Like a Phoenix from the ashes, Eccles Junior Colts rose from the disappointment of a poor performance last week to put in one of their finest of the season against possibly the most physical in League C in a tense and pulsating thriller.
Both sides knew that nothing less than a win would suffice today in order to keep within touching distance of Wirral who had opened up a decent lead in the League. No quarter was asked and none given as the two teams played out a classic encounter in a game that was truly end to end.
Eccles opened up the scoring mid way through the first half following an amazing run down the left wing from Robert Strickland who broke from deep inside his own half. Rob broke left, evading the Winnington tackles, his pace took him to within ten metres of the Try line before he was bundled in to touch by the Winnington Full Back. From the resulting Winnington Line Out Joe Rapinett won yet another aerial battle, hooking the ball back to the waiting Dan Aspinall who collected the ball before making a bursting run through the defensive lines to score in the corner.
A fine kick from Matthew Walker drifted agonisingly wide of the upright but it was clear he had his kicking boots on today. Matthew staring in his usual Number Ten position found himself on the receiving end of a loose knee to the jaw which saw him replaced at Ten by Harry Candland. Matthew (of course) returned to the field and played out the game on the Wing. Ten was an ‘unlucky’ position today as Harry too was on the receiving end of a blow to an already troubled nose.
Winnington had the better of the early second half encounters and made the very best of this, running in two Try’s to take an unlikely 5 – 12 lead
Despite falling behind Eccles maintained their composure and continued to play their own brand of rugby. Their patience and indefatigable pressing eventually bore fruit as the Forwards took the ball in for what seemed like the millionth time, Joe Rapinett went to ground, supported by Matty Lee and Shea Skillicorn, the ball broke free, quick thinking Dan Aspinall was the first to react to the loose ball, picking it up and racing a good twenty five metres, eagerly pursued by the Winnington Backs, to score under the posts.
Matthew Walker stepped up to convert the kick which although in a fantastic position, carried a huge amount of pressure.
Coaches Kevin and Mark used the full extent of the Eccles squad, rotating players in order to try and keep as many fresh legs on the pitch as possible and also to rest one or two of the players who picked up slight knocks during the course of the match. Max Riley came on at Second Row and was immediately sat down as he found himself one on one with the Winnington big Number Eight. Max hung on and with the help of Brad Palmer prevented a clear break through the Eccles Midfield. Despite being riddled with Man-Flu, David Smith gave Coach Kevin options and saw half an hour of action as the hugely powerful Eccles Forwards were rotated – I could be wrong but I think that David played Hooker, Lock, Winger and goalkeeper today. Now then…..Jack Williams! What a performance from the bench today. Jack absolutely epitomised the character of an Eccles player today with his attitude, resilience and tiger like tackling. Coming on for a resurgent Robert Strickland, Jack showed pace going forward, tirelessly making himself available as a wide option as Eccles were on the attack and as any good Winger does, defending like a demon, often as the First line of defence for the Eccles Backs.
As the full time whistle sounded there were very contrasting reactions from the two groups of players. Eccles looked disappointed as they knew how close they came to a victory today and given a few minutes more they would surely have scored again, such was the pressure they were putting a tired Winnington Park defence under. In variance to the Eccles reaction Winnington looked tired and relieved, they had come to Eccles with an anticipation that their physical style of play would overwhelm Eccles but this was not to be the case as Eccles were just too resilient for such a one dimensional approach.
Half Time 5 – 0
Full Time 12 – 12
Eccles Junior Colts’s Vital Statistics
Todays Eccles Squad
- Josh Green
- Dan Aspinall
- Albert Tonoyan
- Matty Lee
- James Fletcher
- Joe Rapinett
- Ed Hampson
- Keiron Reed
- Nat Kelsey
- Matthew Walker
- Harry Candland
- Shea Skillicorn
- Jordon Burns
- Rob Strickland
- Brad Palmer
- Jack Williams
- Max Riley
- David Smith
- Will Toone
- Joe Borrett
- John Grundy
- Chris Gillard
- Josh Stafford
Eccles Try Scorers
Dan Aspinall x 2
Matthew Walker x 1
So many of the lads played well today, Matty Lee, James Fletcher and Nat Kelsey amongst many others all put is a tremendous shift for the team but it was Dan Aspinall who caught the eye of our opponents with his tenacious tackling, powerful running and a speed of thought that saw him score a brace of Trys.
Well done to debutant and Danny Wilson lookalike, Will Toone who had an impressive first competitive game for the U17 Colts today. Starting on the bench Will initially came on at Prop for Albert before switching to Centre as cover for the injured Harry Candland. Will made an immediate impact for the Junior Colts with his strength, adaptability and intelligent runs, gaining valuable yards for the side.
Cheese and Wine
Eccles found themselves down to fourteen players on a couple of occasions today with the referee handing out cheese slices for offences he deemed as a high tackle and later for back chat. Both seemed vary harsh and put Eccles on the back foot at a time that they were dominating in all areas of the field.
Three bottles of Eccles finest Claret were opened today with Joe Rapinett, Matt Walker and Harry Candland all receiving a bang to the hooter at some point during the game – good luck washing that out Suds!
Jordan Burns saw his game come to a premature conclusion when he pulled up with tightness to his quad – Although familiar with an occasional premature conclusion, I have no idea what a tight quad is!
Eccles Cake Challenge
Dan Asplinall capped a fine performance on the field with a convincing victory in todays post match Eccles cake challenge, thus confirming that, if you can stop him talking etc…
Not to be outdone, Dry January ÜberJibber, Coach Kevin Walker smashed his Eccles cake challenge with a dipping technique which is sure to make an appearance at later challenges. Coach knows best, look & learn etc
Where its at!
Current League C standings following todays results
Hopefully Jordan and the other injured lads will be fit for our visit next week to the Insular Peninsular as we visit Oxton Parkonians. This will be our first visit to Holm Lane but as long as the lads don’t suffer from the Wirral wobbles that occurred last time we headed out to CH43 we should be confident of getting a result against a side we have already beaten convincingly 66 – 17 at Gorton Street.
The Final Word
Indefatigable – I never thought I’d get to use it
Come on my Boys! ©️ Danielle Hackett