Thanks to Leeann and her persistence, the Gorton Street under 10s finally secured a game after 5 weeks of frustration since their last competitive fixture! So, was this going to be a traditional Christmas cracker or were the boys about to reveal just how many pre-Christmas mince pies they’d devoured?
With both clubs able to put two teams out, this first game began with a little pop rather than big bang!
With a good size pitch to play on, the game plan as always was to let the big boys set up the attacking platforms to feed our wingers. On one wing was Ethan and the other wing was Scott making a welcome back into the fold. However, it was Carter who rewarded himself with his first try for the club following some great rucking from Jack. Carter took the pass from Daniel before bursting through the Ormskirk defenders, though he still had a bit of work to do before he reached the try line. A good body angle saw him claim the opening score.
From the restart, Maxwell put in a tremendous tackle to slow the Ormskirk centre attacking from deep. Again, the ruck developed and Ollie showed good upper body strength to rip the ball then set off on the diagonal. As always, you just don’t know which route Ollie is likely to take, but one thing is sure, he’ll beat more than one defender and run 50 yards (sorry… meters for you youngsters!) when 10 would’ve done! With Ethan in a lovely position for Ollie to link with, he chose to take contact! The move looked finished, but Ollie somehow came up with the goods to put Eccles two scores up.
Ormskirk replied back with some intense attacking and were rewarded with a great try of their own. Some neat passing out of contact saw their winger put away up the left hand side.
It was now Eccles’ turn to feel the December heat as they took the restart straight into contact… despite the orders from touch to put it through the hands to the wingers! The result was a spilt ball from which the Ormskirk scrum half reacted quicker. As our boys turned slower than a Christmas turkey in a roasting tin, the scores were suddenly level… Game on!
They then realised that the only way they would take the spoils was to ramp up the work rate.
Matthew and Jack combined to set up a strong attack. Daniel flipped the ball left towards Ethan who set off like a gazelle after ducking under the defenders arm. It was only a great covering tackle that prevented Ethan from scoring, but in the ensuing ruck, Matthew pick the ball up and took the direct route down the wing when all were expecting him to come back inside!
Half time saw Eccles just in front.
Lucas came on to replace Ethan and Shayne also stepped up from the bench, however, it was the hosts who once more applied the pressure to even the scores again.
This was great for the watching parents but the ‘coaches eye’ could detect a little rustiness…. understandable since it was so long since their last game…. but the ability of these boys to dig deep when they have to, rose up like a phoenix from the Rossendale Tournament! Jack took the ball into contact and put his hard work in training to effective use by keeping the pill well away from his opponent. With the try line at his mercy, only a huge surge would get him over. Advantage Eccles!
This was the catalyst to spur the boys on. Carter, by now having his best game for his club, came up with an important score to stretch the lead just beyond the clutches of Ormskirk. Now he certainly had the sweet taste of try-scoring!
Johnnie was in great form with some superb lines of running and, as always, his reading of the game puts him a yard ahead of his opponents.
With the clock ticking down, the final score came from Scott.
With very little room to work in, and still a way to go to the try line, Scott took a great pass from Ollie. He slightly angled his run to exploit the little space he had, but a lovely transfer of the ball to his outside hand, ensured possession as he ignited the after-burners and finished off a great team passage of play.
A fantastic game given both teams had not played for some time thanks to the biblical rains and rising tides of Lancashire!
The second game continued in similar fashion to the previous contest.
Adam Chester came on along with Bailey and Jake (Tasmanian Devil) as Johnnie slipped in at scrum half and Shayne replaced Matthew in the centre.
Fresh legs were vital against an Ormskirk development side, but there was no room for complacency.
Scott, again showed his turn of pace to open the scoring, quickly followed by Carter for his hat-trick. That was it until half time as Ormskirk dug deep and threatened constantly. It was only some stout defending that kept them at bay.
The second period saw Eccles open up to finally start putting the ball through the hands. A move went right then came back left towards Adam on the wing. He stayed on his feet to just about squeeze the ball out to Danniel who saw there was ‘no one at home’ on the left hand side.
From the restart, Lucas switched wings to keep his opponent guessing and this allowed a gap to open up in the middle for Bailey to claim his first try for the club!
Tas then set the ball up from a scrum for Johnnie to drive off his inside foot to claim a try.
Scott, Ollie and Carter all finished the day with hat-tricks.
Ollie. Carter. Ethan. Lucas. Adam. Maxwell. Matthew. Bailey. Jake. Scott. Shayne. Johnnie. Jack. Danniel ….. & Liam
It was great to finally get some game time and a big thanks to Steve from Ormskirk and Gareth for officiating. The game was played in great spirits and we look forward to welcoming Ormskirk to Gorton St in the future.
Thanks to the match day ‘statos’: James and John, and Paula for her admin and keeping us ‘legitimate!!’ Thanks to Dr Dave (and Tracey) for the xmas chocolates! ….Ollie’s never made it out of the Ormskirk car park!
Comedy Gems: Me, circumnavigating the one-way system through Ormskirk town centre despite having passed the ground twice… and playing there numerous times down the years! ( …. oh, & my new boots!)
So, can I wish you all a very Merry Christmas. May Santa bring plenty of rugby goodies!!!
Next game: Sunday 3rd Jan. HOME v Heaton Moor. 11.00am KO. 10.15am meet.