Close but no banana for Eccles U15’s away at Rochdale

Storm Desmond (named after Desmond Tutu or possibly Desmond the barber) did its very best to curtail our trip to the hills of Lancashire but the ground staff at Rochdale RUFC managed to prepare the pitch such that it was just about playable

Rochdale get the game started and there is immediately pressure on the Eccles try line. Eccles knock on and Rochdale have a scrum within 10m of the Eccles posts. It’s all Rochdale so far but Eccles are defending extremely well. Ellis puts in a meaty tackle on the Rochdale forward however the ball is loose and falls into Rochdale hands again. The Rochdale player makes no mistake as he opens the scoring for Rochdale. Unfortunately for Rochdale the kick fell short

5 – 0

Eccles get the game restarted but the referee halts Play and reprimands all 30 players for the use of some colourful language. I blame the £#$% parents coaches

Eccles are awarded a penalty which Matthew takes quickly and makes good ground before being halted by the Rochdale forwards. Once again Rochdale turn the ball over in the ruck and Eccles find themselves on the defensive.

Eccles win the ball back and the ball is with Brad who makes a run at the Rochdale defence but is tackled and forced out of play.

Eccles appear to be getting into the game now as a great passage of play which starts with the pass from Joe R to Ed and on to Oliver who intern find his brother James with a superbly timed pass. James hits a wall of Rochdale defenders and the ball is lost as Eccles are just too slow to support the isolated James

Rochdale are again on the attack pushing Eccles further and further back towards their own 22. A great passing interchange between the Rochdale backs leaves them with a player overlap and it looks like they’re about to score however Jack W gets back to make a tremendous try saving tackle

Half Time 5 – 0

Rochdale undoubtably had the best of the first period with Eccles struggling to get out of their own half for much of it. Eccles defended brilliantly and with only five points separating the sides it would be whoever comes out of the traps strongest after the break that would likely as not secure the win.

Eccles start the second half and are immediately on the offensive, pushing Rochdale back towards their own try line. Eccles forwards have the ball and they use their power to drive forward, the ball is eventually released and it is collected by Shea who crashes through the Rochdale defence and skips past the last line of defence to open up the scoring for Eccles. Matthew is left with a fairly difficult kick but steps forward and converts superbly from the tight angle to put Eccles ahead by two points

5 – 7

Rochdale get the game restarted and Eccles have the ball with Brad P who runs wide in to space, he takes a massive hit from the Rochdale forward however our George Shelly look-a-like is soon up and on his feet again, determined to Get it Right just One More Time as resumes play without a word.

Eccles are definitely on the ascendancy and from deep inside his own half Ed collects the ball and makes a break through the centre-field crashing his way through two or three Rochdale tackles before finding open space to run into. Eccles looks certain to score as Ed races forward supported by Cameron. Ed draws in the last man before releasing the ball to Cameron who makes a diagonal run towards the Rochdale try line only to be tackled 10m short of his target.

Five minutes to go and Eccles are now completely in control of this game but Rochdale aren’t finished and show their quality by forcing the ball over right in the corner.

Play is stopped while the referee consults with his linesman over the validity of the try which gives the Eccles coaches time to gingerly peel Dan Gogh out of the Rochdale mud. Joe R is first over to Dan to see if he’s alright and to give him a big slap on the back as congratulations for some feisty tackling. The try is awarded and Eccles are trailing again.

Unfortunately for Rochdale they couldn’t convert and so the scores are very tight with Rochdale ahead by just three points as we enter the last three minutes of play.

10 – 7

Eccles continue to press hard but desperate Rochdale defending holds firm and Rochdale clear the ball into touch to bring the game to a close

Full Time 10 – 7

Not the result that Eccles wanted but from the reaction of the Rochdale representatives at full time it was one that our hosts were desperately seeking. A great performance overall by the Eccles lads capped off by a few outstanding individual performances from the likes of Brad P, James & Oliver W, Kieron R and Jack W to name just a few 

We have another friendly fixture next weekend as the Lads From Macc get weaving and make the trip over to Eccles. Macclesfield RUFC are a very strong team with a depth of squad similar to our own so we can expect a tough test ahead of our final Blacksticks fixture of 2015.

Blacksticks always gives the coaching staff a headache as they are only permitted to select a squad of 22 meaning some lads will miss out. Everyone will be hoping for a place in the Blacksticks game so it’s important that the lads give 100% in training over the next two weeks and also when we play Macclesfield.

Eccles U15’s Vital Statistics

Todays Eccles Squad

Starting XV

  • Josh G – Loose Head Prop
  • David S – Hooker
  • Ellis P – Tight-Head Prop
  • Rob J – Second Row
  • James W – Second Row
  • Joe R – Blind-Side Flanker
  • Oliver W – Open-Side Flanker
  • Albert T – Number Eight
  • Dan G – Scrum-Half
  • Harry C – Fly Half
  • Brad P – Left Wing
  • Chea C – Inside Centre
  • Ed H – Outside Centre
  • Jack W – Right Wing
  • Matthew W (Capt’n) Full-Back

Bench – Ben, Dan Gogh, Cameron B, James F, Alex H, Matt L, Kieron R, Shea S

Scores on the doors 

Try Scorers – Shea S

Conversions – Matt W 1 from 1

Half Time Score 5 – 0

Full Time Score 10 – 7

Eccles Men of the Match

Players Choice – Ed H

Coach Choice – Ellis P

Parents Choice – Shea S

Notable Mentions

Welcome back to Rob J who has now recovered from his injury and slotted in nicely to play a vital role at 12

Leeann and John hosing down the kit before being able to put it in the washing machine may lead to a ‘most muddy shirt’ competition next time we play away at Rochdale

All the lads got a run out today but places will be at a premium for the 22 man Blacksticks squad in a couple of weeks

Eccles defence today was exceptional from whistle to whistle. They played as a tight collaborative unit, supporting one another at all times whilst maintaining their positional play. They were fast to react to situations and on a number of occasions turned defence in to attack; from todays performance they didn’t deserve to concede a brace of tries.

It was great to see the injured Alex T and Max R turn up to Rochdale today to support their team mates – well done lads.

The world according to Joey Eccles

On saying “well done”

A firm slap on the back is the way to congratulate a team mate who looks to have dislocated his shoulder. Thankfully Dan Gogh’s shoulder appears not to be as bad as first thought.

On match availability

“I’m away in Barcelona from Friday until Monday night so I might not make Sunday’s game”

On the traditional way to wear a rugby shirt

“Joey, why is there a big number 6 on your chest?”

“eh? oh aye yeah”

On doing the splits on a muddy field with 5 Rochdale forwards on top of you

“hurts a bit”

Naughty Step

Those U13’s shorts and shirts that the lads are still squeezing into – some less successfully than others. Raging Bull timescales

And Finally

Lindsay is out doing some Christmas shopping so I phoned for a pizza. I ordered a thin crusty supreme 🍕

…they sent me Diana Ross