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
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)