A drab and dreary day welcomed the remnants of the Under 15 Eccles squad to Heaton Moor RUFC; battle weary and game tired from a series of tough encounters over the last few weeks. The brutality of the recent encounters together with successes in other sports for a few of the lads and finally the natural wastage that occurs over a season saw the once twenty eight strong squad reduced to a bare fifteen. This was bolstered by the appearance of Joe B from the U14’s and Shea S who joined the squad late having already fulfilled a rugby league fixture earlier that day.
You can see where this is going…..
A late change to the fixture meant that in addition to our hosts, Eccles would also face West Park RUFC in a three-way round robin format. As with most three-way encounters, someone usually gets it from both sides and on this occasion it was to be Eccles.
Eccles lined up to face Heaton Moor in the first short game and never managed to get out of the starting blocks. The first half performance was wholly forgettable with Moor running in five unopposed tries.
The second half was an improvement on the first with Eccles holding their own in most areas of play. However it was Moor who looked the most dangerous of the two sides with their Outside Centre having free reign to run through the Eccles lines.
Eccles did chalk up a try when from a penalty, conceded for repeated infringements Dan A released Alex H to burst his way through the Moor defence to score with almost the final play of the game.
Moor had the better of Eccles for 90% of the game; areas of the game where Eccles have in the past been strong seemed to slip away, sometimes legitimately and on other occasions with Moor being a little more game savvy, boring in at the scrum etc
It was then deja vu as in a similar vein to last week Eccles were scheduled to play a second game immediately after their first game while our hosts had chance to rest, recuperate and have a cigar & brandy.
West Park were up next for Eccles and like Eccles they too were struggling for numbers today. Our hosts stepped up and offered to lend West Park a few lads from their impressively large squad. It would be a few of the lads who didn’t play against Eccles earlier wouldn’t it, fringe players and the like. Nope! The two Centres who had run riot in the first fixture were available to play. Thanks Heaton Moor!!
Eccles started the game well on this occasion and were soon pressing deep into the West Park twenty two but unforced handling errors would see Eccles lose possession and West Park score on he counter having ran / cantered the full length of the pitch.
It was like watching a replay on Sky Sports (not Sky Sports 1 HD though, the sports channel that shows Kabaddi, snail racing and blokes chasing cheese down a big hill) as West Park ran in their second try straight from the Eccles restart. “How long is left Ref?”
Eccles regroup and are soon making their presence felt on the West Park try line. Jack W looked as though he was in at the corner but as he cut inside he was met with a crunching tackle. Jack sets up the ruck and Joe B collects before driving forward, he offloads to the mole Matt L who burrows through the sea of legs ground the ball for Eccles first try of the game.
Josh G retires from the game with yet another blow to the face. Josh is desperate to play on but with his eyes like Rocky after round ten he had to sit it out
“Life’s not about how hard of a hit you can give… it’s about how many you can take, and still keep moving forward.”
West Park were to score another simple try before Eccles would rally as in the final action of a much more physical second half, Max R would receive a superbly timed pass from Matt W and power his way over the line like an unstoppable freight train.
Another loss for Eccles brought the three-way to a close for our lads while our hosts went on to play West Park in the final game of the day.
Lots of frustration from the parents on the touchline who would have definitely put up a better fight and would probably have won both fixtures convincingly.
Eccles U15’s Vital Statistics
Todays Eccles Squad
Starting IX – I think
- Josh G – Loose Head Prop
- David S – Hooker
- Alex T – Tight-Head Prop
- Oliver W– Second Row
- James W – Second Row
- James F – Blind-Side Flanker
- Matt L – Open-Side Flanker
- Alex H– Number Eight
- Dan A – Scrum-Half
- Matt W – Fly Half (Captain)
- Ed H – Left Wing
- Harry C – Inside Centre
- Chea C – Outside Centre
- Jack W – Right Wing
- Max R – Full-Back
Replacements – Joe B, Shea S
Scores on the Doors
Heaton Moor – lost 40 – 5
West Park – lost 21 – 10
Eccles Try Scorers – Matt L, Max R & Alex H
Eccles Men of the Match
- Players Choice – Alex H
- Coach Choice – Max R
- Parents Choice – Chea C
The saddest thing I have seen for some time was the sight of our very own Chris’tle stood alone on the touchline, fully kitted up and ready to referee. He’d done the prematch boot inspection and the talk to the players, only to receive the shepherds crook to the neck from the Heaton Moor coach who had unilaterally voted himself as todays man in the middle.
This was all forgotten though when for the second fixture Chris’tle was given the nod to officiate – his little face lit up like a firework and he was soon ‘in the zone’ and bounding to the centre spot
Thanks to Joe B for playing up again today and not looking out of place amongst the U15’s
Well done Shea S for racing across the city to play a great game for Eccles after playing in a league fixture earlier in the day
Good luck with your recovery from injuries Joe R, Alex T, Josh G and Rob S
No Ellis P or Brad P (not a married couple) who had been selected to play for Salford cricket today – how’s that?
Well done to Rob S who turned up to cheer his team mates on today despite having a complexion the colour of Lou Ferrigno
Well done Max R on your try, I don’t think the Heaton Moor defence had the strength to fend off your power as you charged for the line
Thanks to Joe R for running the line in the right direction
I know a few of you took team photos, heres mine
Matt L and Matt W both going for the same high ball and shouting something?? mine / Matts – oh dear!
Those sausage sandwiches – definitely the least appetising food of all grounds visited this year
Worst / most camp umbrella seen today was that of Big David – who is actually smaller than little David.
Matt W – sly dig on Dan Gogh during the post match pile-on
A more appropriate post match photo, perhaps a metaphor for how prepared the lads were for todays games
Did anyone else see the lady who goes to the same salon as Josh G
Another quote from a movie where the script is underrated – mainly because no-one can understand a word. I think it’s a quote, very appropriate to rugby, to Eccles RFC and to the lads of the Under 15’s
“Let me tell you something you already know. The world ain’t all sunshine and rainbows. It’s a very mean and nasty place, and I don’t care how tough you are, it will beat you to your knees and keep you there permanently if you let it. You, me, or nobody is gonna hit as hard as life. But it ain’t about how hard you hit. It’s about how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward; how much you can take and keep moving forward. That’s how winning is done! Now, if you know what you’re worth, then go out and get what you’re worth. But you gotta be willing to take the hits, and not pointing fingers saying you ain’t where you wanna be because of him, or her, or anybody. Cowards do that and that ain’t you. You’re better than that!
One for James Palmer – this is either great (if it works) or a face palm.
Thanks for all your support over the course of the U15 season. If I get chance I will do a season wrap up report and also those player interviews I promised some time ago.
Looking forward to seeing the lads representing the Navy & White of Eccles at Under 16 level from Autumn 2016
Quotes courtesy of R Balboa