If ever there was a game of two halves, this was it. The first half was a catalogue of poor decisions, loose play, comedic line-outs and an overall lack of confidence. The result of this was that Eccles went in at half time 12 points down having failed to put any amount of pressure on the Heaton Moor defence. Everything that Eccles tried, failed, whether it was short line-outs, long line-outs, kick to touch – everything.
As the second half got underway there seemed to be nothing to suggest that things were going to change as an attempted clearance from inside the Eccles twenty two only carried fifteen metres and straight into the waiting arms of the Heaton Moor Forward. As the Moor player grounded the ball, something was said / done that clearly riled the Eccles lads and following the customary handbag exhibition, there seemed to be a flick in the positive direction of the Eccles Collective Desire Switch.
This moment of common and shared frustration, disappointment and anger proved to be the turning moment in the game. For the next twenty Five minutes it was all Eccles. The Backs Harry, Brad, Max etc were running with confidence, weaving in and out of the Heaton Moor lines; Ruck formed, ball recycled and in to the arms Keiron, Josh, David and the like. Phase upon phase, recycle after recycle, Eccles were on the move until inevitably and deservedly, Eccles go over to score a fantastically worked Try, all made possible by a confidence and aggression that was so sorely lacking in the first half. The Try itself, scored by Dan was a masterclass of Forward play, climaxing as Josh released the ball at just the right moment to allow Dan the opportunity to crash over for Eccles opening Try.
Massive pressure on Matthew for the kick as his kicking to this point had been in keeping with the rest of Eccles play. Matthew collected the ball, composed himself and slotted it between the posts with the easy of a seasoned professional.
It wasn’t long before Eccles hit the Replay button and scored an almost identical second try. This time it would be powerhouse Keiron who would take the ball in, crashing through the exhausted and deflated Heaton Moor defence; felled short of the line, Keiron had the awareness to stretch and reach over the line with the ball as he tumbled towards the floor.
Matthew again converted to bring Eccles within three points of a Heaton Moor side that was becoming tired and increasingly desperate in their play.
Relentless pressure from Eccles in the pursuit of a third and decisive Try saw Heaton Moor retreat deeper and deeper in to their own twenty Two until finally Shea collected the ball and charged at the Heaton Moor lines. The Moor defence holds strong and wraps Shea up like a Greggs Steak Slice, Shea sees an opportunity to release the ball but a nudge to arm at the moment of release sees the well intentioned pass drift forward, handing possession to the relieved visitors. A scrum, a punt and Heaton Moor take the opportunity to close the game out by kicking to touch.
As the final whistle is blown the tale of the game unfolds as while the faces of the Eccles players are a picture of disappointment at what could have been, those of Heaton Moor display relief and exhaustion in equal measure.
We’re off down the East Lancashire road next week as we take on league leaders Liverpool Collegiate who we felt unlucky to lose against in our last encounter in November 2016 This will be a challenging encounter that will test our rugby abilities to the max. This in mind it is again vitally important that the lads attend Wednesdays training session so we remedy the poor calls and decisions that hampered todays first half and build on the tremendous work of the second.
Eccles Junior Colts’s Vital Statistics
Todays Eccles Squad
- Josh G
- Dan A
- Matty L
- Joe B
- James F
- Joe R
- Albert T
- Keiron R
- Nat K
- Matthew W
- Harry C
- Shea S
- Max R
- Rob S
- Brad P
- Ed H
- David S
- Jack W (hand)
- Alex H (knee)
- Ellis P (Ale)
Scores on the Doors
Full Time 14 – 17
Eccles Try Scorers – Dan + Keiron
Eccles Conversions – Walker x 2
Eccles Man of the Match was awarded by Heaton Moor to Sit-Down David who’s thunderous runs through the centre gained valuable yardage for the team leading to the 1st Eccles try. David’s tenacity, deceptive pace and explosive power would have all played a role in him being recognised as Eccles MVP today by our opposition. Very well done David!
Iodine Mark Skillicorn and his little squirter were once again was called into action as Joey Eccles took a knock to the napper. We all know how much it hurts when you bang your funny bone! Joe has sustained mild concussion and will be unavailable for the next three weeks. As can be seen here in his band audition with Josh, Joe’s singing voice has been affected by the blow to the nut
Notable by their absence were John and Chris who played up for the Junior Colts last week and made a magnificent impact. It’d be fantastic if they could join Joe B next week as we take on Liverpool Collegiate
A rare sighting of the Lesser Spotted Rugby Coach today as James Wright made a late appearance to catch the better part of the Junior Colts match before his Eccles Ladies team took to the field.
We were treated to an education in clear and precise linesmanship today as Chris The Whistle, bereft of his trusty flags, took to the line 🕺🏻🕺🏻🕺🏻🕺🏻🕺🏻
Is there anything better than the coffee and bacon butty’s that the ladies of the Eccles RFC Bistro serve up? It’s only when we play away fixtures that it becomes clear how good the food at Eccles is.
Liam – yes I’ll sell the match programmes
Liam – Cath, can you get the match programmes from the bar
Liam – Cath, I’ll hold the dog while you sell the match programmes
Cath – *wanders off, Scout the dog in tow, box of programmes in hand*
Todays Match Report was brought to you by the postponement of my Shaun W Ryder gig, some really awful international football and Birra Moretti