a tight angle.

Ormskirk rallied and ran is a couple of tries reminiscent of those they scored the last time the two teams met in February; Eccles not tackling as they should and the Ormskirk lad weaving and wriggling his way through to score.

Eccles regained the lead though following a period of sustained pressure on the Ormskirk try line. The Eccles forwards took turns to run at the steadfast Ormskirk defence, Ellis P first tried to force his way through, then Alex H and finally Matt the mole L burrowed his way through the defensive line to score Eccles second try of the day.

At 12 -12 the game looked over but Eccles were looking battle weary and Ormskirk were still fresh. Their freshness paid off as they ran in a final try with just a minute to spare to secure the win by seven points.

Ormskirk knew the’d been in a game as the cry of “kick for touch” could be heard the moment Chris’tle announced ‘last play’. Well done Ormskirk on your victory & well done Eccles on your resilience which almost paid off.

Full Time 19 – 12

Eccles U15’s Vital Statistics

Todays Eccles Squad

Starting IX’s

                         NSL / Ormskirk

  1. Josh G – Loose Head Prop – Josh G
  2. David S – Hooker – David S
  3. Ellis P – Tight-Head Prop – Ellis P
  4. Oliver W– Second Row – Matt L
  5. James W – Second Row – James W
  6. Joe R – Blind-Side Flanker – Oliver W
  7. Albert T – Open-Side Flanker – Albert T
  8. Alex H– Number Eight – Alex H
  9. Dan A – Scrum-Half – Dan A
  10. Matt W – Fly Half (Captain) – Harry C
  11. Rob S– Left Wing – Archie H
  12. Harry C– Inside Centre – Rob S
  13. Ed H – Outside Centre – Ed H
  14. Jack W – Right Wing – Jack W
  15. Brad P – Full-Back – Max R

Replacements Joe B, James F, Max R, Matt L, Archie H / Joe R, Matt W, Brad P, James F

Scores on the Doors

  • Eccles vs NSL 0 – 39
  • Eccles vs Ormskirk 12 – 19

Eccles Honours

  • Eccles Try Scorers – Matt L x 1, Josh G x 1
  • Eccles Conversions – Matt W x 1

Homme du Match v NSL

  • Players Choice – Brad P
  • Coach Choice – Josh G
  • Parents Choice – Brad P

Man of the Match v Ormskirk

  • Players Choice – Ellis P
  • Coach Choice – Harry C
  • Parents Choice – Dan A

Notable Mentions

Many thanks to Lancashire Eccles Cakes the kind donation of the finest of local delicacies which were well received by our friends at NSL school of Rugby – Bonnet de Douche!!

Please don’t confuse the Eccles cake with the inferior copycat product – Chorley Cake

Thank goodness the French lads cant kick for toffee!

What the French do extremely well is celebrate. The post match circle around their team captain and the call & response song was a magical display of team spirit…. as was the “we love you Eccles, we do’ from the Eccles lads. I think we need to work on something for next time!

Chris’tle was on duty today, displaying his clear and precise hand signals and his admirable grasp of the French Language without the need for Sharon Thornton’s book of French phrases.

“le scrum e set”

“le on-knock”

“la tranche de fromage”

Following his bump to the head in the Colne fixture, Joe R is currently having his compass reset to prevent the East-West running and promote South-North instead

It was great to see Chea C and Alex T who picked up a knock to the hip against Colne turn up to support the lads today. Well done lads

James F took a nasty knock to the eye in the Ormskirk game, hope you’re seeing straight soon James

Losing to Ormskirk by a single converted try is no disgrace; to put things in to context though, the Eccles lads had played (and partied) at Colne less than 24 hours earlier in a bruising encounter that left us without Alex T for this game, we had less than 30 minutes between finishing second best to the brutal force that is NSL and starting against Ormskirk. This was as much a victory for the spirt and tenacity of the Eccles lads as it was a loss on the scoreboard.

Cath Riley is available for ‘throw training’ if anyone is interested

It was a shame that we were unable to stay and see how the Ormskirk v NSL game played out. Ormskirk are a decent team but my money would be on a French victory

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Shirt swap at the end of the game with Joe R and an NSL player

Naughty Step

There’s no i in Team ………. but I can see u in Muppet! The lads all have to realise that they have one common objective and that fooling around on or off the pitch at the detriment of a team mate only serves to strengthen our oppositions resolve and weaken our own whether its before, during or after a game.

I have lifted the following from the NSL website:

A small quote, Jean Pierre RIVES, which is a reflection of what is a part of rugby for me:

“Rugby is a sport that allows children to become adults, and adults to be kids.”

I should have consulted Sharon Thornton’s phrasebook prior to screaming at Joe “go forward you cretin”  I apologise for any offence caused.

We picked up another unlikely injury at Bolton last week as Joanne managed to break her finger during the hairdressing incident.

What Next

According to the fixture list we play our final game next Sunday away at Heaton Moor. Lets go out on a high, playing good rugby and securing a win.

U16 next season brings in new aspects of the game for us all to brush up on. Lifting at the Line-out for example is something the lads will be working hard on during the close season to ensure we win all of our own and most of our opponents Line-outs.