Eccles u11s at Southport. Sunday 12th March

Match Report No: 02

Whilst I’m on a lyrical rhapsody, you are about to expose yourself to more literary ingenuity verging on a symphonic thesis! ….

Eccles u11s -v- Ormskirk/Southport/Newport

Now, for all those fortunate to be there on the west coast of Lancashire on Sunday, lets cut straight to match No 03 for all the right reasons!

Having ‘endured’ the first game against Ormskirk in which both teams suffered a laborious 2-2 draw (yes, you all know what I’m touching on here!)

….. the second game sparked a try fest of 4-7 to Southport: Good game, good test, good spirits but a few injuries picked up!

Eccles 1 – 3 Newport

This was a superb match! … I could leave it there, but that’s just not fair on the boys who absolutely gave their all as well as those unfortunate not to witness this game!

Newport had made the trek from deepest Wales on their tour of the Lancashire Riviera to undertake a round-robin set of games to which Eccles accepted the invite.

The undertone of England v Wales was too much to ignore as the Gorton St boys sensed a stern test ahead. They knew that nothing short of their best performance would win this contest.

The playing surface was excellent, the conditions were perfect (unlike the previous week!) as the game got underway. Captain Lucas elected to receive the KO to give Eccles an early opportunity of securing possession. The ball dropped into Joes firm grasp as he launched the first attack. It was imperative that the body angles into the contact zone were precise and dynamic against an opposition who are bred on an aggressive rucking game.

Jake followed Max into the ruck to bridge over the ball carrier perfectly, offering no target for the counter-ruck to come off and presenting Joe a tremendous first phase ball.

Heath and Lucas combined as the ball was shipped along the line towards Scott’s wing. The Newport defence read the attack and shuffled right to snuff out the threat.

From the restart out on the touch line, ‘Port steamed into the Eccles ranks, but they ran into some fierce and determined defence that planted a marker right under the noses of the Welsh boys.

Ollie was in fantastic form (he told me he’d watched Joe Launchbury in England game the previous day!) as he rapidly switched from defender to attacker, proving to a continual threat on both counts.

The Newport team quickly read Ollie’s game as they adapted their game to a kicking threat, as time and again they punted over the top.

However, if the biggest threat to the Eccles boys came from kicks from deep inside the oppositions half, then it was a tactic that they could feed off.

Scott and Johnnie out wide on their wings, rallied to cover for Ollie when he supported the pack in attack.

Max carried so much ball into contact that it was a matter of time before he broke though the ranks to smash over for the first try. Game on!

Heath and Lucas were sublime in the centre of the field as Joe offered them the ball gift-wrapped on occasions!

Shayne and Evan showed that they do listen in training (they really do!) as they carried straight and powerfully up the middle.

Newport took advantage of an Eccles attack that broke down on the final pass as it drifted into touch.

They took a quick pass along their attacking line to ship it wide left. Again a kick over the top saw a surge into the Eccles half, but, Ollie combined with Heath to dilute things. The ball popped up to Max who tucked up tightly in the contact. This time though, he took a heavy knock that saw him carried off to some great applause for his efforts as on came Carter.

Finn then came on for Evan who, in similar circumstances as Max, suffered a heavy blow causing him to leave the field.

The loss of momentum was exploited by Newport as they sensed Eccles just lost concentration for the ‘boyos’ to pull level. 1- 1 at half time.

Such was the calibre of play, there was not a single scrimmage in the first half.

Second Half:

From the Eccles KO the drop-out went unchallenged, as the ‘Port centre gathered the lose ball and raced unimpeded towards the right hand corner for an early lead in the second period.

This stunned the Eccles boys into lifting their efforts.

Ollie put the best tackle of the game in, as he bravely dropped at the feet of the big Newport centre, bringing him down so hard he lost the ball and needed treatment.

Fortunately, he recovered for the first scrum of the game!

Another great attacking move saw Joe and Heath combine for Cater to clear out at the ruck. Fletcher then took the pass out right to set off up the wing.

It was becoming more obvious that the requirement for the ‘final pass’ to go to hand would be the deciding factor in this game. Anything lose would be exploited and punished.

Cameron came on for Shayne and Finn also joined the pack in attack. Johnnie came back on in his favoured wingers position.

The final phase came from ‘Port. They dug deep in reserve to latch onto an Eccles mistake to finish neatly, but, the intensity was never allowed to abate from the Gorton Street boys. They played with so much passion and determination for each other and the badge they wear on the shirt.

With this type of performance, they can, and will, give any team a stern examination.

Apologies if I’ve not mentioned every player by name, but this was a complete squad performance spread across 3 games. The final game against the Welsh tourists was the pick. Great for all to witness…… great to be a part of it!

I will not single out any one particular player as they all gave more than 100%, but they now realise just how important training is to give them that edge required to turn games.

The sense of camaraderie was over-whelming…. THATS what the wonderful game offers and these boys are gradually becoming a team that plays for one another.

Thanks to Vicky for the Stats (never doubt her chaps!)

Eccles Squad: Ollie, Lucas (Capt), Jake, Scott, Shayne, Evan, Cameron, Finn M, Heath, Johnnie, Carter, Maxwell, Joe, Fletcher (& Liam!)

TRAINING weds 15th @ 6.30pm

All welcome…. including players new to the game.