Just as you thought spring had sprung and summer was just around the corner we played our last game of the season in cold, damp and miserable conditions at Trafford MV. On the plus side the poor weather did stop the hordes of “bitey” insects that usually feast on my legs when at Trafford!
Rather than the expected 1-1 match, Broughton Park were also in attendance. Interesting as MV play in thick black and white hoops, BP play in thin black and white hoops and we play in … Que the bibs! Due to numbers of MV, who could raise three teams, we ended up with Eccles and BP teams plus a Barbarians team from BP (4 players) and Eccles (3 players). This meant six teams playing 3 games each of 15 minutes.
Before the start of the contest, all players were reminded of last week’s defeat, that it was a team game and not to play one-man rugby!
Game 1: Eccles v Broughton Park
Team: Ben, Charlie, Guy, Jack, Josh, Lewis, and Reece
Seconded to Barbarians: Lucas, Mikey and Mitch
Within minutes of the kick-off it was obvious that the game was going to be a mismatch. Eccles were passing the ball around like the Harlem Globetrotters and stormed into the lead. Ben broke several loose tackles, Charlie used his famous side step and Reece outpaced the defence to go 3-0 up inside the first 2 minutes.
In defence, nothing was getting through as BP were forced backwards tackle by tackle. BP were reduced to 6 men due to injury and the Eccles team was adjusted accordingly down to 6. Jack was next to cross the whitewash but was adjudged to have fended as a BP player was pointing to his arm as a point of contact. Jack did get on the score sheet with a typical strong straight run (keeping his arms tucked in tight) barging through the BP defence to touch down.
Not to be outdone, the freight train also barged through to take the lead to 5-0
From the restart BP tried to come forward but were met with a wall of blue and white with Ben in the centre of it. Following the tackle and a further BP injury, the teams were reduced to 5 v 5. This gave a lot more space for the BP “tricky” speedster and after jinking forwards, backwards left and right crossed for a BP try.
From the restart Eccles were passing nicely. Two drives from Guy and from Lewis, creating space out wide and an expert dummy from Charlie avoiding an offside BP player gave the ball to Ben for his second try.
Eccles were now in cruise (or should that be complacent) mode as BP were allowed a second try of the game with their tricky speedster taking advantage of the space.
Guy crossed the line, but in the aftermath of complaining BP players the ball was brought back and turned over for a fend on the shoulder. Stern tackling again pressured the BP attack and forced them backwards and ultimately turning the ball over. Quick hands then allowed Jack to score in the corner.
As Eccles switched off, BP went in for the last score of the game but the result was not in doubt.
Final Score: Eccles (Ben 2, Jack 2, Charlie, Lewis, Reece) 7-3 Broughton Park
Man Of The Match: Ben (Everywhere on the pitch!)
Game 2: Trafford MV I v Eccles
Team: Ben, Charlie, Guy, Josh, Lucas, Mikey and Mitch
Seconded to Barbarians: Jack, Lewis and Reece
With the squad shuffled and three different players going over to the Barbarians it was Eccles to start the game. Really neat passing gave Lucas the opportunity down the wing but he was tackled into touch. Excellent defence forced a turnover and this time Mitch ran cross field only to be held up short of the line.
Hard tackling and spirited defence from both sides made this an intriguing match as half way through the match it was still 0-0 although it was Eccles that had better opportunities and field position. The deadlock had to be broken at some point and it was … a missed tackle and a side step put MV 1-0 up against the run of play.
More passing from the restart had Eccles going forward and pressing the MV line in the corner. With the whole team in an attacking line, Mitch took the ball as the first receiver to run sideways across the field to score in the opposite corner, two metres forward, 30 across!
Eccles forced a mistake from the restart with Charlie first to the loose ball. The pass to Mikey and straight out to the charging Guy gave him the momentum to plough through the would be tacklers to put Eccles 2-1 up. A quick restart by MF found the Eccles defence unprepared. A last gasp tackle from Josh only slowed the inevitable as a quick offload got MV back in the game at 2-2.
From the restart, Eccles got back into the groove. Plenty of passing was pulling the MV defence left and then right. Josh found Charlie in space and a step and drive later Eccles were back in front.
With the match being so tight and going behind again, frustration was building in the MV camp. After a lost ball at the restart and outburst from MV gave away 5 meters to Eccles and a reset tackle count. Two drives by Ben and Guy moved the ball close to the MV line where Mikey to Lucas to Josh in the corner secured a really hard fought victory.
Final Score: Trafford MV 2-4 Eccles (Charlie, Guy, Josh, Mitch)
Man Of The Match: Charlie (great in defence, looking for the pass)
Game 3: Trafford MV II v Eccles
Team: Jack, Josh, Lewis, Lucas, Mikey, Mitch and Reece
Seconded to Barbarians: Ben, Charlie and Guy
For the final game of the day (and the season) Eccles lines up against a second team from Trafford. With praise abound for the excellent passing performances in the first two games we were ready for a grandstand season finale. But this game was different.
From the start the MV players were more up for the challenge and through lax defending quickly raced in to take a lead on the first play. The restart was passed to Jack who on the first play carried three tacklers over the line for 1-1.
Mv struck again on the next play to go back in front. Lewis charged forward and we were back to one-man rugby again! With the ball subsequently lost in the tackle back came MV to double their advantage.
Eccles were now inviting pressure with the mistake count racking up, whether it be tackled into touch, knock-ons or failed “Hollywood” passes. MV were on top! Quick ball allowed the MV winger to dart for the corner then out of nowhere came Josh … lined up the player and made a perfect try scoring tackle taking the player and the ball (and probably any parent that would have been in the way) two yards into touch. With the watching parents wincing and the MV player dazed and struggling to get up, a brief stoppage was called for while treatment was given. Whispers of the tackle could be heard amongst the onlookers with one describing it as the “best tackle seen all season!”.
After a quick talking to during the stoppage Eccles seemed to get back on track, back to basics and back into the game. Strong running from Jack from close range doubled his tally for the game. MV hit straight back with a jinking run and with nobody putting a shoulder in, skipped through the team to restore a two try lead.
A Lewis break from the restart had the line beckoning only to be held up in-goal. The next tackle from five meters out saw Mitch held up and then Reece. Eccles perseverance paid off as two quick passes from the tackle gave Josh the needed space to half the deficit. Josh then pounced on a loose ball from the restart and Mitch sprinted away to level the game.
With two minutes left it became “same old, same old”. Direct from the restart, MV scored. From the Eccles restart Jack drove the ball to the left corner before Mitch then sprinted across field to level again. Yet again, first play from the restart MV regained the lead. The match official shouted for the last play of the game … Lewis took the ball up the middle carrying three MV tacklers, with three in the attacking line waiting for the pass, Lucas opted to go himself (with everyone shouting to pass) and evaded the MV cover to dive in for a 6-6 final score
Final Score: Trafford MV 6-6 Eccles (Jack 2, Mitch 2, Josh, Lucas)
Man Of The Match: Josh (awesome tackling … in fact, tackle of the season!)
Is it me or are these reports getting longer! Anyways two words left for the season’s match reports …