Match Report No: 01
Rugby in March…. Spring is on its way and the temperatures are climbing? Wrong!
In possibly the coldest, wettest conditions we’ve experienced in some time, the Eccles u11s took on a brave Wigan side. Despite the ever worsening climatic conditions, the pitch beyond the railway tunnel (we should realise by now that, whenever we occupy these pitches, the weather is DIRE!), LOOKED pretty inviting!
With the wide playing surface they crave and favour, the boys looked to assert their own game plan on the visitors straight from the KO.
Ollie punted a high ball on the whistle for the speed merchants Scott, Heath and Joe to track down. As the ball dropped out of the rain, it hit the surface like a lump of putty with the bounce of a traditional medicine ball! At this point, Joe claimed the ‘pill’ to get Heath involved who took a wider channel to set up the first ruck.
The ball came back with some urgency as Matthew and Shayne hit the contact zone.
Joe fed out to Ollie who put a flat pass in to Lucas.
It was all text-book as the boys looked to ship the ball out wide to Scott on the left wing. With a good patch of grass to launch from, the try line soon came into view to nail the first try of the day.
From the restart, Wigan looked to assert their game but, Max had other ideas.
A good pop-pass to Matthew set up the next attack from the Eccles boys. Joe once again conducted things from the base of the breakdown as Heath hit the gap at pace. Scott took a pass from Heath …. and off he went! Try No: 2!
It was Max’s turn next! Following a lose kick from Wigan, the ball was snapped up by Ollie who made his way out towards Fletcher on the wing. As Ollie hit the maul, Fletcher just about got his hands the ball to shake off the attentions of the Wigan defence.
On the heavy surface, Fletcher made his run up the wing look he was gliding across the top! Only a last ditch tackle taking him into touch prevented his second try of the season.
From the free pass from touch, again the ball went lose, but Max capitalised as only he knows best: try line still 8 metres away, two defenders in proximity, Max gets his name on the score sheet!
By now, the Wigan defenders were struggling with the Eccles power play, but, they weren’t about to throw in the towel.
Evan, time and again, looked to set up the rucks cleanly with some great body angles into contact.
Ollie continues to be an immovable presence in the full backs role. Despite what looked like the on-set of hypothermia, he stoked his boiler just enough to get his cold feet moving! 4-0 Eccles.
Wigan then made use of a clever kick and chase down their right hand wing to claim a well deserved try. This gave their lads a rush of spirit they were looking for as they bagged another two tries before the break.
With the briefest of team talks from the coaches, the boys (eventually) went back out onto the field. The freezing monsoon intensified as the watching parents huddled together like Arctic penguins!
Two boys were ordered to the showers to warm up, three boys gave the look of condemned men sent into battle as they trudged out onto the field reluctantly,…. no one blamed them! The rest of the team just wanted to get the win done and dusted.
Johnnie, Jake, Finn, Cameron, Alfie and Carter all on as replacements. (The team now look to the replacements bench to add the fresh legs with a seamless transition…. such is the development these boys are showing).
Shayne stretched the lead further to put more pressure on the visitors before Max and Heath grabbed their second tries respectively. Both boys would go on to secure hat-tricks on the day, with Heath finishing with a total of four tries eventually.
Heaths best try came after some fine play… even with hands freezing rapidly… the ball was shipped along the line as Jake came inside on the switch to link with Alfie before Heath blasted through the gap from deep in his own half. With an up-hill run to contemplate, the defenders soon realised the cause was lost in trying to catch him. Great move!
So, the game comfortably won and full credit to BOTH teams for playing such a high standard of rugby in awful conditions.
12-5 Eccles at the final whistle.
Thanks to Lee for bringing the Wigan boys over to Eccles.
Thanks to Chris for the whistle and Vicky for the match stats. It doesn’t happen without all this help.
Eccles Squad: Ollie, Max, Shayne, Lucas (Capt), Scott, Alfie, Cameron, Matthew, Carter, Evan, Joe, Heath, Fletcher, Johnnie, Finn, Jake (& Liam)