With the scheduled fixture against Bolton called off in a 07:20 text message, new opponents in Heaton Moor were provided and a scramble began to get everyone down to Stockport in time for kick-off. Also being half term, a number of players were absent and we just managed to put out a team of seven with one sub. On the plus side, this gave everyone opportunity of more minutes on the pitch, less rotation and ultimately more time to shine … and shine they did!
Before I go onto the match reports, I would like to say a big Eccles welcome to Tommy and also “get well soon” to Lewis who turned up but then went home ill prior to kick off.
On a perfect autumnal day, the numbers of Heaton Moor allowed us to play two games against two different HM teams. The Eccles squad consisted of Ben, Charlie, Harry, Josh, Lucas, Mikey, Mitch and Tommy.
Eccles won the toss and kicked off. In an unprecedented start to any previous game, Mitch took the ball as first receiver, ran through the heart of the HM defence to chalk the first try of the game with only 10 seconds on the clock. (Normally we would be two down by this point!!!)
HM came back strongly scoring on their next possession to level followed by a second to take the lead.
Ben started to take the game to HM, making the hard yards up the middle and carrying three HM players over the try line to touch down. Eccles now had the momentum, ferocious tackling from Tommy (had the HM coaches saying “wow” and wincing with pain at the same time. Not sure how the HM players felt!) forcing mistakes and excellent offloads to keep the ball alive. All the players were revelling in the perfect playing conditions and the Eccles tries started mount up to a healthy lead.
HM were struggling to keep the Eccles attack at bay, with Tommy, Mitch and Ben almost impossible to stop and chalking up impressive personal try tallies.
Charlie and Lucas were also in the thick of the action with the former nabbing himself a brace of tries, the latter getting stuck into the tackles.
Final Score: Heaton Moor 9 – 14 Eccles (Ben 4, Mitch 4, Tommy 4, Charlie 2)
Man of the Match: Tommy (4 tries and crunching tackles just pipping Ben and Mitch)
Before the second game started we had a small pep talk. I am sure “awesome” was said more than once (every other word more like) plus highlighting some minor detail about “keeping away from the touchline” and the odd player being “quiet”
The second game started with HM in possession but did not take long for the turnover. Tommy picked up the loose ball and scoring the try in the corner. Defensive pressure on the restart gave the impressive Ben another chance to run with devastating effect taking Eccles into a 2-0 lead.
From the restart, quick feet and a burst of speed allowed HM back into the game but not for long … Mikey took the ball from the restart and for the first time ploughed straight into the HM defence, a quick offload saw Charlie on the score sheet. Minutes later saw the favour returned as Mickey powered over for his first try in an Eccles shirt
In the first match the Eccles offense was impressive but in the second game it was the defence that took centre stage keeping out many phases of the HM attack on the Eccles try line. Time and time again, Harry, Lucas, Josh involved in two and three man tackles eventually forcing turnovers. Quick ball saw Josh race away in his own half only stopped by a last gasp tackle with cries of “stay away from the touchline” ringing over the pitch. Again quick play, not letting the HM defence to reset saw Mitch go over for the try.
With time running down and Eccles in a slender 6-7 lead, Mitch took his obligatory high tackle but a loose ball from the penalty gave HM possession in their own half. A HM speedster broke down the wing and a certain try beckoning. However, Josh was tracking his run from the other side of the field and attempted the “flying tackle” just narrowly missing by millimetres on planting the shoulder square into the thigh of the attacker who placed the ball over the try line BUT there was a lineman’s flag calling the play back. According to David (Ben’s Grandad) it “would have been a perfect tackle from Josh if the HM winger had stayed on the pitch”.
The free pass from the touchline saw Charlie snake through the whole HM team taking the score to 6-8 on the final whistle.
Final Score: Heaton Moor 6 – 8 Eccles (Ben 2, Charlie 2, Tommy 2, Mikey, Mitch)
Man of the Match: Ben (Strong running, impressive tackling, leader on the pitch!)
Many thanks to Heaton Moor as both games played in a great competitive spirit. All in all two great games of rugby with some excellent passing, offloads and tackling (all commented on by the HM coaches.)
I have confirmed next week’s match with Tyldesley so hopefully no early morning kerfuffle to contend with.
Well done lads, keep it up