After a couple of postponed games against Blackburn, Eccles welcomed the lads of Ormskirk RUFC to Gorton Street for the final group fixture of this years Blacksticks junior rugby challenge. A win for Eccles would see them progress into the Plate competition ahead of our visitors, anything else and Ormskirk would progress to the Plate with Eccles going on to challenge for the Vase.
As expected the weather had taken its toll on the pitches and we found ourselves on the pitches under the tunnel
Ormskirk get the game started with a huge kick deep into the Eccles half which Joe R takes comfortably in the bread basket. Eccles are straight on the offensive, pushing Ormskirk back towards their own 22 with a series of drives from their powerful forward line.
Ten minutes in and Ormskirk are struggling to cope with the Eccles pack as they are forced closer and closer to their own try line. The ball is loose and as Matt W drops on the ball he takes a blow to the back which forces him to leave the field for treatment. Eccles are slow to adapt to the change in personnel and as they look to attack the corner, the ball is lost and in their first moment of possession Ormskirk pass the ball through quick hands and eventually find their pacy centre who leaves everyone in his wake as he runs the full length of the pitch in just under 4 seconds to open up he scoring beneath the posts. A simple conversion and Eccles find themselves training by seven points.
0 – 7
A crushing blow but Eccles react well as straight from the restart they recover the ball and once again have Ormskirk on the back foot.
Ormskirk are showing fantastic defensive play and Eccles need to be alive to the counter attack.
The ball is taken in by Josh G, Eccles forwards are lightning quick to support him had the ball is recycled and passed from Shea to Joe R. Joe finds Dan G on the overlap, he strides forward, drawing the tackler and with perfect timing he sends the ball wide to Rob S who skips past two Ormskirk players before racing 30 metres to score in the corner. What a fantastic try from Eccles – straight from the training ground! The kick from wide of the posts falls just short but Eccles are back within two points of our visitors as the first half is brought to a close with the familiar toot of the referees whistle.
5 – 7 (Try – Rob S)
Eccles have been in control of the game throughout the first half and had been the victims of a fantastic breakaway try from one of the fastest lads we have come across. Surely a second half performance like the first would bring a deserved victory.
Half Time 5 – 7
Eccles start the second half and are immediately pushed back towards their own 22. Clearly the Ormskirk half time team talk had fired their lads up and they were enjoying their best spell of possession of the game. Eccles are defending steadfastly but Ormskirk force the ball over the line only to be thwarted by desperate defensive play from Dan G and Dan A that ensures the ball is not grounded.
Eccles continue to find themselves defending inside their own 22 but some loose play from Ormskirk sees Eccles awarded a penalty.
Plaaaaay, plaaaaay, plaaaaay is the instruction from Coach James and Eccles respond with Ellis P driving the ball at the heart of the Ormskirk forwards. He finds support in the form of Matt L who collects the ball and again drives forward with a purpose. Eccles ruck, the ball is quickly recycled and passed across the Backs until it lands in the hands of the nimble Harry C who in turn finds Matt W. Matt breaks forward, he fakes a pass to the supporting Brad P and makes a bid for glory showing pace and guile to leave the Ormskirk defence behind and score beneath the posts. Having scored the try and left a simple conversion Matt pops the ball over the posts to put Eccles in the lead for the first time in the game.
12 – 7 (Try – Matt W, Conversion – Matt W)
Ormskirk react well and soon have the ball over the Eccles try line only to find that yet again the ball could not be grounded. Fantastic defensive play from Eccles but while the lads are all congratulating one another, Ormskirk break wide and this time make no mistake as they score right in the corner to level the scores. A very difficult kick is missed and the game is tied with less than 10 minutes to play.
12 – 12
Eccles restart the game and are quick to chase the ball down, putting pressure on the Ormskirk defence. Ormskirk eagerness to win the ball back see’s them concede a penalty which Eccles take quickly. The ball is in the hands of James F who draws the tackle before finding Dan G, quick hands and the ball is with Ed H. Ed makes a run through the centre of play holding off tackles first from the Ormskirk Centre and then from their Hooker. His commitment is rewarded with a finger so dislocated that it changes direction quicker and more often than Brad P on one of his runs. Ed is taken off to hospital before nurse Danielle has chance to get her uniform on, but her efforts aren’t wasted as Joe R finds himself with a mashed spud as he drags an Ormskirk player out of the ruck. However he is back on his feet quickly and shouting “no no, I’m fine thanks” as the Eccles impromptu medical team offer up their assistance.
