This has been a fantastic season for the U14’s. They have grown in numbers, stature and strength under the guidance of Coaches Kevin and James who have built a formidable squad on the foundations laid down by our previous coaches Keith and Mike. After some disappointing early results against Rossendale, Ashton and West Park, Eccles showed a glimpse of what was to come in a 31 – 7 home victory against Bury. For me though, the turning point to the season came in our 29 – 29 away draw to Sedgley Park; a fixture that has never been too kind to Eccles proved to be the platform for our post Christmas form right through to the end of the season with convincing wins against Sedgley Park, Colne & Nelson, Woodchurch, Didsbury, two wins agains Bury and a hard fought draw against Sefton. The cherry on the cake would have been some silverware but it wasn’t to be as nerves proved to get the better of the lads as they went down to Bolton in the Vase Final.
Inevitably we will lose a couple of players to other sports and commitments over the summer and it important that we draw in replacements to keep the squad strong and competitive. Hopefully the task of finding new players will be shared and will prove to be a simple one as we are now recruiting for a team of proven winners.
However, they may have put almost 50 points past Sedgley Park, over 70 points past TOC-H and reached the Blacksticks Vase final but Eccles U14’s faced their hardest test of the season as they lined up against an aged team of veterans in the ‘If you win you get an X-Box’ grand finale to the 2014/15 season.
In advance of the fixture I read up on the rules of Touch and can confirm that not a single rule (loose guidlines) was breached
The game started with good intent as both sides entered into the spirit of the ‘limited contact’ sport. It wasn’t long before the veterans opened the scoring with a fantastically well worked try quickly followed by two more to open up a lead that was going to prove difficult for these young bucks to close. It was around this time when the occasion got to the U14 lads; losing to their parents, grandparents, sisters; no way back into the game, even at this early stage.
WHACK! Max Riley started it with a crunching tackle on the unsuspecting Liam – where is Chris Lee when you need him? Despite the endeavours of the veterans to keep the game within the rules of Touch Rugby, the constant infringements and underhand tactics dished out by the U14’s threatened to break the Veterans resolve. But NO! the veterans are better than that and they played the game out with upmost respect for the laws of the game to ensure that they not only secured the scoreline victory but also the moral victory too.
Eccles Vital Statistics
Today’s U14 Squad
Daniel A, Joshua G, Alex H, Elliott H, Joe R, Max R, David S, Robert S, AlexT, Matthew W, Jack W, Matthew L
Todays Veteran’s Squad
Coach James, Coach Kevin, Lisa Walker, Emily Walker, Lindsay Bedford, David Rapinett, John Williams, David Smith Snr, Martin Thornton, Cathy Riley, Liam Riley, Lil’ Paul, Big Paul, Glenn Strickland
Score at close of 1st third Veterans 5 – 2 U14s
Score at close of 2nd third Veterans 9 – 5 U14s
Full Time Score Veterans 11 – 8 U14s
Eccles Men of the Match
Players Choice – The Spice Girls
It wasn’t Too Much but Viva Forever for Cathy, Emily, Lindsay & Lisa as they put a Stop to the U14 Wannabe’s. For these Sisters of rugby it was Goodbye to being Mama and hello to Who Do You Think You Are as they made the Headlines with Something Kinda Funny.
Coach Choice – Coach Kevin
An exemplar performance from Coach Kevin was topped only by his own self praise leading to the most clear cut decision of the day in naming himself Coaches Man of the Match. Kevin nominated himself for this award as reward for carrying out todays playing, coaching, pitch marking, refereeing, line judging and ale buying duties. #Power&Pace Today Coach Kevin was Brian O’Driscoll because Zinzan Brooke was in the wash (Mr Sugden)
Parents Choice – Josh G
With only a small turn out, but very vocal support I suspect that the vote for the Parents choice has gone to ‘my boy’ based solely on the number of times his name was shouted from the terraces
Liam ‘are you Albert in disguise’ Riley adorned in his Levi’s, site boots and pullover took no prisoners in his tough tackling today. A call up for Eccles 4th XV must be on the cards
John Williams rolled back the years with a performance belied his years – apparently he is in his 50’s!! Showing the whippet like pace of a young Rob S, John time after time weaved his way past the flailing tackles of the U14s with ease
A shout out has to go to Simon Hardman for his selfless sacrifice to the team by taking the painful decision not to play as his presence on the field would have just been too much for the U14s
Glenn Strickland showed us from where his son has inherited his blistering pace – I bet Rob’s mum can do a sub 10s 100m
Coach James, a regular in Eccles 1st XV didn’t look out of place amongst the team of veterans
U14s did OK
Clearly we have the makings of a sensational side that could take this summers Touch Rugby by storm
Hard to say – I saw Martin, Glenn, Coach James, the spice girls, David, Coach Kevin, Lil’ Paul, John, Big Paul, and Liam score tries, I scored a try too. I’m sure one, maybe two of the U14 tries were legitimate too
Cathy Riley for not reading her emails
John Williams for bringing slicks to an off-road event
Billy Borrett for heckling the veterans and coaching the U14s from the sidelines
U14’s for taking every opportunity to give their mums, dads, coaches and even their sister a cheeky dig – even in the Tunnel of Love
I did not know that!
Rugby hurts more the following day
I have really enjoyed doing the match reports this year; I’ve tried to be fair in my reviews and I hope I haven’t offended anyone. I remember making a joke at the start of the season that I’d need lots of synonyms for the word Unfortunate. As it turned out I didn’t too many at all and in fact had to find lots of ways to express how fantastic the lads have played.