The reporting duties have fallen back to ‘yours truly’ after a wander amidst the active world of coaching!
So, here we go with an accurate and precise account (… and if you believe that, you need read no further!!) of a magnificent game between two good teams who gave everything!
I offer no apology for the rustiness of my ability to recall the order of scorers and the sequence of play, but here goes!
Both teams took to a fantastic playing surface which offered opportunity to play an expansive game they both enjoy. Tyldesley were hopeful of reversing a recent defeat to the Eccles boys, and won the toss and elected to receive the kick off.
Ollie managed to curl his toes round the ball to send it high, allowing the quick lads to put some pressure on the ball-catcher, but the Tyldesley player took it securely to set up the first meaningful attacking ruck.
The Eccles boys fielded a real strong pack in Max, Jack & Mathew, in front of an equally strong centre partnership of Heath and Lucas.
Jack dipped his shoulder into his first tackle that signalled they were not about to play on the back-foot as the counter-ruck saw the ball turned over.
Joe was on the hunt from the scrum half position, as he looked to feed the pill out to the left wing, and the waiting Scott. As the ball was swept out, Heath came in on wonderful angle to slice through the Tyldesley defence. The attack was clinical and left the watching crowd wondering if this was to be the shape of the game: they would not be let down on this day!
Joe followed the ball into contact before releasing a good flat pass that pulled Scott onto the ball at speed. With two defenders to contemplate, Scott slipped a dummy pass back inside to send his opponents onto the wrong foot. The space opened up….. and that’s all he needed! First try to Eccles!
The second try came after a sustained period of pressure from Tyldesley, that very nearly saw them even the early scoreboard.
Ollie was imperious! He claimed a well-set ball at the bottom of a ruck to shift the play up the middle wit the waiting Lucas.
A great tackle saw Lucas set the ball again for Joe who spotted Matthew loitering to the right. After Scott’s dummy shuffle, Matthew wanted some exhibition rugby with his own ‘show n go’!
The gap opened just enough to let the big lad slip through. He had just enough gas in the tank to make the line! 2-0 Eccles.
Scott then rounded off a superb passage of play that saw the ball moved from one wing to the other in just 4 passes! The pattern of play was becoming apparent now as the boys realised they had the space to exploit and apply their hard work from training.
Shayne then came into the party with his own powerful runs, but it was the combination of Max and Jack in the middle of the park, backed up just behind them by Heath and Ollie. Evan came on to add his power and also put in some good strong tackles.
Tyldesley then pulled a fine try back with a strong surge from their own big lads.
By the time the third period of play started, the Eccles boys were well in front, but never completely comfortable as Tyldesley never gave up.
Time and again they launched attacks, but the defence they came up against stood tight and impenetrable.
Adam P was now on with fresh legs and this added yet another dimension around the fringes of play. Carter dropped into the middle of the field and set about knocking over opponents to retain possession. Johnnie replaced Scott on the other wing and again, momentum was never lost. He took a neat pass from Jake after Alfie put a great tackle in to force a loose ball. With plenty of ground still to cover, Johnnie created a good angle of attack, stretching the Tyldesley defence before using his pace to arc round and finish neatly.
Jack continued to increase his tackle count but then got his rewards after another strong burst from Maxwell. His legs pumped persistently towards the line as Matthew bound onto him to add the extra muscle to make the line!
The last quarter of play saw Eccles now in cruise-mode. Heath claimed his first try in his new Eccles colours, Shayne got a deserved try, Ollie scored two, but his second was from a wonderful move from deep inside the Eccles half: the ball was popped out to Scott who was back on as a replacement. The anticipation was sensed amongst the crowd who egged him on for more excitement. Ollie followed Scott all the way to the try line just as the Tyldesley defender tracked him down. Scott ‘dummied’ again as he actually executed an inside pass to Ollie!
The rest of the tries I have to admit to not recalling, but the main point of conversation from this fantastic game is the attitude and commitment these boys displayed. They had the confidence to pass the ball around, and it was a pleasure to watch. They took to the field with a challenge from the coaches to stick to a game plan…. and they made it work! To hear the wonderful comments from both sets of parents on the touch line definitely restored some faith in the beautiful game! Scott finished with 4 tries, Matthew, Johnnie and Ollie finished with two each, Carter, Joe, Heath and Jack scored one apiece…….. (is that all??)
They played some of the most expansive rugby we’ve ever seen from them.
The number of different try scorers proved we put the ball through plenty of hands. Well done boys!
Thanks to Phil for officiating and well done to his team for the magnanimous way they continually took the game to Eccles.
Lucas (Capt) Ollie Heath Jake Jack Maxwell Matthew Shayne Johnnie Scott Carter Joe Alfie Adam Evan (and … Liam)