A whole week spent developing a list of synonyms for ‘unfortunately’ wasted!
With almost a full squad of players turning out for our clash with Bury RUFC we found ourselves playing with a full 15 + a sub and lending 2 players to todays opponents (Alex Hardman & David in the 1st half, Elliott and Joel in the 2nd)
Todays fixture got under way following an impeccably observed two minutes silence to remember those who have died in conflicts. The 1st 10 minutes was a very even contest with both sides having good spells of possession. Most of the early pressing came from Bury with tries being prevented by by some timely tackles from Jack Williams, Joe Rapinett and Max Riley. A try looked on the cards for Bury when following a long clearance from Matthew that Brad chased down, Eccles possession was turned over by Bury who quickly passed the ball across their back line and out to the wing. The Eccles defence looked a little flat as the Bury player broke and raced down our right flank but the ever reliable Albert got across to make the last ditch tackle inside the Eccles 22, pushing the Bury player in to touch in the process.
15 minutes into the 1st half Eccles made the breakthrough that they had been working so hard for with Matthew Walker making a typically mazey run through the Bury lines and releasing a good ball which was picked up by Joe Rapinett who on being tackled passed the ball to Daniel Goddard who crossed the line to score the opening try for Eccles. Clearly Matthew was eager to get on with the game as he didn’t wait for the kicking tee, instead opting to drop kick for the additional 2 points. 7 – 0
On 20 minutes Coach Kevin who is unused to having options to play with, brought Robert Strickland (pace) on for Elliott Hemming (Power). This turned out to be a masterstroke as within 5 minutes of joining the play Robert found himself receiving the ball from Dan Aspinall and with only 11 players to beat (may have been less than 11 but there seemed to be lots) Robert showed his blistering speed to sprint along the full width of the Bury defensive line before cutting back and scoring beneath the posts to leave Matthew with a straightforward conversion which was the last action of a scintillating 1st half with the scores at 14 – 0 to Eccles.
Both Alex Hardman and David Smith had played exceptionally well for Bury during the 1st half so Coach Kevin used his new found options again at half time, bringing Alex and David back into Eccles colours with Joel Aspinall and Elliott Hemming moving in the opposite direction to for Bury for the second period.
Eccles started the 2nd half as they had finished the 1st pushing Bury back deep inside their own half. Great work from Oliver Wright, Alex Thornton and Dan Aspinall saw Eccles drive the Bury pack further and further towards their own try line. Strong work at the scrum led the ball being passed into the centre by Eccles, the ball finding its way to Alex Hardman who continued the good work he’d put in for Bury in the 1st half by using his strength and holding the ball up before passing to David who showed immense power to drive the Bury defence within inches of their own try line. David was held up by the Bury defence so he popped the ball back to the supporting James Wright who forced his way over the line for a third unanswered Eccles try under the posts. The try was again converted by the ever dependable boot of Matthew Walker to leave the scoreline at 21 – 0.
Even at 21 – 0 Coach Kevin’s blood pressure was maxing out as the Eccles forwards piled the pressure on the Bury defence with Josh Green, Alex Thornton and Alex Hardman contesting ruck after ruck – “if only they’d pass the ball out wide” said Coach Kevin (at least they were picking the ball up this week)! Wave after wave of Eccles pressure inside the Bury 22 was eventually rewarded as the ball was recycled for the 4th time, Albert Tonoyan took control and under huge pressure from the Bury defence he crashed his way over the line to score a 4th try for Eccles which was of course converted by Matthew. 28 – 0
From the restart Bury looked determined to respond and excellent interplay between their forwards and backs had Eccles defending deep into their 22. In a similar manner to Eccles 4th try Bury were driving the ball forward, recycling and driving again until the ball was finally over the Eccles try line. But Eccles showed superb courage, strength and a previously unseen determination to hold the ball up and prevent Bury from touching down for a try right beneath the Eccles posts.
Eccles were on the offensive again and when they didn’t have possession they were competing for and winning the ball at every opportunity, line outs, scrums and tackles. Powerful running at the heart of the Bury defence from the likes of Brad Palmer and Lewis Angus forced Bury deeper in to their own half but a loose ball and a lapse in concentration from Eccles saw Charlie, the Bury number 14 break free and run through to score a well deserved try which was converted by the visitors. 28 – 7
As full time ticked over Eccles were again on the attack. All the hard work that had been put in during last weeks training session with Coach Kevin and Celebrity Guest Coach Billy Borrett was about to make its final contribution to the game as Eccles forced Bury into conceding a penalty within range of Matthew’s boot. Good decision making from Matthew to kick for goal was rewarded as he put the penalty away without any fuss bringing the game to a close with the scores at Eccles 31 – 7 Bury.
Todays performance from the Eccles lads was fantastic and has been earned through the hard work that the 7, 9, 13, 15, 17 and now 19 lads have put in at training and in games. It must be incredibly difficult to play for or to coach a 15 side game when you only have a dozen or so players at your call. We have played teams with huge squads like Ashton, Bolton, Blackburn and have always held our own which is testament to good coaching and determined players. It can be no coincidence that on the 1st occasion that Eccles have a bigger squad to choose from than our opposition, we have won and won convincingly.
As a squad we are in great shape for possibly the 1st time in three seasons. We have good and committed coaching staff who are getting the very best out of the players; we have a squad of 19 players with a great balance of forwards and backs; we have some incredible pace in the team; we have players who tackle well and players who tackle ferociously. This has to be the best squad of players we have had and it’s time for the boys to deliver the results that their hard work and the hard works of Coaches Kevin and James deserves.
COME ON ECCLES
Eccles U14 Vital Statistics
Todays Eccles Squad
Lewis Angus, Daniel Aspinall, Joshua Green, Alex Hardman, Elliott Hemming, Brad Palmer, Joe Rapinett, Max Riley, David Smith, Robert Strickland, Alex Thornton, Albert Tonoyan, Matthew Walker, Jack Williams, James Wright, Oliver Wright, Daniel Goddard, Joel Aspinall
Half Time Score 14-0
Full Time Score 31-7
Eccles Man of the Match
Players Choice – Alex Thornton
Coach Choice – Alex Thornton
Parents Choice – Alex Thornton
Thats a clean sweep for Alex this time – very well done
Matthew Walker for 1 x penalty conversion, 3 x try conversions from the tee, 1 x try conversion from a drop kick (cheeky boy)
David Smith, Alex Hardman, Elliot Hemming & Joel Aspinall all played for Bury at some point. Without them it wouldn’t have been 15 v 15
One try each for Daniel Goddard; James Wright, Robert Strickland & Albert Tonoyan
Matthew Walker 4 Conversions
Matthew Walker 1 Conversions
David Smith, Alex Hardman, Elliott Hemming & Joel Aspinall for playing incredibly well for Bury
Like last week, all players excluding Alex Thornton for allowing the MoM clean sweep