Today we played host to the boys from the Mersey – a rather grand-sounding Liverpool Collegiate. After a minute’s silence to pay our respects, the game commenced with enthusiasm, against an opponent of unknown calibre…
(1) Bailey, (2) Jake H, (3) Maxwell, (4) Carter, (6) Evan, (7) Ollie, (8) Adam P, (10) Scott, (11) Ethan, (12) Johnny, (13) Finn M, (15) Lucas, (18) Alfie, (19) Sohan, (20) Jake Y, (21) Shayne, (22) Matthew, and Liam.
(11) Ethan, (4) Carter, (22) Matthew, (3) Maxwell, (12) Johnny, (7) Ollie, (15) Lucas, (10) Scott
The opening ten minutes of the match are well fought by both sides.
Scott finds space on the wing and runs 2/3rds of the length of the pitch to score the first try of the day. 1-0
Johnny intercepts a Liverpool pass and passes the ball to Matthew who storms through the field, but the tight Liverpool defence are quick to rally, denying the scoring opportunity 5m from their line.
A slow, high pass by Liverpool is snatched out of the air by Ollie. Already flying through their line, he makes a straight run down the pitch to score the second. 2-0
It isn’t long however before Liverpool score their first 2-1
Liverpool’s winger finds free space and makes a dash. With great speed, Scott catches up with him and takes him off his feet, but the winger manages to stagger back up and rolls over the line to score the equaliser. 2-2
With Eccles drawn into the centre, Liverpool pass the ball to the safety of the back field and the ball carrier makes a dash for our undefended wing, taking the lead at the end of the half. 2-3
(8) Adam P, (2) Jake H, (6) Evan, (13) Finn M, (12) Johnny, (7) Ollie, (3) Maxwell, (10) Scott
With the arrival of fresh talent on their side, Liverpool set the tone for the second half by setting up a quick score. 2-4
A dummy pass by Liverpool’s centre outwits our defence and he makes it clear down the middle to increase their advantage. 2-5
Having to live off of opportunities rather than receiving passes, Adam P takes matters into his own hands. Showing it’s not just Ollie and Johnny that can make a cheeky intercept, he grabs a high Liverpool pass and strides for the try line, pulling one back for Eccles. 3-5
Perhaps demoralised about playing catch-up, or caught off-guard by some amazing passing play by Liverpool, Eccles fail to defend well. At every restart, the team don’t move up in a defensive line gifting Liverpool a good 10m each time – all room that could have been used to contest the ball. It isn’t long before the centre is left to run wild and soon takes another try. 3-6
With the spirit and energy drained from the defence, common sense is left on the sidelines. Playing random positions, leaving Liverpool’s speedsters to outmanoeuvre our big lads on the wing, Eccles may as well have escorted Liverpool to our try line. With good passing play by Liverpool, it isn’t long before it’s 3-7, then 3-8, and ultimately 3-9.
It isn’t until the dying minutes of the half that the boys buck their ideas up and start playing to their strengths again. Jake and Evan do well in competing for the ball, regaining possession to give Eccles the advantage. A strong attack by Max, is backed up by some good driving by Finn and Bailey. They can’t quite make it over the line due to heavy Liverpool opposition, but it’s good to see the spirit back in the boys and was one of the few highlights of the half.
(10) Scott, (20) Jake Y, (22) Matthew, (4) Carter, (19) Sohan, (15) Lucas, (18) Alfie, (11) Ethan
After a dismal 2nd half, and some choice words of wisdom from coach Flem, the boys are back on for a third ‘half’.
With Jake Y in close support, Matthew makes like a battering ram up the middle. Against an easier opponent it could have earned him a score, but Liverpool are resolute in their defence and show that this tactic isn’t going to work today.
Matthew, Carter and Sohan do well to soak up Liverpool’s efforts in the centre of the field, giving Ethan the chance to put his pace to good use on the wing, clawing two consecutive tries back for Eccles. 5-9
Alfie shows he’s no slouch, catching up with a loose Liverpool winger on his way for a score, but can only get hold of his shirt before the ball is placed behind the try line. 5-10
Good team work by the boys allows Ethan the opportunity to make his hat trick and close the gap to 6-10.
Rumours of dirty tactics, poor sportsmanship and some flared tempers mean it’s not long before a bit of a scuffle ensues. The boxing match is won by Eccles on points before coach Dave pulls both the offenders off the pitch.
With continued attacking play and Liverpool constantly gaining ground, it’s not long before Eccles are defending behind their own try line. Thankfully the ball is kept out of Liverpool’s hands thanks to some ardent defence. Scott is passed the ball and he runs the entire length of the pitch. With no-one able to catch him, the try is scored and Eccles are back in the running at 7-10.
Some great tackling and rucking by Lucas keeps the ball in Eccles’ possession and the continued effort to get the ball to the wingers enables Ethan to score another – the final try of the game, ending on a respectable 8-10.
Again we neglected out ability to transfer the hard work from the training ground into a match situation. We lost our ability to execute our game plan after looking so convincing in the opening five minutes.
Heads went down too easily and we need to dig deeper when we play a good standard of opposition. Individually we have no complaints and we will bounce back a better and cohesive team for this!
Many thanks to Toby who has found his niche as a sports photographer and supplying these brilliant match photos!
(Also available for weddings, christenings and bar mitzvahs)
Didsbury Toc H (they beat Didsbury Bedians 25-0 so are going to be much tougher!) Marple
Lymm at home! 10.15 for 11am start!