Eccles U9s v Bolton – Away – Sunday 14th February 2016

“Roses are red
They also have petals
The best Under 9s team on the day
Just had to be Eccles!”

Under perfect conditions we made the short trip to local rivals Bolton. For the second week running the sun was shining in clear blue skies and with the Bolton pitch in fantastic condition it was down to the U9s to entertain the crowd.

A full turnout, again for the second week running, allowed two teams to be picked by team captains Guy and Lewis. For the first time this season, we had the greater numbers and with Bolton only having 7 meant that we played two matches against one Bolton team. In addition both Martin and I could watch all the action.

Game 1: Archie, Guy, Jack, Mikey, Reece and Tommy

Winning the toss was only just the start. From the get-go the Eccles boys took it to Bolton and they never looked back. Three drives up the middle and then a break from Reece opened the scoring. If the Bolton scouts had been at Gorton Street last week they would have known that giving the ball to a big man is pointless with Tommy and Jack in the team!

That being said Bolton gave it a go but met the Eccles wall time and time again. With the sterling defence also came the quick attack. Turnover ball gave Tommy to dance past the defence running 3 times the length of the pitch (forwards then backwards to the left then the right) to score.

Archie and Mikey both took turns to run at the Bolton defence and Guy carried the ball in to a two man tackle and then proceeded to drive the players 10 meters backwards before the tackle was completed. Not to be out done Jack picked up the ball in his own half barging through four tackles and still having the strength to cross the try line. Another turnover from Bolton gave a second try to Tommy who after a quick pass on the Eccles try line sprinted past the whole of the sleeping Bolton defence.

Bolton were looking a beaten team already but did muster an attack playing out tackle 6, tackle 7 and tackle 8 before the Eccles defence gave way. With seconds on the clock Jack showed a clean pair of heels as Eccles finished the half as they started. All the Eccles players went off for a well deserved drink only for the official to advise that wasn’t the half time whistle??????

Bolton continued with the restart and a lapse in concentration allowed Bolton to gain their second try.

The second half followed the same pattern with the crowd shouting the tackle count (well just me) to assist the referee. Guy got on the scoresheet with what is becoming his trademark dart to the left wing and then follow the touchline into the corner (twice). Reece also doubled his tally as did Tommy and Jack

Whilst the above concentrates on the try scoring the biggest positive of the game came from the performance of Archie. For the first time this season he seemed to have his game head on. He took the first drive of the game and was constantly in the thick of the action in attack (although didn’t get on the score sheet) and apparently I missed his tackle (maybe I was helping a Bolton player at the time).

All in all an excellent game from Eccles.

Final Score: Eccles (Jack 4, Tommy 4, Guy 2, Reece 2) 12 – 6 Bolton

Man Of the Match: Archie

Game 2: Ben, Charlie, Josh, Lewis, Lucas, Mitch and Nathan

With the words “That’s how to do it” ringing in their ears the next team took their starting positions for Game 2.

Note … I apologise if I get the number of tries scored by each player wrong they were coming thick and fast!!!

With a new Eccles team to play, Bolton went back to their “big man” game plan but to no effect at all. Nathan, Ben and Lewis all hitting the tackles with great enthusiasm as the Bolton team wilted under the pressure.

Ben kicked off the scoring in typical energetic fashion followed by Mitch, Nathan x2, Lewis and Mitch again. Lucas was also making the most of lacklustre Bolton defence to score twice, the first being an outrageous dummy where all the Bolton team stepped to follow the intended pass with Lucas scooting up the touchline instead.

In the second half the Eccles tackles were piling the pressure on and Bolton capitulated. Knock ons from the restart not once, twice but three times gave Eccles the ball with only one result … an Eccles try, Lucas, Lewis and Charlie benefitting.

Even when Bolton did manage to defend the full set of tackles and gain a turnover, the frustration bubbled over in which a Bolton player kicked the ball away and the official gave a penalty the other way from which Eccles promptly scored, Lucas taking advantage.

Finally the best try, not just of this match but also the one before, saw a jinking run from Tommy who offloaded to Charlie. A trademark step of his right foot cut across the realigning Bolton defence and then just before the tackle provided a perfect pass for Josh to then dive below the Bolton cover. Excellent rugby!!!!

A totally dominant performance from Eccles against a very below par (and probably extremely tired towards the end) Bolton side.

Final Score: Eccles (Mitch 4, Nathan 4, Lucas 3, Ben 2, Lewis 2, Josh, Charlie,) 17 – 3 Bolton

Man Of The Match: Nathan

Two awesome performances that improved on last week. The tackling was better all round, support play was evident and the speed at playing the ball was much quicker. As Martin pointed out, in the team huddle after the second game, there are still things to work on. Both games were predominantly one man rugby (but with quick play the ball). Most of the runs did have supporting players that were not needed but at times we could have made things easier by passing the ball out. And a number of times getting the ball out wide earlier would give much more space to run in to.

Well done boys, excellent performance, keep it up – Tyldesley at home next week