Eccles U12s -v- Preston Grass Hoppers/Wythenshawe

The U12s took on another round-robin fixture at the weekend in an effort to reverse recent back-to-back defeats. So it was thanks to Leeann, our wonderful fixtures secretary, that two teams sent respectable numbers along to Gorton Street.

First up were Preston GH.

The boys have encountered some real good, hard games down the last few seasons against Hoppers, so it was an opportunity to test themselves against a quality opposition.

With near perfect conditions for rugby, Eccles kicked off, although just managing to field a full team after late selection difficulties, their intention was laid clear from Referee Clarkes’ first whistle as Lewis and Scott chased the KO to apply some early pressure. As the Hoppers centre caught the ball he had one eye on the rushing attackers and didn’t quite take possession cleanly. Lucas snapped up the loose ball and was supported into the contact by Evan.

With Matt playing in an unusual role of scrum half, he directed a lovely pass to Heath who, against his old club, wasn’t about to waste his moment of glory! Still with a lot to do before reaching the try line, Heath took a great angle to shift the Hoppers defence sideways and then use his power to breach the tackles before finishing cleanly! 1-0 Eccles.

The second try came after shortly after, following some good ball carrying by Shayne. A good set-up at the ruck saw Matt involved again as he slipped the ball to Adam just on the halfway mark. Adam set off up the right hand wing to blister his way past the defender for a well taken score.

As halftime loomed, Hoppers rallied to put in some good aggressive attacks down the middle to force Eccles onto their back-foot. A restart following a Hoppers foot in touch, was taken quickly deep in the Eccles half as Evan, in fine form, crashed the ball up for Maxwell to support him at the breakdown. This time Matt took the ball from Ollie to finish as the whistle sounded the halftime interlude.

Halftime:  3 – 0  Eccles.

Jake came on to replace Finn at hooker as the second half kicked off. The game plan now revolved around getting the ball wide, and quickly, to get the wingers involved. Scott was on form although a little frustrated at not getting the service he desired out wide. Lewis constantly looked to get involved and saw some good ball retention which would see him on the score sheet eventually. It was Max who stepped up next with his trademark bulldoze to the line from a break down close to the Hoppers try line.

Taz put in a tremendous tackle to stop a promising Hoppers attack to dislodge the ball that turned defence into attack. Lucas, also in great form, scooped up the ball to move it laterally to Ollie. As Ollie stood up in the tackle, he just managed to ship it to Heath who set off from a standing start before claiming his second try. Matthew then grabbed his second as Shayne came on for Max and Ollie dropped out to balance things. Cameron, back from injury, enjoyed a great game and would also finish the day with his name on the score card.

In the end, although a fantastic effort from Hoppers, it was Eccles who took the spoils comfortably 8-0

In the second game, it was a newly formed Wythenshawe team in only their second ever game that took to the field. Eccles dropped off a couple of players in the scrum to further balance the contest. Ollie had licence to play along side his centres in a flat attacking line, rather than staying deep to thwart any threats, as he took a pop pass from Evan before snaking towards the try line.

It was looking from very early on that this would be one-way traffic. However, the Wythenshawe boys never gave up and the spirit they showed was evident all through their squad.

The Eccles boys now revealed themselves to be able to finally play some open rugby. With some slick moves off the training field, it would test them with ball in hand. Finn came back on and slotted back into his hookers role. With a clean hook near the ‘shawe line, Matt fed Lucas who drew the defenders before finding Adam. Again, his speed of foot was too much as he finished to set the score board rolling.

In the second half, with a few changes in the Eccles ranks, Cameron nailed his first for the club in between Lewis (also bagging his first tries) claiming three on the day.

Evan deservedly got on the score card, along with a wide spread of scorers, to give the Gorton St lads a comfortable win at 11- 0

Coaches point of view:

It was refreshing to see the boys ‘cut loose’ and enjoy the kind of rugby they have threatened to play for a while now. If they can put the same levels of efforts and skills and confidence in to the next few fixtures, there should be some great contests. The range of scorers stretched across the squad and it was great to see our new boys bagging tries.

We still need to focus on our game plan and getting the ball to do the work rather than making unnecessary runs, especially into the contact zone. However, watching the lads carry the ball comfortably and retaining possession instead of ‘giving it away cheaply’ was good to see.

There’s more to come, but, they CAN do it!

  • Memorable Mentions: Ref Andy, officiating against his old club and doing a wonderful job (in OUR view anyhow Andy!) Vicky for the match stats and helping clear away the playing surface after the games (and Mike also!). Pam for food logistics and getting 30+ lads fed.

Thanks and good luck to John from Wythenshawe and thanks to Mark from Hoppers also.

  • Eccles Squad: Ollie, Lucas (Capt), Jake, Scott, Shayne, Lewis, Cameron, Adam, Taz, Max, Matthew, Heath,  

Training this Weds 11th Oct from 6.30pm. All welcome including new players!