First Round, Lancashire County Colts Cup, 22nd October 2017.
Against the odds, the Eccles U18 Senior Colts managed to assemble 13 fit and committed players to fulfil their County Cup fixture this afternoon. Appreciation and recognition must go to U17 Junior Colts who stepped up and did themselves great credit; and also to our visitors West Park, who made the sporting gesture of loaning us a winger and a fullback to make it an evenly-balanced match.
Considering this was a scratch team, with unfamiliar players and positions, and many lads who had not been on the same pitch together since last February, it was an admirable performance: Lee and Smith were solid in the front row; Nicholson, Thomas and Carter were destructive and combative in the set piece and with the ball in hand. Gaffey added lightning attacks to his relentless tackling at Blinside; Kilby had an outstanding, committed game at 8; Mather was a persistent oppressor at openside and underscored his captaincy with a first half try from the base of a ruck; Hope was a revelation at scrum-half, Candland gave an assured display at 10 and chalked up two superb low conversion kicks in strong, unpredictable winds; Ayanlaja created frequent devastation at 12 and his deft chipped kick to the corner lead to a second try for Eccles, finished by Dan the West Park Fullback; Blake, a new recruit, was tenacious at outside centre in his debut Union game; Duckworth capped off his return to Gorton Street with determined industry on the left wing and a second half try in the corner.
24 mins TRY West Park, unconverted 0-5
29 mins TRY Eccles (Mather), converted (Candland) 7-5
33 mins PENALTY West Park 7-8
42 mins TRY Eccles (Dan WP), converted (Candland) 14-8
53 mins TRY West Park, converted 14-15
58 mins TRY West Park, converted 14-22
62 mins TRY Eccles (Duckworth), unconverted 19-22
As the scoreline suggests, the game was a close and enjoyable contest. Eccles displayed excellent discipline, saw plenty of possession, worked hard all over the pitch, showed plenty of heart and battled until the final whistle, but lacked the cohesion in attack required to get them over the line – typified by a fumble in front of the posts, just a meter short of glory in the last seconds. West Park held on and we wish them good luck in the next round and await news of our fate in the County Trophy Competition. With a few more players off the injured list and down at training or on the team sheet, progression is possible.
1. Matt Lee
2. David Smith
3. John Nicholson
4. Dillon Carter
5. Chris Thomas
6. Joe Gaffey
7. Ed Mather (c)
8. Josh Kilby
9. Matty Hope
10. Harry Candland
11. George Duckworth
12. Damola Ayanlaja
13. Conagh Blake
For all Kilby fans here are the Kilby highlights (off-field medical attention prevented Kliby from being everywhere) For more non Kilby photos check out @EcclesColts