Tough Mudder for Colne as Eccles U16s return to winning ways

What a day!

The Salford weather didn’t disappoint as we welcomed the lads from Colne to a rain soaked Gorton Street for what would be a classic encounter between two sides that past results suggest are fairly evenly matched. Until today there hadn’t been more than a converted try to separate the two sides with Eccles having the better of the most recent October meeting by the narrowest of margins in a 24 – 21 victory.

Due to flooding at Colne, todays game was played on our home turf of ‘under the tunnel’ beside a sea of sponsored golf umbrellas and one very glamorous but far too small for the occupants ladies compact.

A very forlorn looking James W & a very camp looking umbrella

Once we had managed to tippy-toe our way across the mud to pitch side, popped up the umbrella and got ourselves settled we were treated to a fantastic display of rugby by an Eccles side bolstered by the returning players but still smarting from the defeat of the previous week.

On days like this you need your forwards to step up to the plate. There is little to be gained by trying to play the expansive rugby which is reliant on the skilful Backs running from deep – no today was about the forwards and in the words of Bruce Forsyth – “good game, good game, didn’t they do well”

Blindside Flanker Joe R got the opening try when following good work from Ellis (according to Ellis), Kieron and Matty L he seized the loose ball and reached for the line.

It took some time for the second try to arrive but the waiting was brought to an end when Ellis P ran from deep, taking the Colne Centre with him, wafting in the wind like Superman’s cape as he clung on in a desperate bid to fell Ellis. Ellis was having none of it and he crossed the line with a spectacular dive / belly flop to double the Eccles lead.

It’s funny how what the player he imagines himself looking like can be so different to what everyone else sees

In the mind of Ellis P

The reality

Aaaaanyway!

Colne grabbed a try back just before half time with a move that ought not to have been possible on a day like today; running at the Eccles line which had compressed to the centre of the pitch, passing ball through hands at pace, the Colne player made easy work of their opening try, scoring unopposed in the corner.

The final action of the half saw Joey Eccles tackled and pushed out of play in a moment of pure slapstick as, with the ball gripped tightly to his chest he hit the deck with the Colne lad on his back, the ball and weight on his back knocked the wind out of him and as he opened wide and gasped to replenish his lungs with oxygen, he face planted into the Eccles turf and ate a good kilo (mouthful) of grass and mud.

The second half saw Eccles bring on their four replacements – you could spot the replacements as they were the only players out of the 30 on the pitch who were in a different coloured kit to the rest.

Eccles soon extended their lead further with a try from the phenomenon that is Kieron R. Ball under arm, hand off, push down, hand off, smash and the ball is grounded – better still, Matt W actually has a chance of kicking this one. 17 – 5

The pitch was taking a battering and Chris’tle had to consult his mysterious cerebral rule book as he asked for scrums to be uncontested due to the worsening conditions underfoot.

Eccles notched up a fourth try when, following his halftime mud sandwich Joe R weaved his way past the last man having picked up the ball from Shea S and planted it firmly behind the try line to complete his brace of trys.

Eccles final try came from Josh G who used every ounce (and there are many, many ounces) of his bulk to crash through the exhausted Colne defence to extend Eccles to an unassailable lead which Matt W further extended with his trusty right foot.

29 – 5

Colne were looking a beaten side as they restarted. The Eccles lads found their positions ready for the kick as Colne seemed to be looking for the salvation of the final whistle with lads physically shaking from the icy cold rain that had continued to drop relentlessly from the start of the game.

Despite everything, Colne managed to rise once more with a spirited attack as they forced Eccles back before scoring their second try in an excellent position for their kicker. Their kicker seemed reluctant to take it on and so one of the Colne lads who has probably never kicked before, stepped up and expertly popped it over the sticks with the final play of an exhilarating game.

29 – 12 Full Time

Eccles U16’s Vital Statistics

Todays Eccles Squad

Starting XV

  1. Josh G– Loose Head Prop
  2. David S – Hooker
  3. Ellis P – Tight-Head Prop
  4. Alex H – Second Row
  5. James W – Second Row
  6. Joe R – Blind-Side Flanker
  7. Matty L– Open-Side Flanker
  8. Kieron R– Number Eight
  9. Dan A – Scrum-Half
  10. Matt W– Fly Half (Captain)
  11. Max R– Left Wing
  12. Harry C– Outside Centre
  13. Shea S – Inside Centre
  14. Ed H – Right Wing
  15. Brad P – Full-Back

Bench Strength. Today the lads were benching about 260Kgs

Replacements – Jack W, Oliver W, James F, Rob S

AWOL – Ross A, Alex T, Tanny K, Albert T

Scores on the Doors

Eccles 29 – 12 Colne

Eccles Scorers

Try’s

  • Joe R – x 2
  • Ellis P
  • Kieron R
  • Josh G

Conversions

  • Matt W x 2

Eccles Men of the Match

Parent Choice – Kieron R

I apologise if I didn’t ask everyone on this one but the vote was a bit of a whitewash with all but two parents who I did get around to speaking with giving the award to Kieron. Immense performance today; strength of ten men, heart of a lion, lungs of a young Samantha Fox. Alongside that of Brad P in our last game, this has to be one of the best individual performances of the season.

