Despite the inclement weather, Christmas pudding hangovers and the lack of decent rugby over the last couple of weeks; Eccles managed to put out 24 players (could this be a club record Brunty?) at U10s level against a very good Heaton Moor side, also short of recent game-time.
The problem was securing a suitable playing surface! So,we trekked off through the Patricroft mud to the other side of the Gorton Street railway to find a lush green patch only Ted could nurture!
With the boys… and Anni, our solitary girl… split into two teams, the following reports are courtesy of our hardened and dampened pitch side analysts (my thanks to them), so any migration from reality can be apportioned to them!
Yours truly took one team with DoR and Dr Dave overseeing the other unit.
The rain increased in quantity and decreased in temperature to greet the ref’s whistle starting the game.
‘Moor went on the offensive straight away with some great lines of running across the slippery surface. Jonnie was Captain and scrum half and tried desperately to get his team to click in the driving rain. Jack tried time after time to carry into contact but the gaps closed on him with some good ‘Moor defence. Ethan and Joe were given licence to roam from one wing to another and could only live off the scraps that came their way.
Alfie dropped in behind Carter in the middle, but despite Carters best endeavours to get some momentum going, it was credit to ‘Moors game plan that kept Carter at bay. Evan managed to get his studs deep enough to drive into the tackle area with some big hits.
Jake slipped into the hookers role in the heart of the scrum and Finn added his strength at propping. Shane was kept busy and again showed some tremendous runs into the contact area.
It was not to be for the Eccles boys and every credit to ‘Moor who deserved their 3-0 win.
We then moved round onto the school surface to take on the next Heaton Moor outfit.
By now, the boys had acclimatised like Siberian hunters in the depths of a Russian winter…….. (seriously though, none of these boys complained about just how cold they were feeling). Eccles won the right to kick-off and there then started a free flowing take-it-as-you-like game of rugby!
‘Moor quickly went through their gears and notched a 2-0 lead. Bailey looked to constantly support the ball carriers before realising he could do the donkey work for himself with a well earned try! Back came ‘Moor with a riposte: 1-3
Evan just about held onto the ball to set up a maul deep in the opposition’s half, but our ball securing from supporting players will be something we will have to work on in training.
Jonnie had a few minutes to recover his frozen hands so Ethan stepped into the scrum, half position. At his first scrum, Ethan – normally on the receiving end of passes to the wing – fed Shane who went up the right to claw one back: 2-3. Finn linked with Jack to set up a ruck as Jake managed to just about get the ball to Carter. Again, Carter tucked the ball up tightly in two hands and set off. After beating 2 defenders, the finish was all it needed to cap a great run, but the greasy ball on this surface just escaped the big lad!Shayne once more got onto the score sheet to level. Back came ‘Moor after a brilliant run from one side to the other from their Capt Jack. As the refs watch was approaching ‘sausage n chips o-clock’… Joe put in a superb tackle to ignore the onset of frost bite. Shane was now provider: he slotted the ball to Jack who knew it was only the try line and 3 defenders between him and a warm shower! 4-4 …. great finish!
Back under the railway bridge, our other team was doing a little better.
Lucas was first on the score sheet with a superb piece of wing play from the big lad!
Anni was our latest player making her debut and what a start for her! Some fantastic ball carrying and great tackling, saw her rewarded with a score!
Up next was our ‘big winger’ Max! (he loves it!) On the charge, there’s not many to stop Max and with the assistance of Ollie and Matthew, it was a crash over the line and a face full of mud!
Finn then received the ball from Ollie to lay a marker down for himself and claim a score before Ollie, in imperious form, finally got in on the act! He finished the day with four tries.
With Danniel orchestrating from the scrum half position, there were plenty more opportunities to come. The reports from our match Reps though, heap praise on the running mauls and switch plays to keep the ‘Moor on the back-foot, yet they deservedly grabbed two scores as it finished 8-2 Eccles.
In the next game, Lucas stepped up and quickly formed a great partnership with Anni. Scott was unfortunate to have to leave the field injured just as he was playing himself into the game. Danniel, time and again launched the big runners who cut in on the angle and Adam ‘Pykey’ showed exactly how to enjoy yourself in the mud as he even managed to smile throughout the game…. although I may need to confirm with his mum that this wasn’t a grimace from the cold and damp!
Matthew then went through the gears with his first of two on the day. After taking a pop pass from Adam, he still had plenty of ground to make up, but, with the ball secured firmly in his grip he burst through the first tackle to head for the line. As the ‘Moor defender came across to cut Matthew down, he managed to spin neatly out of the tackle to crash over. His second was even better: starting from his own line, again he shook off the attention of two defenders close to the Eccles try line. He found the leg strength to make it to the halfway mark as the last line of defence came in to threat. A last surge from his lungs carried him out of danger and finish over the line!
So, all in all: P4 W2 D1 L1
Thanks to Dan and Jim from ‘Moor and especially to all the parents/carers who also braved the conditions.
Next Sunday 10th Jan AWAY -v- Widnes.
Training (weather permitting) Weds @ 6.30pm: All welcome including new comers to the game!