In last week’s match report I suggested that we needed the lads to change from boys into men. Well today they clearly showed that they were well on their way to accomplishing that task. Fielding a team of 14 players, all with a determined look on their faces, they took on a visiting Vale of Lune side with a squad of 18 players. Now as I also emphasised last week, playing against a large squad when you have the minimum of resources is no easy feat, but the team spirit being shown by the lads, scoffs with distain at such inequalities.
The game started with Vale taking an early lead with a converted try. However from the restart Eccles showed a positive response and went straight at the visitors. This resulted in Connor McKinney driving over for a try which Reese James converted.
Vale then replied with a speculative drop goal, to which Eccles responded with a penalty by Reese James. Not being outdone on the kicking stakes Vale then kicked a penalty of their own. This all took the half time score to 10 – 13 in favour of the visitors.
Well there were many half time words of encouragement for the lads, by both the management and themselves. The referee said he was enjoying it as well, the cheek of it.
The start to the second half could hardly have been worse for Eccles with Vale running in a soft try due to the numerical advantage they had. Now this is where we saw the true character of the Eccles lads, as once again they took the game back to Vale and with a sustained period of pressure we saw Luke Cullen breaking through the middle of the field and scoring under the posts. Reese James again kicked the conversion. This took the score to 17 – 18 and the game was truly on.
Both teams then went for broke but you could tell Eccles had the smell of blood in their nostrils. Driving forward they laid siege to the Vale line and were duly rewarded with the slight frame of little O’Joe crashing over for a rare try which Reese James converted. Establishing a six point lead Eccles then went for more. Rather than try and close the game out, and with total disregard for my blood pressure, they showed a total cavalier attitude with their play. Mixed with wanton recklessness with regard to conceding penalties I was forever searching for the direct line to Hope A & E. Thankfully for my health and with Eccles pressing the Vale line the final whistle was blown and all duly rejoiced. A great game played with wonderful spirit by both sides.
Well that tells you who scored what and in what order, but in no way relays what really happened on the pitch. To a boy, all 14 players turned into the man I had asked for. Mistakes were made, stupid penalties nearly cost them dear, but resolve, endeavour and absolute stubborn determination kept the lads going and gave them due reward. All deserve personal words of praise but I do have other match reports to write and things to do, notably a new dog in the house which needs walking. So special mention goes to Sean Baines, playing out of position at Blind Side, who tackled his heart out and Curtis Bates, in the second row, who covered every inch of the pitch with a work rate which defied the Second Law of Thermodynamics. A prize to the first person who gives me the two word reference to which I intimate.
But the grandstand moment goes to the lad who never fails to give me reason to mock him for his abject folly. Today he gave us all reason to believe we may actually have a real player in the making. I refer to none other than Jordan Bromley, who was also playing out of position at no8, but gave his complete all and truly deserved the MoM award. Yet as Jordan does, in the “down in one contest” he went from hero to zero. As I said he never fails.
So back to the team as a whole. Great character and determination to take on a side with greater numbers and come back continuously to take the game. Well done lads, you all know what I think of you. I just can’t print it.