The last few Sundays have come and gone without so much of a runout so goes without saying that the boys were raring to run their sock off in the last game of 2015. In a reversed fixture, due to their pitched being waterlogged, Leigh arrived at Gorton Street in abundance. Eccles had the full squad of 12 available whilst Leigh had almost double!
After discussion with both the Leigh coaches and the boys we decided to play two games, six-a-side. Eccles, therefore, had two bare teams whilst Leigh had two teams both with four or five rolling subs.
The squad was split as follows:
Archie, Charlie, Guy, Lewis, Reece and Tommy managed by Martin
Ben, Josh, Lucas, Mikey, Mitchel and Nathan managed by myself
If there are any roving reports that wish to provide a report for the two other matched please email me and I will update the report.
The first game started in a brutal and very physical way. Eccles had the kickoff and used their set of tackles to the full and came up just short of the line. The turnover then saw Leigh do exactly the same but the phenomenal defence kept them at bay. The next set to Eccles ended up in a mistake capitalised upon by Leigh to take the lead.
Further Eccles mistakes kept them on the back foot and Leigh again took advantage to double their lead.
From the restart, Nathan charged onto the first ball crashing through the would be Leigh tacklers and continued through to the try line to get Eccles on the board.
Leigh were starting to get their off-loading going which gained them valuable ground through the centre of the field before spinning it out to the wing to regain the two try lead and then increace it to three. From the restart a quick offload to Mitch saw him touch down in the corner (with a hint of foot in touch but the referee gave the try). Just before half time the industrious Ben broke through the tackle to also get on the scoresheet. 3-4 down at half time.
The second half brought on a change of tactics from Eccles. The offload and quick hands provided three quick tries, from Nathan Lucas and Mitch. Leigh got their fifth from the restart and brought the game back level from an Eccles knock on.
With the game in the balance tries came in tit for tat with Ben and then Nathan (for his hatrick) crossing the whitewash. Going into the final minute at 8-8 Nathen broke free from his own try line to sprint the full length of the field to score the try of the game (not sure who was more tired him or me!).
As the game went into overtime, a missed tackle allowed Leigh into the corner to level
Score: Eccles 9 – 9 Leigh
Tries: Nathan (4), Ben (2), Mitchel (2), Lucas
Man Of The Match: Nathan (immense tackling, strong physical running and four tries)
If socks had already been run off in the first game, then the second game they must have run off their feet, calves, legs … you name it!!!
The game started in much the same way as the first, physical, hard, big tackles. The heavy pitch starting to sap the Eccles strength but their character would not let them give up. With Leigh using the rolling subs to great advantage (swapping four players every 5 minutes) soon went 3 tries to the good with only a fine reply from Lucas, scooting away to score in the corner.
At half time the muddy pitch, the first game played and the lack of subs was taking its toll. The boys were “dead on their feet” but did not give up.
The fight continued with Ben and Nathan scoring in quick succession at the start of the second half to draw level but the fresh legs provided by numerous rolling subs took the advantage back from the restart and bar a consolation try from Lucas went on to win the game.
Score: Eccles 4 – 8 Leigh
Tries: Lucas (2), Ben (1), Nathan (1)
Man Of The Match: Lucas (Brave in the tackle, excellent support play, two tries)
In summing up the two games the whole team gave everything … and then some. They stuck at their task and even when the tank was empty they kept going and never gave up. The tackling was second to none with upfront, head-on tackles from Nathan and Ben to the last ditch tackles from Josh and Lucas. While the results were not in our favour the performance was exceptional and I am proud of the way we played and the effort put in. I could not ask for more!
Finally I would like to thank the Leigh coach refereeing both games. The games flowed, lenient sensible decisions allowing tries for both teams when technically an infringement could have been blown up which all lead to two excellent competitive and fair games of rugby. Thank you