What a glorious day! The faint whiff of amber solaire and a sea of ReyBen sunnies fresh from the Magaluff lucky-lucky man served to confirm that the sun was indeed shining upon the righteous as the boys of the Eccles Under 16’s played host to Clitheroe RUFC in the Semi-Final of the 2016/17 Development Plate.
A fantastic crowd including a number of sun seeking first team players (guns blazing), Club Sponsors and even dogs on string contributed to a terrific atmosphere, were rewarded with some of the best rugby that the Under 16s have produced all season.
Clitheroe RUFC came into the game off the back of a convincing win over Garstang, Eccles on the other hand had seen steady form but a run of a few disappointing results against some good opposition; the Semi was set up to be a classic.
Clitheroe got the game started with a kick deep into the Eccles half and in truth this was about as close at our visitors got to the Eccles Try line in the whole of the first half, such was the dominance of the Eccles team. This is not intended to be a glib or disrespectful comment, it is just a statement of fact – this is how good Eccles were in the first half.
Rob S was the first to score, eventually receiving a pass out wide following some powerful drives from the Forwards. In typical style Rob turned on the gas, ran the line and grounded the ball right in the corner.
Next to score was Joe R who ran onto the ball from a short angle following some good recycling work from the Eccles duo of Matty L and finally Ellis P.
Rob S ran in Eccles third and his second Try moments later in a period of total domination for Eccles. On this occasion he gave Matt W a chance of conversion which he duly obliged from right in from to the posts.
The final Try of the first half came from todays outstanding Hooker Dan A who showed tremendous athleticism (for a smurf) as he collected the popped pass from the ruck, dropped a shoulder to the Clitheroe defence, stepping inside the oncoming tackles to plant the ball firmly over the line
Half Time Eccles 22 – 0 Clitheroe
Clitheroe rallied in the second half and for the first twenty minutes had their fair share of possession. For the first time in the game Eccles found themselves needing to show their defensive qualities. Eccles absorbed and in some cases (Albert) revelled in the physicality that Clitheroe brought to the early part of the half. Eccles held firm and gradually ripped back the momentum from Clitheroe, driving our visitors back towards their own Try line in a manner similar to that of the first half.
The second half deadlock was eventually broken by Ellis P who, on the 38th time of trying, took the ball inside and crashed his way through the Clitheroe defensive lines to extend the lead to 27 points.
Harry C got himself on the scoresheet with a fantastically opportunistic Try, reacting to a loose ball and like Ronaldo (not the fat one obviously) he kicked the ball through towards the Try line before racing on like a sunburnt Brit on their first day in Ayia Napa at the last orders bell to score beneath the posts.
The game was closed out in fantastic style with yet another opportunistic Try, this time from the quick thinking Dan A who collected a loose ball inside his own half before tucking it under his arm and racing the full 800 yards pursued by the Clitheroe defence – all it needed was the theme tune from Benny Hill
30* – 0 Full Time
Well thats that! The semi is a distant memory. We have been forced to cancel our beloved trip on the Monkey Bus to Colne but we have a final to look forward to in a fortnights time against Rossendale who progressed due to Sefton being unable to field a team.
Eccles U16’s Vital Statistics
Todays Eccles Squad
- Josh G– Loose Head Prop
- Dan A – Hooker
- Ellis P – Tight-Head Prop
- Oliver W – Second Row
- James W – Second Row
- Joe R – Blind-Side Flanker
- Matty L– Open-Side Flanker
- Kieron R– Number Eight
- Tanny K – Scrum-Half
- Matt W– Fly Half (Captain)
- Rob S– Left Wing
- Shea S– Outside Centre
- Harry C – Inside Centre
- Max R – Right Wing
- Brad P – Full-Back
Bench Strength. Today the lads were benching about 300Kgs
Replacements – David S, James F, Ross A, Jack W, Albert T
Just look at that bench….Strength in depth!
AWOL – Alex H, Alex T
Treatment Table – Ed H
Scores on the Doors
Eccles 22 – 0 Clitheroe
Eccles 30* – 0 Clitheroe
- Rob S x 2
- Joe R
- Ellis P
- Dan A x 2
- Harry C
- Matt W x 3
Eccles Men of the Match
Players Choice – Dan A
I have to agree with the players here. Dan A had a phenomenal game. He was at the heart of everything that Eccles did well from start to finish. Quick thinking at the penalty situation would often gain Eccles ten’s of yards up the pitch. A try in each half, the second being an opportunistic Try which brought the game to a close with the Tournament maximum permitted delta achieved. Can someone make a mental note to bring some breathable gaffer tape to the final though!!
Coach Choice – James W
A fantastic performance from a player who has made Second Row his own over that last two seasons. As a second jumper in the line out James today was imperious, never losing a battle (were there any?) against his opposite number. In the scrum he was the cornerstone, absorbing the pressure before making the push that inevitably lead to Eccles securing the ball. We all thought James was on for a Try which would have capped a memorable first half performance but he was felled just a couple of metres from the Try line.
Parent Choice – Tanny K
This started out as a close vote with 11 players getting at least one vote and three lads receiving multiple votes. In the end Tanny was the runaway winner having received more than double the votes of his closest rival. Tanny is still relatively new to the club and also the game but his tenacity and speed of thought has found him to be a regular contender for an EMoM. His diminutive stature is nothing short of a deception, he is fast, strong and powerful, making fools of many an opposition player
Unfortunately for coach James, it wasn’t he who won the EMoM today but his namesake James W
Great to see Ed H down at Eccles to cheer his team mates on. Hopefully the broken leg will heal quickly and he will be back soon.
Recent retiree Alex T came down to watch too. Alex has been immense during his time with the lads but has had long spells out with a number of injuries to his favourite hand and has decided to (temporarily we hope) hang up his boots.
No major injuries today from what I recall. Matt W has a bloody nose and Tanny K took a knock to his knee, both should be fit for the final in two weeks time.
“What an amazing semi” said Lisa Walker, words not heard in the Walker household for a number of years
Do we know if the lad who bounced off David S at last weeks game has been found safe and well yet?
Todays match report has been brought to you by Twitter, red wine and IPA
Many of the lads play both codes of rugby and as the League season gets under way it is vital for the Eccles Under 16s that all the lads give everything to ensure that their last season as juniors ends on a high. I’m sure Coaches James and Kevin will be in touch directly or via Leeann to clarify what training is to be scheduled together with what is expected on match day.
The lads all need to take a moment to reflect on where they have all come from as a team, the dizzy days of fifty points plus losses, those times when we would have only 80% of the numbers required to make a team up with opposition offering us some like who has turned up on his BMX in joggers and a hoodie. Look at what you have all achieved. Lets go out there and collect the silverware!
Now I don’t like this sort of thing and especially when it is directed at one of my sons. I have to bring to light the outrageous instructions from Coach Kevin when all he had to do was ask Joe to retain the ball – shouting “keep it, simple” is just not on!!
I have collected a mountain of photos from a few sources including Lisa Walker, Chris Acton, Harry Rapinett. I intended to edit them in to some form of album but there were just too many good ones. Hopefully you ill be able to view them all and save any you would like to keep at the following link A Cracking Semi – could someone let me know if the link works or not please.