The under 12s saw a change of venue on Sunday morning as they made the short trip over the ship canal to Sale’s Carrington training facility.
Sale -v- Eccles
With a perfect playing surface and a wide pitch to attack from the wings, the Gorton street boys looked on with an appetite to put last weeks’ trudge behind them.
Now, here’s where the plans go astray: with limited squad numbers to select from due to a number of boys being unavailable, we looked at bolstering our squad with a few players form Tyldesley who kindly stepped into the breach.
Up first were Sale, the hosts, who were blessed with a good squad size as well as some very talented players…. and, some very big lads! Not to be fazed though, our boys knew their game plan should stretch the opposition where we could exploit the wide spaces to create scoring opportunities. If only……
Despite a really good midweek session on the training pitch where we fine tuned our attacking moves, we never put this into practice come game-time. Constantly, we chose the wrong option of going for the ‘power play’ of players charging off individually into the waiting wall of Sale defenders. Instead of moving the ball and hitting the gaps, we were caught in possession with support arriving too late.
It wasn’t for the lack of trying however, as in similarity to last weeks’ performance, the boys didn’t quite gel as a unit, yet each one tried desperately to kick-start a team display they know they are capable of producing.
Jake, in his favoured role of hooker, showed some superb body angles into contact as well as a putting in some important tackles. Ollie also served up some wonderful clean tackles to deny Sale one or two certain tries. Lucas put in a tremendous captains display, with his trademark tackles and superb breaks from nothing.
Heath, back form illness that saw him miss out last week, showed all his strength to power through the contact zone, before setting the ball in the ruck or ‘popping’ it out of the tackle.
Evan, now well established in the pack, had to alternate between front row and second row; Adam took an early knock that further restricted the game plan, but returned later after Dr Dave patched him up! Fletcher occupied the wing but had limited possession to feed off; James continued his transition from the league code and showed good lines of running with the ball in hand. Alfie continued his good run of form with some important tackles; Carter always looked strong into the contact area: Johnnie tried to ignite his feet of flames but with no room to work in, was starved of attacking options.
At half time it was 3-0 to Sale.
The second half saw Johnnie leave the field following a bang to his shoulder, and he was replaced by one of Tyldesley’s quick lads just before Lucas scored an excellent try.
It was always going to be an uphill battle with the limited numbers to select from, but, try as they could, the Carrington outfit were stronger in every area.
Final score: 6-1
Eccles v- Tyldesley
The second game proved more of a fairer contest as they [Tyldesley] were also suffering with selection problems and unavailability. Adam returned to the action but we still required two guest players from Sale to even numbers up. Ironically, Tyldesley also took two players form Sale and it was both of these boys who scored consecutively to put ‘Bongs up 0-2
Carter was beginning to come into the game: he took a pop pass from Ollie to crash up the middle to set the ruck up. Heath took the ball from the Tyldesley scrum half before shipping it along to Adam. With a little shuffle of his feet, he made the space to attack before launching up the left wing to race to the line for a great score.
With the score looking respectable at 1-2, the Gorton St boys just had enough left in the tanks to keep the flow of attacks heading in the right direction. Again, Heath and Lucas were instrumental in setting up the next try. Jake hit the floor and set the ball as Evan just did enough to secure the ruck. Heath then linked with Lucas who put Carter away to finish through a crowd of defenders with a great body angle.
Final score: Eccles 2 – 2 Tyldesley
A much better performance from last week, but we’re still not there in terms of team performance. Individually, there is everything we need in great quantities. Even with low numbers, we should still be able to move the ball. We suffered from a depleted squad, but in the next few weeks, a lot of boys will return and this will obviously strengthen the squad and improve performances. It WILL COME!!
Keep working boys and you’ll get the rewards.
Eccles U12s Squad:
Lucas (Capt), Ollie, Evan, Heath, Alfie, James, Johnnie, Adam, Jake, Carter, Fletcher
Thanks to Andy for the whistle; Vicky for the match stats and Phil and Mike from Tyldesley and Sale respectively, for their loan of players.
Training this weds 4th Oct: 6.30pm, all welcome including new players!