TWTSTW, or if you prefer the long winded version, That Was, The Season, That Was.
The Eccles Senior Colts last competitive game of the season, and the last time they would all play together as one team, came and went in very much the same fashion that could sum up the whole season for the lads.
Having only one chase of a League Cup knock out competition, just like last year, the lads entertained Aldwinians in what was a quarter-final game. Having struggled all year to get anything like a full side out it could be said that the 15 men who took the field for Eccles made up what appeared to be a luxury. With only the regulation number of players the lads took on a visiting squad size of 20 players.
Eccles started poorly allowing the visitors to take an early lead with an unconverted try. However as I would have expected they came straight back and good team work allowed Eccles to establish a lead following two tries by Lee Morris, both of which were converted by Reese James. But the lads know that not everything goes their way as the visitors were allowed to score two tries of their own, one of which was converted to put the half time score at 14 – 17 to the visitors.
The start of the second half was just like the first with the visitors registering another unconverted try. This saw Eccles as a whole raise their game and start to put the Aldwinian’s side under pressure. A Reese James penalty reduced the deficit to only 5 points and then following more good play by the boys in blue Reese James was allowed to run in wide to score an unconverted try. This took it to 22 all and game on.
It was then Eccles turn to be put under pressure and this resulted in a converted try for the visitors, but back the lads came refusing to know when they are beaten and spent the last 10 to 15 minutes in the Aldwinian’s half looking for the levelling score. With having no replacements you would have expected the lads to wilt but kept going they did looking for that all illusive score. Alas time ran out and as the final whistle was blown with Eccles on top victory was denied them. Another harsh result but as I have said, one which probably reflects the whole season. Now I’ve only named the scorers today because trying to single out players would be harsh on the lads not mentioned because they all did well and as usual gave their all. However Joe Cranston had a stormer, tackling like a demon.
Now how can I put it any differently to the words of encouragement that I have tried to use all season. The lads have done us proud. Simply by not giving up when faced with the slings and arrows of the outrageous fortunes that had been cast upon them. In a season when many sides had thrown in the towel, when it all got too difficult for some, these lads just kept on going, refusing to except that they were beaten. Be it 15, 14, 13 or 12 players they just kept coming back for more. OK they occasionally got a pasting on the park, but only when the numbers were reminiscent of The Little Big Horn. When given fair numbers they more than showed what they were made of.
But with all this said and done they know themselves the highlight of the season is not the occasional victory but the development and commitment of the players. Seeing a number of them step up to the mark and advance themselves has been a pleasure to watch. Once again they’ve been flooding the senior sides. The 1st, 2nd & 3rd teams have hardly ever been fielded without a colt or two.
As this is probably the last colts report I’ll ever write all I can say is, there is a love that dare not speak its name, and it’s when one ex-colt who gained so much from his years as such, sees the same commitment, development and enjoyment gained by others, doing the same as he did. Now before I start quoting Vitai Lampada I’d better sign off, so for me it’s “good bye and thanks for all the fish”.