As far as I can recollect this was our first encounter with todays visitors from the far end of the M62, Liverpool Collegiate RUFC. We expected and were treated to a real test from last seasons Cup Winners in a game that really deserved to be played somewhere other than under the tunnel.
The first half got underway and it was Eccles who looked the most likely to open the scoring as they corralled the opposition inside their own half, with Eccles having the better the opening exchanges.
The Liverpool defence was steadfast and refused to be breached. The ball was finally turned over and long kick out of their 22 offered Liverpool respite from the relentless Eccles pressure. From the kick the pace of the Liverpool winger almost caught Eccles out as he bounded past the Eccles lads, only the fine positioning and play from Brad P preventing a possible first half try.
The game was nip and tuck and it would be Eccles turn to be under the cosh as Liverpool piled on the pressure, securing a penalty under the posts. Unusually at this level of rugby Liverpool elected to kick for goal, opening the scoring somewhat against the general run of play. No doubt this was an indication that Liverpool had not come all this way to lose.
Eccles rallied and were soon pressing hard to get points on the board of their own. The Eccles Forwards worked tirelessly during a five minute spell where the full thirty players were camped inside the Liverpool twenty two. Wave after wave of Eccles attack was fended off by an immensely robust Liverpool defence. Eccles switched between Forwards and Backs in their attempts to break through the Liverpool lines. Albert T would have a go, then Alex H, then Harry C, Shea S, Matt W. The pressure would finally be relieved for Liverpool when possibly through frustration, Eccles would concede a penalty, allowing Liverpool to kick and clear their lines.
The last five minutes of the first half were fairly frantic with Coach Kevin screaming his instructions from the sidelines (I think the lads had their head phones on).
“Last play” was called by Referee Chris’tle as he buzzed around the half way line in his bumble bee outfit. Liverpool have the ball and attempt a cheeky drop goal / grubber kick which bounces and bobbles along the grass before settling behind the posts, out of touch and on a mole hill.
Half Time 0 – 3
A resounding half time team talk from Coach Kevin had the lads fired up for a second half that they felt sure they could win.
Like the first half, Eccles looked the better side from the kick off and soon had Liverpool on the back foot defending inside their own 22, but it would be Liverpool who would make the second half breakthrough and extend their lead. Eccles had seen the pace of the Liverpool Winger earlier in the game but could do nothing to prevent him from breaking through their defensive line and sprinting free, supported by his Centre. Full Back Brad did everything he could to prevent the try but to no avail.
Coach Kevin made some changes to his team during the second half to ensure everyone who was fit managed to get some game time; a hard task when you have a squad of twenty four. Only Liam W who is recovering from ligament damage to his knee missed out today as Coach Kevin showed reluctance to risk an aggravation to his injury. Well done to Liam for making himself available, even when injured!!
Did anyone see Brom in the clubhouse today? Moreover, did anyone see Brom and Liam in the same room today? Just sayin!
Eccles regrouped after the setback of falling further behind and were soon making good progress towards the Liverpool try line. Each Eccles attack was thwarted by a resilient Liverpool defensive line. Despite being awarded numerous penalties for persistent infringements as they attacked, Eccles just couldn’t make the breakthrough. Chris’tle must have been on the brink (I know I was) of awarding a Penalty Try when the ball finally broke loose and fell into the hands of the Liverpool pacy Winger. In a disappointingly similar manner to their first try, Liverpool broke through at pace and again had a two on one with the unfortunate Brad P. Brad made the tackle but not before the ball had been passed inside to the on-running supporting player.
The Eccles lads and Coach were left scratching their heads as to how they were now seventeen points down without a score on the board after having so much good possession in all the right areas of the pitch.
Eccles play all over the North West. We play some good sides, some that need to improve and some that are absolute $#!?$ (we all know who they are!). I know things are said in the scrum and the physicality of the game coupled with the size of the lads cherries at this age can lead to them acting and behaving like complete Nimrods. I just didn’t see the necessity to break out the Vuitton’s today.
As the game drew to a close and with a familiarity that was very encouraging, Eccles were pressing for a score. Liverpool looked dead on their feet but were refusing to allow Eccles through. Eccles concede a soft penalty, no doubt born out of their frustration. Chris’tle clarifies that this is to be the last play and with a weary boot, the Liverpool lad brings the game to a conclusion by kicking to touch.
