Tigers tamed…and they did it all on their ‘Owen’

Eccles under 15’s Vs. Sedgley Park under 15’s


Eccles 45 Sedgley 15

The Gorton Street sidelines put this win down to Owen Farrell’s appearance this week at the club, but the under 15’s coaches felt a big performance was building, and they were proven gloriously right when their boys tamed the snarling Tigers on the 1st team pitch.

Eccles under 15’s are stylishly rounding off what is supposed to be their transitional season. With even more new faces joining the fray – and squad numbers up to the dizzy regions of 25 – head coach Lewis worked quickly this week to seal the registration of some potential future stars.

6 of the Eccles lads met and trained with England star Owen Farrell this week at the club. After TV shoots, press packs and even a cheeky interview from scrum half Jordan Smith, spirits were high in the Eccles camp. Farrell gave the lads some sound advice in his own measured style and it seems they took note, as their hunger was evident from the very first whistle on Sunday.

Sedgley arrived in confident mood after their 50 plus thumping of Eccles in the reverse fixture some months ago. They were greeted with respect but the Eccles starting 15 were ravenous for revenge and still smarting from a quarter final knockout a fortnight ago. This showed this from the off as Keaton ‘always’ Winning embraced the captains armband and set the tone; rampaging his way down the middle of the park repeatedly. Oates latched on to the weaknesses in the Tigers backline and distributed excellently to his hit-men centres. The game was won in the first 10 minutes through the aggression of the Eccles lads, going silently about their business and playing for the shirt. The backline were up fast and hard and Omar Owe is fast-claiming the 13 jersey, with some textbook hits Owen Farrell himself would be proud of.

Wilkes was digging ball out well from some scruffy rucks and Eccles pacers began to get good ball from WillSchalke’ Goslin’s rucking and Smitham’s clean presentation. Eccles did little wrong in the opening exchanges and some smart slaloming from Wes Chiriseri led to Liam ‘Karate Kid’ Chester going in for the opening score. Wilkes converted and the Eccles balcony were impressed by ball carrying of the backs. Sedge struck back through some pacey back row play but the conversion sailed wide.

Fierce tackling and astute line-out play swung the momentum back to the blue-and-whites, and front row-ers Smith and Wignall led to regular set piece ball on a blustery day. The ever consistent Taylor cleaned up any loose ball and number 8 Josh Hunt was experimenting effectively with the new back row moves. The ball was finding its way to Winning more and more and some slick passing ended in debut winger Grayston sliding his way down the left touchline to round off relentless Eccles pressure.

Lewis, Paul, Nick and Dan watched on grinning as things were beginning to click for their team. With 10 minutes left in the first half, they injected yet more pace and power, and Dean ‘toilet break’ Mongan came straight off the bench to bundle over. Oates nailed a difficult touchline conversion and Eccles went in 19-5 at the break.

The half-time discussions concerned the changing weather conditions and an emphasis on helping freezing cold full-back Encarncao if Sedge were to go long and deep for some much needed territory. The second half started in familiar pacey style but Sedgley’s striding, leggy centre (the fastest lad in Bolton and Bury we’re told) went a good 70 metres for a superb individual score. This drew the scores closer but Eccles were in no mood to surrender to the conditions or Sedgley possession and ‘Big Bob’ Unubold bowled over from close range to round off another solid game for the prop. Super-fit Thornley came on at 9 and put instant pressure on his opposite number, forcing errors from the Tigers 9 and putting Eccles on the front-foot in a key period of the game.

From this set piece ball, guest-starring right wing Todd took his chance and went over a couple of barn-storming scores, showing off a lethal hand-off in the process! The game was won and the Eccles coaches switched their men again. Hunt went off with a blow to the head, a result of constant dedication to clean ball for his team. Fellows came on to annoy the Sedgley county representatives, rucking his way through with a smile, battling way above his weight as usual and Goslin even enjoyed a stint on the wing with some silky steps inside.

The win was sealed with score of the day though as substitute centre Danny ‘the Unit’ Wilson counter-attacked from his own 22. He ran riot down the left touchline, swatting tacklers like flies before really opening up and showing “the fastest lad in Bolton and Bury” a clean pair of heels. The Eccles lads wish Liam ‘Karate Kid’ Chester a speedy recovery after breaking a leg for his troubles, we’ve got your glasses Liam don’t worry. Also big thanks for Big Mark for reffing a feisty encounter in a calm and measured way.

The Sedgley coaches heaped praise on the Eccles lads post-match and whether it’s a flying visit from superstar Farrell, or things finally coming together for the super 15’s, a switch flicked somewhere on Sunday and here’s to hoping it’s a sign of things yet to come.