Despite what was a worrying start with a coach, a couple of players and the tags down, the outlook for the day didn’t look good. In addition, the organisation of the tournament wasn’t looking great either. That said, I don’t really have a great deal of experience with tournaments, so this may end up being one of the better ones.
It became quickly apparent that the two biggest challenges for the kids were going to be the size of the pitches and the wait between games. Playing on much larger pitches meant a much greater area to cover in both defence and attack and would require some quick adaptation……….. and adapt they did!
From Lee, our statistician …
In the group stages we played Lymm, Warrington, Preston and Bowden with all games being decided 1 try or less.
Lymm 5 -4 Eccles
Warrington 4-4 Eccles
Preston 6 -6 Eccles (absolutely superb game from both sides)
Bowden 6 -5 Eccles
Fourth Place Play-offs
Then we played Bury (who were too scared, so they didn’t show up) – so we got a ‘bye’.
We were then supposed to play Old Alwinians (but they were too scared of Eccles, so they didn’t show up).
So we won, by simply hanging around for what felt like (actually was) 2 hours.
All star players, top marks to Ben, Louis, Guy and Charlie for ‘holding’ strong in the centre of play against some ‘big lads’.
Other notable moments for me were Harry’s ‘barnstorming runs’, Zak’s great captaincy – making the team hold the line and spread out, Lucas’s running and skipping over players, Reece’s speed.
I don’t think we were outplayed in any of the matches and I would’ve argued that I thought we were the better team in most of them. I agree with Lee on the notable performances, with great organisation all round.
My moment of the match came after we seemed to fall into a period of play where our attacking was a little bit one dimensional, with a lot of sideways running and everything aimed at trying to score in the corners. What we needed was someone to show the others that a strong determined run through the middle was equally, if not far more effective. Who was it going to be the hero of the moment and the set the example? Well cometh the hour, cometh Harry, who picked up the ball from a great piece of support play, put his head down and went for it down the centre. Assisted by unprecedented screams of encouragement from every Eccles parent on the sidelines, he ploughed his way through and scored. What a try….. what a smile on his face. Now oozing with confidence, he promptly went and scored again in exactly the same way shortly after.
We shouldn’t overlook some great tries by Reece, who, in his usual lightening fashion, shot down the wings giving the opposition no chance. What a weapon he’ll be for us in the future!
STAR OF THE WEEK. Overall, there were outstanding moments throughout the day from all the kids, including some superb last ditch tags. So this week every single member of the team gets STAR OF THE WEEK. Really well done to them all.
Finally, I’d like to acknowledge the parents. Not only do I think we’ve got a smashing bunch of kids who all get along really well, but we’ve also got some really great parents too. A big thanks to James for coming along and bringing some of his training experience from the U 10s. From memory I think at some point throughout the VERY LONG day, nearly all the parents were pitching in with the kids to help keep them entertained, occupied and warmed up.
A special mention to Zach’s Mum who had them not only the most attentive they’d been, but also had them doing some great drills…… a possible new addition to the coaching staff? Seriously though, at the end of the day I was left with a warm and fuzzy feeling (not from the pie) about the future. We’ve got a great bunch of kids, supported by great parents, playing for a smashing club. I think I speak on behalf of all the coaches when I say that I think the future looks bright and I’m really looking forward to watching these kids progress together.
Next week we are away at Tyldesley, St George’s Park, Astley St, Tyldesley, Manchester M29 8HG. 10:15 for a 10:30 start.
Gav and Lee