With less than 5 minutes to play Eccles break through again following sterling work from the little and large combo of Alex H and Max R. The ball looks to be almost twice its normal size due to an accumulation of mud but that doesn’t hinder the quick hands of Brad P as he finds David S on the crash run. David is tackled, the ball is under the control of Jack W who pop’s it out to Dan G. He in turn finds the onrushing James W. James breaks forward and is at full pace heading for the corner; he holds off one tackler and is away but a loose leg from the Ormskirk defender sees James floored and the defender on the receiving end of a yellow card. Eccles unfortunate not to be awarded a penalty try, the cheese slice deemed to be sufficient punishment.
Eccles fail to take advantage of their extra man and it is Ormskirk who almost secure the victory with a breakaway attack that is only foiled by the excellent backtracking of Jack W within 15 metres of the Eccles try line.
Full Time 12 – 12
A great performance today from the Eccles lads which should have resulted in a second Blacksticks victory of the season, but the statistics don’t lie and the boys had to settle for a share of the spoils leaving them one point behind Ormskirk in their Blacksticks group. Eccles showed some fantastic attacking play today, running in two superb tries but it could have been so different if their defensive play hadn’t been up to scratch. Twice Ormskirk had the ball over the line only to find Eccles strength and tenacity preventing a grounding. Then with just moments to go and down to 14 men Ormskirk broke through the Eccles lines and were prevented from scoring by Jack W and the following, supporting defenders.
The last time these two sides met was at U14 level and although Eccles ran up 12 points on that occasion too, Ormskirk took the victory with 36 points. Once again this is a clear demonstration of the out-workings of the hard work that the lads put in under the excellent tutelage of Coaches Kevin and James. The coaches are trying to develop and install into the squad a style and brand of rugby that is both attractive to watch, play and gets results. I believe they are getting there!
Eccles U15’s Vital Statistics
Todays Eccles Squad
- Josh G – Loose Head Prop
- David S – Hooker
- Ellis P – Tight-Head Prop
- James F– Second Row
- James W – Second Row
- Joe R – Blind-Side Flanker
- Rob J– Open-Side Flanker
- Alex H – Number Eight
- Dan G – Scrum-Half
- Harry C – Fly Half
- Brad P– Left Wing
- Shea S – Inside Centre
- Ed H – Outside Centre
- Max R – Right Wing
- Matt W – Full-Back (Captain)
Replacements – Dan A, Matt L, Albert T, Jack W, Archie H, Rob S, Oliver W
Scores on the Doors
Half Time – 5 – 7
Full Time – 12 – 12
Eccles Try Scorers – Rob S, Matt W
Eccles Conversions – Matt W
Eccles Men of the Match
Players Choice – James W
Coach Choice – Joe R
Parents Choice – Joe R
No coach Kevin today so Coach James was tasked with doing double the shouting from the touchline.
Ten players received votes for Parents ‘man of the match’ with Brad P, Jack W, Ellis P and Rob J all tied on just two votes behind Joey Eccles. If nothing else this shows how well every player did today
Thanks to Lindsay for taking Bowfinger Ed H off to hospital. Hopefully you’ll be able to get that geography homework done tonight
Special mention for todays match referee Chris ‘the Whistle’ Lee, who brought a little ray sunshine to a grey Salford day with his fabulous canary yellow top. He huffed and puffed his way around the boggy pitch, whistle in mouth keeping control of the game which almost spilled over on a couple of occasions in to:
- A mass brawl
- Qualifying event for Tough Mudder
- Fast flowing rugby
Voting closes at midnight
Huge thanks to Chris for referring todays fixture – no referee = no game. Very well done Chris.
As always and despite being out with a long term injury, Alex T turned up again, to show his support for his team mates – well done Alex, hopefully you’ll be back soon.
Danielle for ‘encouraging’ Joe R into a very quick recovery with her exuberant offer of medical assistance
Whoever it is that sneaks on at night and allows their dog to curl one out on the field without clearing it away afterwards. You are what your dog leaves behind!!
Well found Rob J though for finding and clearing it away!!
That trip in the last 2 minutes that denied Eccles the win
Those ruffians of the U14’s who briefly entertained us all as they whipped out some splendid Ladies handbags. I understand that Marquess of Queensberry rules were observed and enforced by ring master Archie
If anyone has a lodged bogie, please contact Bowfinger Ed H directly and he should be able to help
Get well soon Ed