It was a gloriously sunny morning that welcomed our visitors from across the city to Eccles RFC to play for the right to meet Ormskirk in the quarter finals of this years Blacksticks Plate competition. What would this Valentines Day hold for these two groups of lads – it would be a beautiful women, fine wines and Belgian chocolates kind of day for one of the sides; for the other it would be the loneliness of a Vesta curry and a warm can of Tizer
Eccles RFC rolled out the red (Navy & White) carpet for this game with the lads being afforded the use of the First IX changing room and pitch, the latter offering those with tickets for the executive box the opportunity to watch the game from on high.
Below: Joey Eccles wins the toss.
Eccles started the game the better of the two sides with Ellis P forcing himself over inside two minutes to open up the scoring. Harry C took up todays kicking duties and popped the ball over with ease to leave Sedgley Park trailing 7 – 0.
7 – 0
This was followed up with three tries in a fifteen minute spell where all Sedgley could do was to kick off and defend Eccles constant, unwavering pressure. First Ed H broke free to run one in unchallenged in to the corner
12 – 0
Then Road-Runner Rob S used his blistering pace to leave everyone behind as he ran wide and down the touchline before scoring beneath the posts to leave a simple conversion for Harry C
Photo of Rob S was blurred!
19 – 0
Shea S completed the fifteen minutes of devastation with a powerful crash through the Sedgley defensive lines to score Eccles fourth try inside twenty minutes. Harry C completed the move with his third conversion of the half to all but seal the victory for Eccles
26 – 0
Ed H brought the half to a close with his second try of the game; another powerful run that neither the Sedgley Forwards nor their Backs could cope with as he held off tackle after tackle before grounding the ball to extend the Eccles lead to 31 points
Below: Bowfinger leaves everyone in his wake
Half Time 31 – 0
The Eccles lads were full of beans at half time; they had the game in the palm of their hands but needed to close it out.
The Sedgley coaches lifted the spirits of their lads with a rousing half time team talk which seemed to work wonders as our visitors started the second half in much better form than the first.
The first ten minutes of the second half were a closely fought affair with both sides competing with speed and aggression however it would be Eccles with their excellent and cohesive first phase ball play that would see Chea C chalk the first points of the second half on the board. The points came from his incredible eighty metre weaving run from one side of the pitch to the other before powering down the byline to score under the posts. Harry C converted with possibly his weakest kick of the game as the ball appeared to hobble over the posts. A conversion is a conversion & is two extra points though!
38 – 0
Eccles now just needed two more points to complete a whitewash victory and secure their place in the quarter final. The point came curtesy of Brad P who was having another outstanding game at Full Back. His blend of pace, aggression and fantastic ball handling had seen him play a pivotal role in the game and so it was no surprise when he capped his performance off with the match winning try.
43 – 0
Eccles are through to the Blacksticks Plate quarter final as the fixture is halted under the forty point spread rules of the competition. Congratulations Eccles U15’s!!
As is traditional, the coaches of both sides together with the referee confer and the losing side have the option to play out the remaining minutes of the fixture as a friendly. Fair play to Sedgley Park for opting to continue with the game.
Unfortunately for our visitors they were unable to put any points on the board despite the valiant efforts of their boys as it was Eccles who were to run in two additional tries in the closing moments; first Ed H completed his hat-trick of tries, then Rob S sealed victory with the second of his brace of tries. Harry C dotted the tees and crossed the eyes with two handsome conversions to bring his total to six.
Full Time 57 – 0
Many thanks to our visitors Sedgley Park Tigers for making the trip across the city and playing the game with spirit, aggression and passion that was befitting of a Valentines Day Derby Fixture. Having been on the end of some significant losses a few seasons back, there is a level of empathy that the Eccles lads will have for the Sedgley Tigers. Keep playing rugby the way you have been and we’re certain that you’ll return stronger.
Eccles RFC U15’s Starting IX
- Dan A – Loose Head Prop
- David S – Hooker
- Ellis P – Tight-Head Prop
- Matt L– Second Row
- James F – Second Row
- Joe R – Blind-Side Flanker (Captain)
- Albert T– Open-Side Flanker
- Alex H – Number Eight
- Dan G – Scrum-Half
- Harry C – Fly Half
- Rob S– Left Wing
- Shea S – Inside Centre
- Ed H– Outside Centre
- Jack W – Right Wing
- Brad P – Full-Back
Replacements – Chea C, Adam A & Archie H
Scores on the Doors
Half Time – 31 – 0
Blacksticks – 30 – 0 (Reporting Rules in the Spirit of Age Grade Rugby)
Full Time – 43 – 0 Game stopped at 55 minutes as Blacksticks rules
Score at completion – 57 – 0
Eccles Try Scorers – Ellis P, Ed H x 3, Rob S x 2, Shea S, Chea C, Brad P
Eccles Conversions – Harry C x 6
Eccles Men of the Match
Players Choice – Ed H
Coach Choice – Dan A
Parents Choice – Harry C
Great to see Big Paul back again following his bout of man-flu
This is what being part of Eccles Under 15’s is all about:
- Max R not playing – mum, dad, sister, Max and the dog came along to support the lads
- Alex T not playing – mum, dad and Yappy the dog came along to support the lads
- Matt W not playing – mum and (eventually) dad came along to support & coach the lads and work the brew machine
- Josh G not playing – mum and grandad came along to support her boys
As a reflection of the quality of rugby each of the Eccles lads displayed today, the parents Man of the Match was a three way tie prior to the final vote which went to Harry C.
The thing I remember about Harry’s performance was what I thought was one of the best moments in the game. From one of the Sedgley Park kick-offs, the ball was pumped high and deep in to the Eccles half; Harry ran and took the ball at full pace whilst in the air, he made 20 metres before releasing the ball inside to Matt L. Majestic!
Great kicking too Harry C
Great to have Chea C back and firing on all cylinders. He scored a fantastic solo try as all the parents screamed ‘pass, paaass, paaaaa great try Chea’
Below: Chea runs one in
Incredible selection of bottled ales and IPA’s in the Eccles clubhouse!!!
The partisan Eccles crowd well and truly got behind the lads today
It’s a real testament to the work that Coaches Kevin & James have been putting in with the lads that we are able to field a full fifteen plus three replacements on a day when we were without regular captain Matt W, Josh G, Max R, BOGOF James & Oliver W, Alex T, Rob
Well done Joe R in captaining the side to an emphatic victory over our local rivals in the absence of Matt W. Your hit on the Sedgley Park Full Back as he tried to clear his lines was without doubt one of the highlights of the game.
Below: Joey Eccles breaks from the scrum, ball in hand and supported by Harry C. A certain try but the referee spotted an infringement
Thank you Chris’tle for officiating todays game
It was pleasing to see Alex H continue his excellent run of form following his visit to Vidal Sasoon. He’s no Samson
Below: Alex H receives the ball and sets up the play with the assistance of Adam A
Below: Chea makes his move and starts his run across field before completing 80m to score
Thanks Max R who took up line duties despite his injury
Naughty Step 😇
Matt W is away in New York City – as are the keys to Coach Kevin’s garage….
If anyone is interested, Cath Riley is offering ‘Good Parenting’ classes following her “get to training, there’s nowt wrong with it” response to Max’s complaints about his sore shoulder. Max should be back in a few weeks once his broken collar bone has healed
- No love lost on Valentines Day
- Tigers tamed
- It’s Heinz 57 for Eccles
- Just what everyone wants on Valentines Day
- It’s Hawaii 5-0 for Eccles – Thanks Rob S for spoiling that one for me!!
The results archive of games against Sedgley Park shows the progression the lads have made: