Eccles U9s v Sedgley Park – Home– Sunday 17th April 2016

The penultimate game of the season saw the U9s playing host to Sedgley Park. Blue skies and sunshine greeted the teams on a firm and threadbare pitch. With last weeks game at Blackpool cancelled due to low numbers the team were up for the game, maybe “too” up for it. Even in the warm up, aggression seemed to be high, dummies spat out and toys thrown out of the pram … I think the signs of what was to follow were already evident

Squad: Archie, Ben, Charlie, Guy, Jack, Josh, Lewis, Mikey, Mitch

From the start it was a physical battle. The first three sets of tackles for each side were played out for no tries. Sedgley were the first side to score with a long range mazy run to the corner.

From the next set Eccles hit back, bludgeoning runs from Jack, Lewis and Guy up the middle gave Ben space to jink into the corner. Sedgley were driven back from the restart but a missed tackle gave space to run into and a second long range try for Sedgley restored their lead. Eccles resumed their onslaught up the middle with the usual suspects mixing it with the Sedgley team. Ben broke through two tackles but held on to the ball when the easy pass to the supporting Josh would have brought parity to the game. Further one man rugby did allow Jack to push through and get Eccles back level.

Tackles were flying in thick and fast as Josh perfectly timed a head on tackle to put his opponent firmly on his backside! The aggression started to boil over and high tackle from Eccles, gave away a penalty close to the try line from which Sedgley capitalised. Errors started to creep in for Eccles, on the first drive from the restart the ball was spilled and Sedgley moved two ahead. Again from the restart a knock on gave the ball away and Eccles were lucky to force the Sedgley recipient into touch and avert the danger.

First period: Eccles 2 – 4 Sedgley Park

After moaning about playing the whole half using one man rugby the team was asked to pass the ball out more and get the ball quicker out of the tackle. For the first few minutes the instructions were followed. Mitch took quick ball and darted through a gap to score then a simple passing move took the ball towards the Sedgley try line before Jack collected quick ball from the tackle to get Eccles back on level terms. Easy when you know how!!!

The next passage of play saw tit-for-tat as Sedgley scored followed by Josh reaching full length for the line, then Sedgley again followed by Mikey driving the ball up the centre and offloading to Jack to make it 6-6.

Just as you thought Eccles were gaining the upper hand, the ball was lost in the first tackle twice in succession, both times resulting in Sedgley tries.

Second Period: Eccles 6 – 8 Sedgley Park

In the third and final period the errors kept coming. Only resolute defence from Archie (yes … Archie – two excellent tackles almost back to back) kept Sedgley at bay as unforced errors gave the ball away time and time again and despite the shouts to pass the ball all the players seemed intent on tacking the Sedgley team on alone. Two further tries were scored by Sedgley and the match finished with a first defeat in 2 months.

Final Score: Eccles (Jack 3, Ben, Josh, Mitch) 6 – 10 Sedgley Park

As for most games MOTM could be awarded to a few different players for different reasons. Josh’s tackling was, again, second to none. Guy, Jack and Ben were all big and strong trying to push through the Sedgley front line. This week, MOTM goes to Lewis. Like the three previously mentioned he ploughed into Sedgley time and time again but was the only one running onto the ball. This backs up his excellent performance against Sale, the Freight Train is back. Well done.

Man Of The Match: Lewis

Overall there were some good individual performances but it was actually a poor “Team” performance and not in keeping with recent weeks. Whilst commitment and aggression were visible, the application was not, with too many errors and taking the ball into a needless tussle with the opposition. Numerous times an easy pass could have led to a try but instead the ball carrier tried to do it all themselves rather than play for the team.

The last game of the season is next week, let’s go out on a high and a big TEAM performance.

Darren