A trip over to Didsbury Toc-H Rugby Club was in order for the last match at Under 14’s level for the Eccles lads who were looking to detox their minds and put their recent defeat in the Blacksticks final behind them on this gloriously sunny Spring day. Coach Kevin was in sole charge of the lads as Coach James away listening to his Best of Marvin Gaye cd & working on his rucking and mauling
Despite not having Chea available having sustained an ankle injury in the Final against Bolton, Eccles had a strong squad of 17 players including Leon who was to bring some continental flair to the game with his powerful mazey running. However Didsbury were suffering a shortage. As such, and despite Coach Kevin offering to lend players, it was agreed to play thirteen a side with Eccles having rolling subs.
Instead of the traditional two halves, the game was played over three equal thirds of 20, 35 and 30 minutes, possibly due to the fortnight guarantee on the officials lucky-lucky watch having ran out.
Eccles dominated from the start running in five tries in the first period, four of which were comfortably converted by Matthew, whist our hosts managed to run in a couple for themselves to leave Eccles ahead 33 – 17.
Eccles extended their lead in the second third with tries from Rob and Matthew W. The relentless pressure from Eccles on Didsbury was clearly taking its toll and their lads were beginning to tire. A tight hamstring at the close of the period ended the game for Didsbury’s impressive outside centre giving Eccles main handbag swinger Dan A the chance to line up at full back against his team mates with the scores at 52 – 17 to Eccles.
Dan played his part for Didsbury but couldn’t prevent Alex H, Rob and Matt W running in more tries during the final third to leave Eccles cooing at a fifty points plus winning margin (who’d have thought it, 12 months ago?) with the final score 76 – 22. The margin could have been more had it not been for a couple of handling errors that denied the incredibly impressive David and Joe from getting their names on the score sheet for the first time this season followed by a miscommunication between the referee and linesman Chris who was either doing semaphore or performing the Village Peoples YMCA with his bright yellow flag as Matthew W released Jack in the corner.
In a strange way Didsbury should take heart from the defeat. It was at this time last year the Eccles lads were at the end of a season that had yielded no wins and plenty of hammerings as the coaching team battled with a small and shrinking squad of lads, many of which were new to rugby. One year on and Eccles are a force to be reckoned with. Didsbury have some great players and I’ve no doubt that if they can maintain the current squad they will be a strong side at U15 level.
Eccles U14 Vital Statistics
Today’s Eccles Squad
Daniel A, Joshua G, Alex H, Elliott H, Brad P, Joe R, Max R, David S, Robert S, Albert T, Alex T, Matthew W, Jack W, Matthew L, Lewis K, James W, Oliver W, Le Leon
Score at close of 1st third 17 – 33
Score at close of 2nd third 17 – 52
Full Time Score 22 – 76
Eccles Men of the Match
Players Choice – Le Leon
Our French connection Leon picked up a bloody nose for his troubles but managed to impress everyone with his guile and tenacity showing off some silky French moves and collecting the Players Player of the match award. Fromage Frais!!
Coach Choice – Alex T
An impressive showing from Alex T earned him Coaches Player of the match award. Alex made good use of his time whilst he has been away injured and logged into the Matrix to download the ‘Run like Rob’ upgrade which he used well today, powering past the Didsbury lines on a number of occasions.
Parents Choice – Joe R
Joey Eccles earned Parents Player of the Match for one of his best performances of the season. Joe’s key contributions saw him make tries for Rob and Matthew with superbly timed passes. A number of penetrating runs (forward, one may have been diagonal, but none backwards) at the Didsbury defence and a ferocious hit to secure the ball in the ruck saw Joe land the award by just one vote.
The spread of votes for parents player of the game shows how well everyone of the lads played, with twelve of the seventeen lads getting one or more nominations.
Other Notable Mentions
Did anyone see David S put a foot wrong? I doubt it! Every high ball seemed to find its way into David’s hands and not one was dropped. David should have been on the score sheet too had it not been for the eagle eyed referee spotting the earlier knock on.
Dan A took one for the team by playing the last third for Didsbury following an injury to their outside centre – this could have been messy! Dan played his part and didn’t let Didsbury down, setting up a couple of good moves during his brief spell in black & gold.
What an impressive performance from Rob today scoring six tries and costing his dad £20 (£2.50/try & £10.00 for a hat-trick). But despite the baseball cap Rob isn’t just another Forrest Gump; he used his guile to ensure that almost every try he scored was carried to the posts to leave Matthew W a straightforward conversion.
Matthew W with his huge haul of 41 points from 5 tries & 8 conversions (that would be minimum £15 or perhaps even £25.00 in Rob terms) had a commanding game as captain, leading from the front and putting the graft in with some timely tackles when needed.
All the players deserve a mention, but it’s sunny outside. What a fantastic performance and a fitting final game of the season for Coaches Kevin and James
Alex H x 1
Matthew W x 5
Robert x 6
Matthew W x 8
Albert T for remembering to look for his boots but forgetting to bring them
All of the Eccles parents for not having listened at school during French – it sounded like an episode of Alo Alo out there at times. Bonnet de Douche!!
I did not know that!
Founded in 1924 as “Toc H Manchester” the club was situated in Victoria Park. After moving to various sites the club arrived in Didsbury and in 1986 the name was changed to “Didsbury Toc-H” to identify with the location of the clubhouse.
The “Toc-H” part comes from a soldiers club at Poperinghe in Flanders in the First World War. Soldiers and officers could get a respite from the battlefields. This place was named Talbot House in honour of a young lieutenant who was killed in action the year before. Signallers pronounced the letters ‘T’ as ‘Toc’ and ‘H’ as ‘House’. When the rugby club was founded, Manchester soldiers called the new club as “Toc-H Manchester.