Coach Choice – Kieron R

Coach Kevin didn’t even wait to be asked

Players Choice – TBC

According to Joey Eccles the lads didn’t get around to doing an EMoM today. as they were keen to get inside, washed and warmed up. There is a certain amount of inevitability about who it’d be though…

Despatches

Todays win was the first for the U16 lads since their run of four wins in five game just prior to Christmas and there is nothing to say our pre-Santa feat could not be bettered as we continue to play the Brand of rugby that Coaches Kevin & err (oooh I’ve gone blank – the guy with the beard, you know him, the camp fella, anyway) have drilled into the lads as we head towards the tail end of the season.

Two try’s and a mouthful of Eccles finest turf for Joey Eccles today in a game where he dominated the line-out and linked play between the Forwards and Backs as he played a key role in both attack and defence.

Alex H and Ellis P both returned following their sabbatical’s last week, making a huge impact on the game from start to finish. These lads were a massive miss for Eccles in last weeks disappointing result…..I can’t even talk about it, I’m welling up here. How disappointing was last week? A game that was well within our grasp but we managed to nod off at 20 minutes and wake up again at 55 minutes; by this time the game was lost and we were flicked in to the Development Plate like a disturbingly sticky bogie on the index finger of a frustrated Audi driver. The fact that Brad P was the outstanding EMoM (and rightly so) should leave the rest of the lads wondering ‘how did this happen?’ – the fact is, Brad was the last line of defence and probably prevented two or three try’s as the Eccles defensive line was repeatedly opened up like a crate of Becks Blue at the Green-Hackett household. Well done Brad for your EMoM, you were absolutely outstanding and a credit to yourself. Other big mentions from last week would include Josh G who picked up both the Coaches EMoM and that of Danielle – Obv’s!! Ross A again came off the bench and made a big impact on the game, bringing power, strength and passion to the game when it had all but petered out for the Eccles lads.

Bit of a shout out to Chris’tle who refereed todays game and despite the conditions managed to keep the game flowing and safe for the lads.

Alex T and Tanny K came down to cheer the lads on despite being injured, Ross A was taking ice baths to calm down an injured calf, Albert was doing similar (large JD on the rocks)

Great to see one of Salfords best U16 cross country runners Paddy C come down today – fancy a go Pad?

Beltin pint of Navigation in the clubhouse today – lets hope its a regular

Does any club do better breakfasts than Eccles? Not a chance!!!

Tremendous ball handling from Eccles and Colne today in conditions that would have tested the skills and abilities of players at any level.

Hot showers are essential following games like we had today, Alex H and Jack W dodged them but the rest of the lads from Eccles and Colne must have thought they’d arrived in heaven when they stood under the plentiful supply of hot water.

Speaking of hot water, I hope John ‘the suds’ has plenty available today and lots of radiator space too as he goes into battle with the Eccles mud on those ‘white’ shorts and jerseys

Last weeks stand-out EMoM Brad P models Eccles kit (white socks & shorts)

A trip over t’hills awaits us next week as we travel to West Yorkshire for our return fixture against Huddersfield; the corresponding home fixture being abandoned at 5 – 0 to Eccles when one of the Huddersfield lads injured his leg and had to be airlifted to hospital. Lets hope for no injuries and a great Roses game.

Naughty Step

Dan Gogh will be enjoying extra B’s in training after wiping his filthy ball down the front of Coach Kevin’s Chinese import Berghaus jacket.

“I’m helping with the match report today, three try’s in the first half for Ellis P, what a game he is having” – good effort Ellis, but as you can see, that’s not how amateur journalism works sonny 😉

The conditions today robbed Matt W of the additional six points from difficult, but achievable positions.

The whopper who parked across the gates to the overflow car park

The overflow car park resembled the fields around Ypres in about 1917 with stranded BMWs replacing burnt out tanks at Cambrai

I have the match ball in the boot of my car thanks to Harry C – I just hope it is ours and I am not now an accessory