What a difference a week makes!
Two outstanding performances last week including great tackling, fantastic off-loads, excellent forward running and brilliant overall “team” performance compared to two disappointing “first half” of each match and lots of one man rugby.
With a number of players still away due to half term etc we had a squad of 8 to play against Tyldesley and a surprise opponent in Orrell.
The squad: Archie, Ben, Charlie, Guy, Josh, Lewis, Mikey and Tommy.
The first game was against the hosts, Tyldesley. In years gone by this has always been a very even and competitive fixture and this proved to be the same again.
Unfortunately there isn’t much to say about a disappointing first half. Tyldesley were much the quicker, energetic and enthusiastic team taking a 3-0 lead due to numerous Eccles errors (knock-ons aplenty and watch the touchline!). The only thing of note was a strong run from Guy carrying three Tyldesley tacklers over the line to score our only try of the half. The least said the better and going into the break 4-1 down!
After a stern half time team talk the second half saw a big improvement and the Eccles team came to life.
Ben was the first to make his mark after a quick offload saw him dart in from close range. Tommy followed suit with the second Eccles try of the half … was the comeback on?
Tyldesley hit back scoring a dubious “foot in touch” try, following a brave last ditch tackle from Josh, that was given for the effort of the Tldesley winger rather than sticking to the rules. This generosity proved costly!
Ben was starting to run riot, bursting tackles and giving it large to Tyldesley and reaping two further tries taking the score to 6-5, Eccles were back in the game and the boys sensed it, tackling as though their lives depended on it. Ben, Guy, Lewis and Josh all getting stuck in with big hits.
Guy picked up a loose ball deep in the Eccles half and evaded the Tlydesley front line and was running free, a neat step inside avoiding a deliberate trip saw him sprint for the line to score … or not as the match official brought the play back almost 50m and 20 seconds as Tyldesley had no advantage from a knock on.????????????????????????????? (Unjust … No try, no shout of playing advantage, no sending off for tripping and the ball turned over)
Tyldesley took full advantage driving the ball home and restoring a two try advantage.
Yet more drama was to come, a high tackle from Tyldesley on Charlie (that’s correct, on Charlie not Mitch!) meant Tyldesley were down to 6 men. From the restart Lewis, then Guy drove the ball just one metre short of the try line in the left hand corner. With all the Tyldesley defence bunched around the tackle, shouts of get it wide rang round the away crowd. The ball was passed out to Archie to gain the one metre needed and score in the far right hand corner.
The timekeeper indicated only 30 seconds remaining, Tyldesley had the ball and were a try to the good, time was running out! As the Tyldelsey broke forward a crunching tackle from Josh, knocked the ball free. Charlie swept the ball up, pinned back his ears to go the full length of the pitch to tie the game as the 30 seconds were up.
But that was not the end of the game … Tyldesley restarted and drove forward. Mikey made the tackle … and that was the end of the game … nope! The ball was played again, this time Lewis took down his man … and the game ended … nope! The ball was played again with Guy and Ben teaming up for the tackle. Surely that was the end … nope … the ball was played again allowing Tyldesley to score in the corner. Would you believe … the final whistle was blown!
Gutted, annoyed, outraged (add your own words!!!)
Eccles Tries: Ben (3), Archie, Charlie, Guy, Tommy
Eccles Man of the Match: Guy (excellent strong running and tackling)
If the first game wasn’t demanding enough we had a quick turnaround and faced the rugby league boys of Orrell RUFC
Unfortunately there isn’t much to say about a disappointing first half (de ja vu anyone?). Orrell were much quicker in defence, stronger in the tackle and played some really good passing rugby. Josh was racking up the tackle count for Eccles and Tommy did get a Try in the first half but compared to Orrell’s six was a poor show!
As in the first game the second half was a different story! From a quick restart Lewis broke the first tackle sprinting away for the first try of the second half and the team grew in confidence.
As much as strong running was keeping the scoreboard ticking over for Orrell it was matched try for try from Eccles with quicker ball, offloads and spreading the play wide. As the half wore on, tries were traded like for like with Ben and Charlie (2) maintaining the deficit but never really threatening a comeback.
In the dying seconds a great run by Lewis took the ball one metre short of the try line and a quick pop of the ball gave Josh the chance to dive in for the last try of the game.
A much better second half performance but Orrell were still on top 10-6.
Eccles Tries: Charlie (2), Ben, Josh, Lewis, Tommy
Eccles Man of the Match: Josh (demon tackling and the “half winning” try!!!!)
Not wanting to put any sort of cheesy cliché into my match report (honest!) both matches were definitely “games of two halves”. Both first halves were full of knock-ons, in touch turnovers and in general one man rugby.
Both second halves show we can play rugby, we can offload quickly, we do have fight, we can compete and we don’t give up (I have stopped short of “we do run on to the ball”)
Much more to do in training … see you on Wednesday!