Buoyed by their win over Sale in the previous week, the Eccles squad took a trip up the A666 to Bolton. It was Valentine’s day but there was no love to be lost on the field of play between these teams. Warmed by their winter coats and in unusual playing conditions (i.e. a dry, level pitch, free from dogs droppings) the boys were all set for a great game, a game soon to be know as the…
(…ask your grandparents ;))
Matthew uses his trademark dummy to gain some ground, and before getting tied up in a tackle sends a perfectly timed high pass over to Ethan in the clear. Using his burst of speed, Ethan runs in the first try of the day, 1-0.
Bolton find their way through the Eccles defence to equalise 1-1.
With Eccles in possession at the restart, the boys applied the pressure. Ethan makes it up onto the left wing within striking distance and passes it to Joe in close support. With the try line heavily guarded, Joe runs the width of the pitch until he finds space to dive over the line for his first of the day. 2-1 Eccles.
Playing catch up, the opposition step up to the challenge. Bolton make a break through the wing and look to be in a winning position to equalise, but Lucas in the back field makes a perfect tackle to take the threat down and regain possession.
From the restart, after a tussle for possession, Matthew makes it around their wing to score. 3-1 Eccles.
Jack and Anni attack down the right wing in support of each other. After some great cooperative play, Anni takes the ball over the line to put Eccles on 4-1.
The boys then perfectly execute a play from the Fleming Book of Rugby Tactics. Olly passes to Finn and with some great passing play gets the ball out to the wing before contact. With Joe on the receiving end of the pass, he blazes down the field to score 5-1.
With their left wing in good attacking form, Lucas prevents another try with another great tackle.
An unlucky knock on by Eccles five metres from the try line sets up a scrum. With the ball out of the scrum and all the opposition marked, the scrum half picks up the ball and runs down an undefended left wing for a cheeky try. Despite protests from the Eccles boys the try is given keeping Bolton’s hopes afloat. 5-2.
From the restart, it isn’t long before Carter makes it straight up through the middle ro put Eccles four ahead on 6-2.
With Bolton on the attack the sight of the advancing Eccles line puts their ball carrier in retreat towards his own line. Max, hot on his heels, soon catches up with his target 5m from their line. In a daring move he attempts to throw the Bolton player, still holding the ball, over the try line! Unfortunately it didn’t pay off, but the ensuing attack on the opposition’s try line left Bolton in a panic. With a dropped ball up for grabs, Ollie was quick to capitalise on their mistake and pick up the try. 7-2
After a fast and furious first half with tries scored aplenty, the second half started a much different game as Bolton upped their game.
Scott in receipt of the ball made a great run up the pitch and made a dash up the wing. Having covered half the pitch and outrunning most of Bolton and his own team, he was tackled unsupported, giving Bolton a chance to fight back.
The game continued in deadlock for a good while with possession switching frequently. Both Jakes and Evan were tackling well, denying Bolton any chance of breaking through. Sohan provided a strong center but Bolton were aware of the dangers of driving through the centre and provided an impenetrable defence. Similarly, Bolton’s strong left prevented Adam P using his talents on the wing.
With pleads from the ref for some quick hands, Ollie gets a pass out to Scott on the right wing. With plenty of space and Bolton scattered, Scott worked his way up the wing through their defence. Like a gazelle he jumped out of danger time and again. Bolton could only look on stunned as Scott gets the scoreline moving again. 8-2 to Eccles.
Spurred on by the score, Eccles continued another run of tries. Jack in possession of the ball took it safely up the centre of the pitch. With only five metres to go Bolton’s defence rallied, but a quick pass out to Carter, close by in support saw him claim a try. 9-2
In the final moments of the second half, Ollie, taking an unusually straight path(!), found his way to the try line to take Eccles into double figures! 10-2
The third ‘half’ or second mini game, continued in much the same fashion with the Eccles dominating a forlorn Bolton side. With players switched as quickly as the tries being scored, it was difficult to make notes fast enough, so here are the highlights…
Matthew, battling up the wing, made a well timed pass to Jack in clear space to score unopposed, 11-2.
Joe, with a lovely line up the pitch across the pitch, places a try in the left corner to complete his hat-trick and making it 12-2.
Next, Shayne decides it’s his turn for a score, adding another try in quick succession and his name to the score sheet. 13-2.
Bolton weren’t quite out of it yet, making a last ditch attempt to level the scores with a dash up the wing, only to be run into touch by Joe.
Olly makes his third try of the game. 14-2.
Ethan picks up a spilt ball by Bolton and runs unopposed through the defence to end the game on 15-2.
With a plethora of tries, a whopping nine players made it on to the score sheet; testament to the strength of the team, both as try scorers and supporting play-makers. The lack of opposition tries also shows the whole team’s courageousness in defence.
Body positions into the tackle continued to be good, but both teams were a little weak in the ruck. We got away with it today, but it’s something that could be exploited by a stronger opposition.
Ultimately, the squad exhibited some brilliant teamwork and supporting play. Getting the pass out before getting into contact really paid well today and made for a high scoring match.
Keep it up, Eccles, you’re on a roll!
(2) Jake H, (3) Maxwell, (4) Carter, (5) Jack, (6) Evan, (7) Ollie, (8) Adam P, (9) Anni, (10) Scott, (11) Ethan, (12) Johnny (promoted to honorary U11 for the weekend), (13) Finn M, (15) Lucas, (17) Joe, (19) Sohan, (20) Jake Y, (21) Shayne, (22) Matthew, and Liam.
Next Sunday 21st Feb, we host Tyldesley at Home. Meet at 10.15 for an 11.00am kick off!
PS My apologies to Lucas and Jake Y for getting their names mixed up last week! Sorry boys, I’m still trying to learn all your names. Parents, feel free to shout the name of your children when they get the ball, or just shout out random names to confuse me! 🙂