It was a hectic start to a pleasant Sunday morning- referee unable to attend, sickness and injuries forcing players to pull out and also a coach (with the tags) down for the day to boot. After a little running around (thanks Lee) we managed to field a team of 4, with shirts and tags. Phew!!!!
Our team, missing two of last year’s stalwarts, consisted of
Super Sensational Sandy,
Fantastic Flying Finley
Mighty Mouse Michael
The pool games.
First up was Bolton. This should have been the opening game but Bolton were not there! In hindsight competition rule 4 should have been invoked “Any team failing to appear within 5 minutes of the published kick-off time will forfeit the game” but ever sporting we allowed the games to be switched around. Eventually Bolton turned up but we didn’t! Bolton’s aggressive, in-your-face style coupled with the players being the size of a Tyrannosaurus Rex’s the diminutive Eccles seem were very much intimidated. With little experience to call on (it was only Fin and Flynn’s second ever game) they had a torrid time with the Bolton pressure causing a number of Eccles mistakes resulting in tries. As the game was closing out, with Bolton well ahead Finley picked up the ball in his own half, from a rare Bolton error and screamed down the touchline, ears pinned back leaving the Bolton players in his wake to score the first and only try for Eccles. Final score Bolton 6-1 Eccles. MOM for Eccles, Finley.
The next game was Lymm. Eccles still seemed overawed by the competition as Lymm eased into a 5-1 lead at half time with Sandy scoring the only Eccles try. Another beating was in the offing.
After a stern half time team talk Eccles hit back. Michael took on the captain’s mantle organising the defence and started to pull the strings in attack and going over for his first try of the tournament. Flynn started to get into the game and also went over, followed by a second from Michael. When Finley scored the fourth without answer the sides were even but the drama was not over! Lymm responded with two quick tries. Eccles countered with another try from Michael for his hatrick and a dropped Eccles ball at the death gave a narrow win to Lymm. Final score Lymm 7-6 Eccles. MOM for Eccles, Michael.
The lack of subs plus the gaps between games was meaning fatigue and boredom was starting to set in. In a pre-match football game Michael had a clash of heads and his left eye started to puff out. After a quick check by the medics it was determined he had another eye and could continue.
The final pool game was against Preston Grasshoppers. Again this was a close affair with Flynn taking centre stage. His confidence was up from the previous game, he had stopped running backwards and his no nonsense all action style was giving it large to Preston. Michael, still nursing his eye, tried to organise but at the final whistle it was another slender defeat. Final score, Preston 6-4 Eccles. MOM for Eccles, Flynn.
Whilst waiting for the fourth place play-offs to start Michael was in the wars again! Whilst swinging on the first team pitch barriers he sliced his leg on a piece of metal. The medic got out his first aid kit and 76 stitches later he was patched up and ready to go again. (I may have exaggerated a touch!)
Fourth Place Play-Offs
With Bury, our next opponents a no show it was a bye into the final against the home team, Rossendale.
After consulting with the referee and opposing coach the controversial 2 pass rule was dropped. In a pre game team talk the fact that this game was a final and a trophy was at stake was thrown into the mix. The final for the “Rossendale Shield” commenced.
Unlike previous games, Eccles flew out of the blocks. The so far quiet Sandy seemed to have the bit between his teeth and a determined glint in his eye. His balance and strength flowed in abundance and he quickly racked up three tries in quick succession with one in response from Rossendale.
The second half Flynn had the opportunity to increase the Eccles lead but lost the ball over the line rather than grounding it, Michael also did the same attempting a diving score. Nail biting moments ensued as Rossendale hit back, but Michael promptly restored the lead dancing thought the defenders like a gazelle. The game was still not over as the Rossendale sub scored again to bring the opposition back within one score.
The final 2 minutes of the game saw another try for Rossendale but more importantly another try for Michael and a fourth of the match for Sandy. Final score, Rossendale 4-6 Eccles. MOM for Eccles, Sandy.
After the final whistle the team did not know the score … when announced did they ask “can we go and get the trophy” … no it was “Can we play in the woods now” … Absolutely!
I am immensely proud of the team’s performances considering it’s their first tournament and the team can only get better.
Finley continues to come out of his shell and his speed down the wing is exceptional. Flynn got stuck in and did not look out of place at the tournament with boys that have been playing rugby for a lot longer.
Sandy took a while to get going but when he did he was awesome and played the starring role in the final. Michael also had a good day at the office showing good organisation, balance and poise throughout.
STAR OF THE WEEK. Its not difficult to pick this week, its impossible. A different player claimed Man of the Match in each of the four matches and therefore the STAR OF THE WEEK goes to the whole team.
The final paragraph of this report goes to the parents. It turned out to be a long day and I would like to thank you for travelling all the way to Rossendale and supporting them throughout.
Next week we are away at Tyldesley, St George’s Park, Astley St, Tyldesley, Manchester M29 8HG. 10:15 for a 10:30 start.