Eccles Squad; Mathew, Sohan, Ethan, Jack, Jonnie, Ben, Finn, Bailey, Danniel, Maxwell, Seb,
Eccles under 9s were invited upto the ‘Fylde Riviera’ on Sunday and enjoyed a series of games that complimented the perfect conditions for rugby! This, without three regular players.
As is the norm, our oponents were blessed were player numbers which meant three games against fresh legs. However, as is also the norm, this didn’t peturb our boys one bit as they set out their intentions from the first whistle of the first game. Jonnie, starting at the back of the line in the fullbacks position, supported a strong drive by Maxwell before the ball made its way to Jonnie on the right wing. With half the length of the pitch to attack; Jonnie loves nothing more than an open space in front of him to show his speed. First try to Eccles. Bailey continues to grow in confidence and showed how much he’s developed recently with some great ball handling and lines of running to linked well with Danniel.
The early statement appeared to kick-start the Fylde boys attack into action, but every where they looked to attack, the Eccles defence stood firm. Through the middle; Jack was a rock forcing the Fylde attackers down the flanks where Seb and Ben waited! Turn-over ball was pounced on by Ben who took his turn to show his speed. Ethan was given licence-to-roam and soon added to the score line. The attcking options were all over the pitch for the boys and their strength in defence constantly provided the platform our speedy lads to thrive on. Finn put some tremendous tackles in to stop the opponents attacks through the middle, and then shown some lovely soft hands to pop the ball out of the contact.
In the second game, Fylde added fresh legs to the starting line up, as did Eccles with Mathew and Sohan stepping in. Again, up the middle of the pitch is where these two do their stuff! Danniel this time; hunting behind Mathew and waitng for his chance to present itself and taking it sweetly. The intensity in the contact area was raised a level and Seb made some wonderful try saving tackles forcing the ball to be handed over to Eccles. Ben and Ethan showed that they may just be the fastest wingers around with the ball in hand! The game plan was working well but Fylde weren’t about to give up. A decent try of their own gave their boys an incentive to pick the game up. This only prompted Jack and Maxwell to reply in kind! Showing some great body angles into contact ensured possesion was kept to release our attackers.
The third and final game was the talking point of a great feast of rugby; Fylde put out their strongest team to exploit the tiring Eccles legs. A change of team (and a change of refferee) saw the hosts race into a 4-0 halftime lead. This led to the Eccles coaches making a few tactical changes of their own. Mathew and Maxwell paired up into their familiar wrecking combo, with Jack loitering just behind them and Danniel ready to snap up loose ball and feed the Speedsters! Mathew brought one back, quickly followed by the fizzing Ben. Fylde did score what would prove to be a vital try in the midst of the Eccles seige. Maxwell crashed over for the next score with Ben again exploiting the slightest of chances to make the line. The Fylde boys looked on, helpless and a little stunned. Eccles continued to look for the equalising try. Mathew (and the coaches, spectators, dog walkers, local bus drivers and life boat crews) though he’d done it! The refferee disallowing the try for agressive use of high elbows in scoring! Eccles changed the point of attack and went up the wing; Jonnine went in at the corner and again the check-out girls at the local Spar thought it was the equaliser! ….. Foot-in-touch was the decision!
In all of this excitement, the greatest attribute has to be bestowed upon the U9s, – and this goes for all the players on the day, from both clubs – but, in the heat of the final game, no one complianed or questioned the decisions. The spirit of rugby was there to be appreciated and admired from such young novices to the game. The same has to be said of the U11s game being played on the other pitch which finished 6 tries each!
As a coach and a player (and, before Paul Newton adds here; ‘ex-player’! ) and ex-club Captain, I have never received and heard such high praise and compliments about the club spirit and the abilities shown by our boys. For this, I spoke with our Club Chairman as the occasion deserved praise to the highest level. Fylde have asked that we make the fixture a permanent one in the comming seasons.
Well done to all.
Another big test awaits us this weekend; the only team to have beaten us in a straight shoot-out this season;
Sedgley Park! AWAY, KO 11.00am