U15’s see out 2015 with a Christmas Cracker

It’s Christmas time; there’s no need to be afraid, At Christmas time, we let in light and we banish shade. But in our world of plenty the big question is, who will be celebrating with a stocking full of points and who’ll be the Christmas turkeys as we welcome our visitors from the Western most end of the East Lancs rd, Sefton RUFC to Eccles for todays Blacksticks fixture.

Despite there being no corresponding senior fixture today we found ourselves under the tunnel of love due to the first and second pitches having been played on the day before and the Colts having a home fixture later in the day. Given the recent wet weather, the pitch wasn’t in bad condition and played quite well; although I think I may have brought quite a bit of the pitch back home on the soles of my shoes.

Sefton found themselves in the predicament that Eccles became very used to in past years as they could only find fourteen crackers in a box that should hold fifteen. Hopefully this will quickly turn itself around for our visitors in the same way it has for Eccles who can on occasion now field a squad of twenty eight!

Sefton get the game started with a deep kick and are quick to chase the ball down, putting pressure on the Eccles defence. Their eagerness to win the ball back see’s them concede an early penalty which Eccles take quickly. The ball is in the hands of James F who draws the tackle before finding Dan G, quick hands and the ball is with Ed H. Ed makes a run through the centre of play holding off tackles first from the Sefton flanker and then from their Centre. He changes the direction of his run, breaking to the right and pursued by three Sefton players he scores a fantastic solo try having covered more than 60m. This definitely looked like the football scene in Forrest Gump. The lack of a kicking tee and a boggy pitch made a simple conversion difficult and so Eccles lead by 5 points.

5 – 0 (Ed H)

Eccles are totally in control of the game in these early stages with their forwards dominating the key exchanges.

Eccles second try was to come from another well executed penalty that saw Dan Gogh take a quick tap following an infringement inside the Sefton 22. Dan took advantage of Sefton’s slow regrouping to run a diagonal line towards the try line. He was never going to score himself but he drew in the last man and took a huge hit as he released the ball with perfect timing to Josh G on the overlap who completed the move by scoring and extending the Eccles lead.

10 – 0 (Josh G)

As the first half came to a close Eccles found themselves two tries to the good but in truth they had been on top for the whole half and should have been further ahead. Ten points is well within the reach of Sefton and we’re all hoping that we don’t come to regret not chalking up more points while we were on top.

Half Time 10 – 0

Sefton requested Eccles field one less player for the second half as they had an injury to one of their lads and so Albert T was withdrawn to the bench.

Eccles start the second half and are immediately on the offensive pushing Sefton back towards their own 22. Eccles have the ball and drive forward with a purpose. Eccles ruck, the ball is quickly recycled and passed across the Backs until it lands in the hands of Cameron B who crashes through the Sefton defence to open up the second half scoring for Eccles. Ellis P steps forward and converts to extend Eccles lead further

17 – 0 (Cameron B, Ellis P)

Just as Eccles start thinking about what sauce to have on their Christmas pudding a lack of concentration sees the ball land with the very impressive Sefton Nr8 who shows ‘unlikely’ nimble footwork to skip past three or four Eccles tacklers before powering towards the try line only to be thwarted by an excellent tackle from Cameron B. As he crashes to the ground the Sefton Nr8 has the awareness to release the ball to a supporting player who goes on to score Sefton’s opening try of the game. Again the conversion proved too difficult for the kicker

17 – 5

Eccles are definitely still on top but Sefton are beginning to get a presence in the game which is by no means over yet.

Eccles respond well to the Sefton try and are soon back on the offensive, driving the ball forward, taking the hit, forming the ruck and recycling the ball. All that Thursday night drilling from Coaches Kevin and James has proved vital to Eccles successes this season and will no doubt see them through to victory today.

The ball is with Dan G who finds James W and then on to Harry C who is having another excellent game today. Sefton are drawn towards the ball and Harry releases to Rob S who for the first time today has the space to stretch his ham-strings as he shows his blistering pace and fleet footwork to run across the Eccles backline before taking his run down the touchline to score in the corner.

22 – 5 (Rob S)

In a tactical move that has everyone baffled Coach James puts Joe R at Prop – “looks more like a clothes prop” *Josh’s Grandad* – however the change proves to be a masterstroke as Cameron collects the ball on the halfway line and races forward with a weaving run to score his second and Eccles fifth try of the day which Dan Gogh converts expertly.

