Match report received from Gavin:
Match: Eccles Vs Rossendale
Team:Reece, Lucas, Mitchel, Harry, Archie, Lewis, Guy, Ben, Charlie, Sam, jack
Firstly, I’d like to issue a big warm welcome to Sam, who I’m told has joined us from the local Eccles rugby league side and will hopefully be featuring for us for the majority of the season. Based on what I saw from this Rossendale match, I think he’ll be somewhat of an asset….
Eccles started the match playing downhill, and early indications suggested it might be a bit of a laboured affair, with lots of rucking and mauling in the centre of the pitch with no distinct advantage. I think it was perhaps the thinner air at altitude! Surely it had to get better than this!
And better it did get – quite quickly as it happens! Without much warning, the boys suddenly started to get into the swing of things and asking more and more questions of the Rossendale defence. Charlie, in particular, had clearly set his sights on being a thorn in the side of the Rossendale team, pressurising for the forced errors.
Whilst it was apparent that the rucking wasn’t quite as good as previous weeks, it was our excellent tackling and immovable defence that was servicing us well and grinding the Rossendale side down bit by bit. Guy was heavily involved early on too, demanding the ball from every restart, trying to blast a hole in the Rossendale defence with powerful runs, accompanied by his usual gritted teeth and expression of pure determination. The first try was coming!
Finally, the Eccles pressure paid off when Charlie (Travolta) received the ball and danced his way through a swarm of Rossendale players, only to be brought down a few metres from the try line. Fortunately, our new recruit Sam was quick to the ruck to continue the momentum and plough his way – in unstoppable fashion – to the corner for the first try of the match.
Devastating tackles were going in left, right and centre from Sam, Guy and Jack, and before Rossendale could settle down from the restart, Sam capitalised on some opposition hesitation at the ruck and stormed down the whole pitch, to score in what was becoming his favoured corner. And just in case Rossendale didn’t realise who they were dealing with, Sam picked up a loose ball from the restart and set off towards his favourite corner again to score another!
The Eccles boys were beginning to move the ball around freely now with some lovely little interchanges particularly between Harry, Mitchell and Lucas. The cracks were really starting to open up in Rossendale defence and Ben certainly knew it, unleashing what is now his trademark move – ghosting in and intercepting (what was to him) and obvious opposition pass, to take the ball over the line and score in the cheekiest of fashions.
Again, the ball was being popped around freely with Lucas who was lightning-quick to distribute the ball out to Harry and Mitchel to make weaving runs against the Rossendale defence. The final play of the first half saw a lovely interchange between Reece, Archie and Lucas to set up Mitchel for a great run only to be stopped just short of the line. Half time 4-0 to Eccles!
Spurred on by the pace and energy in the first half, and an encouraging half time team talk, the second half was even better. Archie, who’d been lively from the start, picked up the ball from a ruck to carry it (to his surprise) over the try line. Fortunately the reassuring screams of parents from the side-line convinced him that he should probably touch the ball down.
Lewis was now coming to life too and made his mark on the game with a bone-crunching tackle that had the parents wincing as well as the lad who received it. Jack was also getting in on the action with increasing frequency, culminating in a in a fantastic pitch-long run through the entire Rossendale team for a great solo try.
Credit to Rossendale though, who kept some pressure on Eccles whenever they could, trying to engineer something from game. Eventually, they got rewarded when they capitalised on a bit of complacent, sloppy play from Eccles and stormed over the line to score their first try of the match.
Learning from their sloppiness, Eccles stepped upped the pace again. Pushing two opposition players away from the ruck, Lewis created the opportunity for Harry to pop the ball out to Reece who made a silky run and then offloaded nicely to Archie at pace. Unfortunately Archie couldn’t quite get over the line, but to his credit, saw Sam closing in and made the offload for the try. Classy bit of play.
With barely any time to spare after the restart Sam opened up the throttle and charged for the corner to score with ease. What a debut performance so far!
The last play of the match was definitely the most pleasing to the eye and involved just about every one of the Eccles players running at pace and then offloading beautifully at the tackle. The ball stayed with Eccles for a few minutes as the boys kept probing at the defence, when eventually Lewis picked it up on the wing and unleashed the ‘freight train’ for a try in the corner. Final score 9-1!!
With both teams showing some residual energy levels, and the opportunity for Rossendale to utilise the downward slope, it was agreed that both teams would play a final 15 minutes. Unfortunately for Rossendale, the slope advantage was no advantage all. With Eccles oozing confidence, they simply carried on in the manner they finished.
Rossendale courageously made a big push to try and get something out of the match and were forcing the Eccles possession further and further back towards our try line. As impressive as the Rossendale pressure was, there was literally nothing they could do when Sam decided to unleash ‘the beast’ and run the entire pitch to score …. Yes …. In the corner again!
Mitchel had been doing his level best to get on the score sheet all game, and was finally rewarded with a try from a determined and ‘very’ weaving run to the corner that was definitely not ‘as the crow flies’.
By now the Rossendale team could have been excused for throwing the towel in and heading in for their chicken burger and chips, but to be fair to them, they never gave up. However, on this day, they just had no answer to Sam, who was simply devastating, finding the smallest of gaps down the touch line and scoring his SEVENTH TRY OF THE MATCH!!!!
For the final play of the match, Lewis took the ball at pace and crashed through several players before being brought down. Good setting-back of the ball allowed Mitchel to collect and gain further ground before passing to Charlie who employed his dancing agility to finish off with the final try of the game in the corner. FINAL FINAL score 13-1!!!!!
Man of the match: In Martin’s words… “No confusion over who was the man of the match”. Well done Sam.