Full Time 0 – 17
Not so long ago Eccles would have struggled to compete with the side from the West end of the M62. But today was another milestone, marking out how far they have come as individuals, as a team and as a squad. Unfortunately Liverpool don’t publish their results online but anecdotal conversations with their coaches reveal that they have had recent outstanding results against teams we have played including the likes of Rossendale. This together with the comment from their coach that “Eccles are the best side we’ve played” further reinforces the fact that Eccles U16s are now a quality rugby side. This comes from the incredibly hard work that the lads have put in under the fantastic coaching of Kevin and James who have built on the foundations put in place by Mike and Keith all those years ago.
Next week sees Eccles make the trip to Sedgley Park for a friendly fixture. The following fixture is a tournament game and Coach Kevin will no doubt make the lads aware that they will all need to impress in order to secure a Cup squad place for the Bury Fixture. I don’t envy the task of determining who makes the reduced squad and who doesn’t.
Eccles U16’s Vital Statistics
Todays Eccles Squad
- Josh G– Loose Head Prop
- Dan A – Hooker
- Ellis P – Tight-Head Prop
- Matty L– Second Row
- James W – Second Row
- Joe R – Blind-Side Flanker
- Albert T– Open-Side Flanker
- Alex H – Number Eight
- Tanny K – Scrum-Half
- Harry C – Fly Half
- Ed H – Left Wing
- Shea S– Outside Centre
- Matt W – Inside Centre (Captain)
- Rob S – Right Wing
- Brad P – Full-Back
Bench Strength. Today the lads were benching about 420Kgs (460Kgs if you include Jack & Max)
Replacements Oliver W, David S, James F, Ross A, Alex T, Kieron R, Liam W, Jack W, Max R
A message from a worried reporter
Have you seen or know the whereabouts of this man?
Coach James has not been seen on a Sunday morning for some time now. He was last seen wearing a red top, fake Adidas Trainers and blue skirt. The Eccles U16s are beginning pine for him and would be grateful for his safe return. No reward is currently being offered as the are “not vat bovvered innit”
Scores on the Doors
- Half Time 0 – 3
- Full Time 0 – 17
Eccles Men of the Match
Players Choice – Shea S
Yet another fine performance from Shea sees him pick up the converted EMoM from his peers. His fast, weaving and elusive run at the Liverpool defence seemed certain to bring points but on each occasion the opposition defence stood strong.
Coach Choice – Tanny K
Tanny is fairly new to Eccles and he was picked out by a few of the parents as “the little fella who was crashing through tackles in the first half”. A well deserved EMoM for Tanny as he looked the accomplished Scrum Half with his vision, handling, speed and acceleration at the heart of everything that Eccles did well in the first half.
Parents Choice – Albert T
A very close call between Albert & Tanny for parents EMoM with just a single vote between the two lads. Tough tackling and powerful crash runs are Alberts trade mark and he delivered both in good measure today. Well done Albert, you took the EMoM by the single casting vote
Very sorry if this report seems rushed. I felt I had to get it written and uploaded ASAP so I didn’t fall foul of the new ‘first up, best dressed’ rules that have recently come in to force.
This is unquestionably a great period for the Eccles lads. Two convincing wins against Sedgley Park and Ormskirk followed by a tight game today against last years Blacksticks Cup Winners put the boys in a great position going in to the final two games of 2016. Our next game is away to Sedgley Park where the Tigers will still be licking their wounds from our recent encounter. This is followed by a competitive fixture away to Bury where a victory could secure a runners up spot or even be the springboard for us to win our group.
We witnessed some fine work from the Hackett cornerman Cath Riley as she stepped in to prevent a stress induced addition to the Hackett household.
Pass of the day has to go to Oliver / James who made the most blatant forward pass ever witnessed as he released the hot potato at 90 degrees to the horizontal.
Well done to Joey Eccles for being big enough to (once encouraged to do so) go over to the Liverpool lads in the bar and apologise for his part in it all.
An even bigger pat on the back for the Liverpool lads for accepting the appology and not handing out a straightener
Following the Bury game there is an intention to head over to watch Sale Sharks take on Saracens (17:30 kick off). Make sure you all get an evening pass, I can see it being a bit messy
- Joey Eccles!!
- A few too many hangovers and late nights on display today
- The availability of the1st team pitch to the U16s
- Ed’s boot & Matthews new parting
- The availability of the seconds pitch to the U16s
- Josh ‘I could of been a contender’ G
- That ridiculous changing room we were allocated – they’re Under 16’s not Smurfs (apart from Dan Obvs)
No match report next week. I am going to do something a little different in the run up to Christmas
All videos I take at the games can be seen here Eccles U16s