U9s v Heaton Moor, Sunday April 14th

Heaton Moor were this week’s visitors on what turned out to be a mild, sunny but windy Sunday morning. After a run of disappointing results against some very good teams, the boys were looking for a good performance to put their run behind them.

What followed in the opening 25 minutes was probably the boys’ most disappointing display of the season. There was a distinct lack of structure, the tackling was poor and players weren’t supporting each other in the way they had been doing throughout the season. By the end of the half, Eccles had conceded 6 tries without reply, and everyone was just glad to hear the half time whistle blow.

The half-time team talk was blunt but honest – the boys needed to support each other more and get their tackles in and this would make a difference. If there was an award for half-time team talks, then this would surely be the winner, and what a difference it made – with the words from George and James still ringing in their ears, the boys ran out for the beginning of the second half.

With the first attack of the second half, Eccles scored a try, the result of a fabulous team effort in pressing and driving forwards, ending with Henry placing the ball over the line. A minute later, Eccles scored their second try. Duncan grabbed the ball at the half way line and dragged himself (and 4 Heaton Moor players), over the line to score, the result of great determination and strength.

Heaton Moor then added a seventh try but Luke H quickly brought Eccles back into the game again to make the score 3-7.

Eccles then really turned on the heat, with 3 almost identical tries. The team really pulled together, moving the ball forwards and driving the Heaton players backwards, to force the ball over the line. First, it was Joe to score a try, quickly followed by efforts from Connor and Will R.

With the score now at 6-7, Eccles kept on pushing forwards, with some great tackling from Robert and a run from Luke F, although he was tackled just before he got to the line. Finley and Matthew were running at the Heaton defence at every opportunity and Jack was providing great support to George.

The home crowd were thinking that this would be the comeback to end all comebacks, but then Heaton Moor scored two quick breakaway tries to make the score 6-9.

Jake then added Eccles’ seventh try, again the result of a great team effort, and the Henry capped off a great individual performance with his second try and Eccles’ eighth of the game. As soon as Henry placed the ball over the line, the full time whistle blew to end the game with a narrow defeat for Eccles, 8-9. However, for as bad as they had played in the first half, they completely outplayed Heaton Moor in the second half, winning the half 8-3.

All of the boys contributed fantastically well in the second half, with great tackling, driving and thoughtful, controlled passing. It was also fantastic to see so many different players (7) scoring tries, emphasising what a great team effort it was.

The Man of the Match trophy could have been given to a number of players, such was the quality of the performance, particularly in the second half, with some great performances, particularly from Henry and George. Will R was this week’s recipient for a great all-round performance including a deserved try (in addition to muddy kit and injury!).

Result: Eccles 8 v 9 Heaton Moor

Man of the Match: Will R

Match Squad: Joe, Luke H, Luke F, Henry, Harry, Duncan, Will R, Connor, Matthew, Jake B, Jack, Robert, George, Finley.