29 – 5 (Cameron B, Dan A)

Despite Eccles doing their very best to allow Sefton a way back in to the fixture and showing their questionable Christmas spirit by feeding the Sefton lads two further turkey & cranberry tries in the closing moments, Eccles secure their well deserved victory as Joe R kicks the ball to touch

Full Time 29 – 15

A great performance today from the Eccles lads has resulted in a well earned Blacksticks victory against a very capable Sefton side who have some outstanding players including one of the best Nr8’s that we have played against. The fact that Eccles hadn’t beaten Sefton before today’s victory shows the immense character of the lads and the improvements that have been coached in to them by Coaches Kevin & James

Eccles U15’s Vital Statistics

Todays Eccles Squad

Starting IX

  • Josh G – Loose Head Prop (Captain)
  • David S – Hooker
  • Ellis P – Tight-Head Prop
  • James F– Second Row
  • James W – Second Row
  • Joe R – Blind-Side Flanker
  • Oliver W – Open-Side Flanker
  • Albert T – Number Eight
  • Dan G – Scrum-Half
  • Harry C – Fly Half
  • Shea S– Left Wing
  • Cameron B – Inside Centre
  • Ed H – Outside Centre
  • Jack W – Right Wing
  • Brad P – Full-Back

Replacements – Dan A, Matt L, Adam, Ben, Kieron R, Max R, Rob S

Scores on the Doors

Half Time – 10 – 0

Full Time – 29 – 15

Eccles Try Scorers – Cameron B x 2, Josh G, Ed H, Rob S

Eccles Conversions – Ellis P & Dan A

Eccles Men of the Match

Players Choice – Ed H

Coach Choice – Joe R

Parents Choice – Brad P

Notable Mentions

No coach Kevin today so Coach James was tasked with securing our first Blacksticks victory of the season against a side we have yet to beat.

Thanks to Brom for coming down to support Coach James and the U15 lads. Always gives the lads a real lift when a top player turns up to lend their support. So if you know any Brom …..

With our regular kicker Matthew W injured, a few lads stepped up to the plate to have a crack at kicking for the extra two points. Needless to say we need some reserve kickers as we only converted two from five.

Josh G stepped up to captain the side today, well done Josh you did a fine job

Two tries from Cameron B today capped off another impressive performance

Rob S used his pace to score a great try but also showed pace and strength to make a try saving tackle

The Eccles dominance was curtailed by an unfortunate injury to a Sefton player who couldn’t play the second half. Eccles were requested to reduce numbers from 15 to 14 and as such scrums were now uncontested. This gave Sefton a slight advantage allowing their big players the space to run from deep at the Eccles lines and led to all three tries that Eccles conceded.

Thanks again to Chris ‘the whistle’ Lee for refereeing today, without a referee there would be no game (mantra)

It was great to see the injured Alex T turn up again, run the line and support their team mates – well done Alex and good luck with your rehabilitation – I can’t imagine anything worse for a 15 year old lad than such a debilitating injury as that.

Naughty Step

Leeann was spotted on more than one occasion watching the wrong game

Blacksticks squad rules for forcing Coach James to make difficult choices on who to leave out as a squad limit of 22 is enforced

Hopefully the lads will be running out in their brand new kits at our next fixture. Some of the lads shorts look like they’ve tried to pack 10 lb of spuds in a 5 lb bag

We have 28 lads in the squad and I am conscious that some lads get more mentions in my reports than others, especially some of the new lads. I’m sorry if you have’t had too many mentions in these reports and  I promise I will try to make fun of you on-line next year

And Finally

It’s my last match report of 2015. I hope you have enjoyed reading my self indulgent waffle over the year. All the very best for Christmas and the New Year; I hope Santa is good to you and your’s.

Online shopping is definitely the future – I’ve just ordered a chicken and an egg from Amazon. I’ll keep you posted

While you’re thinking about that one…

I bought my mum a fridge for Christmas. You should’ve seen her face light up when she opened it.

While you’re enjoying Christmas please remember that recent research has shown that six out of seven dwarfs are not happy.

Merry Christmas Everyone