Well, there was no coastal weather to be enjoyed on Sunday as Eccles welcomed Fylde RFC… home of such England legends as Bill Beaumont and, more recently, Jason Robinson…. as the rain-soaked mud bath awaited players and parents alike!
However, what was in evidence was a desire from these U10s to get a decent game of rugby going!
We split into two units with John taking a team over onto a hastily arranged pitch near the school, and yours-truly officiating on another pitch with ‘Dr Dave’ dividing himself between the two!
We got under way with some good strong running from Maxwell and Carter straight from the ‘off’ and into a wall of waiting Fylde defenders which was to set the tone for the Eccles boys. With Ethan slotting in at scrum half, he was starved of some good clean ball from which to launch any attacking moves, as time and again we went into contact without the required support to keep possession.
With the Fylde defenders competing well at the rucks, it was really a matter of time before their persistence was rewarded with a try. 0-1
Ollie, Captain on the day, tried desperately to lead from the front foot along with Scott and Johnnie on the wings who were given licence to play all over the pitch.
All too often, we made the cardinal error of trying to hold onto the ball that little bit longer than we needed to, and then getting involved in a wrestling contest that slowed the ball down.
When we did create opportunities, Lucas and Shayne got us over the gain line and we at last put a great phase of play together to put some pressure back on the visitors goal line. Ollie came into the ruck at a superb angle to leave Ethan an opportunity to feed Carter. With his usual aggressive style of play, Carter sucked in two Fylde defenders and presented the ball for Johnnie. Still with some work to do, Johnnie made the heavy surface look no problem as he set off across the top of the mud. 1-1
The second period provide much of the same arm wrestle that we saw in the first.
The visitors finished a good move with their captain cutting in on a great angle over the line to edge in front.
By now, the boys were losing patience with themselves! The individual commitment could never be doubted, but we lost our direction as our normal game plan couldn’t be executed. Sohan… great to see him back in an Eccles shirt… tried time and again to get us up the middle, and Maxwell carried well into contact. It was Ollie who came up with the next score: he picked up a loose ball on the right before setting off in a straight line (now THAT is not like Ollie at all!), as the Fylde defenders came across to cover, he showed great upper body strength to finish over the line. Adam C and Finn M survived on limited ball, but showed great attitude and commitment into contact just when it was needed. Bailey was unfortunate to have to go off after a bad ankle injury.
The heat was being turned up by both sides now!
The Fylde boys picked their game up to score four unanswered tries. Scott rounded off a great game with a well taken wingers try up the left but it was not quite enough to galvanise the boys into a come-back. Final score 4-7
Over on the other pitch, Eccles were enjoying a bit more success on the score board. Anni was in great form before having to come off after a blow to the neck. Adam P and Finn F were also in fine form and Matthew led from the front in a fine display, showing some good hands and strong running. Evan enjoyed some good runs with his hands on the ball and some good tackling. Jack ‘Cos’ supported Matthew as the boys formed a pairing up the middle.
The third and last game between the boys just about finished before they all fell over with exhaustion and the weight of a mud laden shirt and socks!!
A mix of players from both teams tried time and again to get the ball moving through the hands. Joe, in at scrum half, was in tremendous form and deserved his rewards with a well taken try up the left wing. Fylde then came back strong to grab a quick equaliser just as Eccles were pressing. Johnnie came into the contact with a nice low body angle to latch onto the ball before feeding Matthew. With a little ‘show and go,’ he stole a couple of yards before flipping the ball back to Johnnie who bagged his second try.
The second half saw Carter get his name on the score board after a real hard worked drive up the right wing, saw him glued to the ball and tucked in with his support players. Nothing was going to prevent him reaching the line and a good body shape saw him finish in the corner. Joe then came up with the final score to put the cherry on top of his display. Adam P looks as though he is really enjoying his rugby as each time he ‘took it up’ into contact, the smile broadened inviting the defenders to rise to the task!!
To summarise: all the effort was there in abundance, but, individually. We just could not get going as a team, and at times we fell into the trap of waiting for the ‘other player’ to take the lead. The conditions were atrocious, but so it was for both sides! We will need to revert back to basics of ball retention and cut out the grab tackles, especially on wet muddy shirts.
Every credit needs to be given for the boys and Anni to try and get the games going where we could make the ball do the work.
Match stats from our pitch-side analysts; James and Vicky… who looked colder and wetter than anyone!!
Thanks to Clint form Fylde, and coaches Ben and Rob (and all the parents) for making the journey down to Eccles in the conditions. A great set of games played in a wonderfully competitive spirit. We look forward to next season!
Eccles Squad: Ollie. Matthew. Jack. Finn F. Adam C. Adam P. Anni. Joe. Sohan. Cater. Shayne. Scott. Lucas. Ethan. Finn M. Maxwell. Bailey. Johnnie. Evan. (& Liam)
This Sunday 7th Feb: HOME -v- Sale. Meet 10.00am.