Result: Won 35-40
We anticipated that Manchester would provide us with strong opposition and we were not wrong. Today’s match proved to be our most challenging match of the season; the opposition were well drilled and looked like a good outfit during warm up.
Early in the match, Eccles were out-scrummed by a heavy Manchester pack, hence any knock-ons were costly. However, Harvey made his first super tackle of the match and soon after, Lucas made a break-away from the half way line to score the first of his hat trick of tries.
It was a real battle for possession in the centre ground of the pitch, with Eccles forwards Harvey, Connor, George, Will R, Jake, Duncan, Billy and Luke H giving as good as they got. There was good pressure at the breakdown from Jack and George providing valuable turn overs. Then, Henry broke away to sprint half the pitch to score his try; well-deserved after all of his tackles.
There was no let up from Manchester, every time Eccles added points to the scoreboard, Manchester put themselves right back in the match with another try. The boys were feeling the pressure and the spectators were wondering if they could keep up their pace and concentration for the entire match. It was nail biting stuff.
Harry made a superb run down the wing only to be thwarted by a strong tackle three metres from the line; the ball was subsequently passed along the line to Nathan, who took off down the opposite wing with great speed to put the ball down over the line.
Jake was again key to decision making at scrum half and with his kicking ability. Another try would have been forthcoming if we had managed to chase down one of his penetrating kicks.
George ended the first half with his try, another one scored with a sprint from half way following an off-load from Luke F.
The first half was a good contest, enjoyable and thrilling to watch. It was noted how much the boys had developed. We had our fingers crossed for the second half.
Tango man had had an identity change, as Colin appeared with the half time oranges – yum!
The second half, we were playing against the wind. Was this going to be a disadvantage?
The half gave much of the same; two evenly matched teams battling for possession and using break-aways to score. The coaches made some amendments to the scrum and instead of being out-scrummed, we started to hold our ground, allowing Jake to get the ball out effectively. On one such occasion, it was straight out to Lucas who scored another.
Will B put in a great tackle on a man twice his size and shortly afterwards was tearing down the wing, avoiding the oncoming attack in order to score his richly deserved try.
The match was neck and neck until the end; we scored one, they scored one. With five minutes to go and the score at 35-35, Harvey made what could be the tackle of the season. He chased the man and brought him down, with great cheers from the Eccles supporters. After a successful Eccles scrum, George handed off the attack to off load to Sam, who scored the winning try in the final seconds.
Tango man re-appeared with full time Jaffa cakes, which went down a treat – no pressure for next week, Aimee! Did I hear the mention of fillet steak?
We ought to learn a lot from this match, as playing challenging rugby is how we are going to improve for the future.
Squad: Billy, Connor, Duncan, George, Harry, Harvey, Henry, Jack, Jake, Lucas, Luke F, Luke H, Nathan, Sam, Will B, Will R
Tries: Lucas 3, Henry, George, Will B, Nathan, Sam