As another season of rugby comes to a conclusion, Club Chairman Andy Brunt speaks of the success at the club.
Well, that’s it, relegation battle won, finals hosted, cup finals competed in, marquee weekend over, pitch leveled and seeded, the season’s over. Some have already started again (or not stopped – you choose) as they continue training but most are easing off for a couple of months of well earned rest and recuperation.
The final stages have gone well culminating in the men’s first XV staying up in the challenging League North West 1 and the boys under 15’s competing with Preston Grasshoppers at Southport to be the best team in Lancashire. The whole season has been very solid with the second, thirds and fourths all challenging for promotion and all eventually finishing third in their respective leagues just short of second place promotion. The odd fifth team fixture has been the icing on the cake in terms of future prospects.
The ladies first XV have maintained their league status in North 1, the second level in England, and their embryonic second team has managed to field a genuine second XV on average once a month. Individually 9 have just been chosen to represent Lancashire and 1 to represent the North of England.
Our senior colts didn’t manage their always ambitious attempt to complete this final season with so many away at university, but the good news is that those remaining regularly play for the adult teams on Saturdays leaving our Junior Colts to fly the Eccles Colts flag on Sundays and mimicking the adult teams in challenging for their league title all season but falling just short at the death.
Our under 13’s, 15’s and 18’s girls go from strength to strength with considerable additions this season, significantly helped by the coaching in local schools. Their season was enhanced by a team building camp for all the girls at Prestatyn (at the old “Jam Butty Camp”). Anyone who witnessed the girls at this Sunday’s presentation couldn’t have failed to have been impressed with their achievements both as teams and, like the ladies, for their individual representation, with 10 at Lancashire and 4 for the North of England.
The Junior and Mini sections never fail to impress with their players’, parents’, coaches’ and managers’ enthusiasm and high standards, and their integration into the club. The growth of the U14 group has been particularly pleasing & the fact they narrowly lost to Bolton in the vase final shows how far they’ve come. The U13’s toured with a group of 50+ parents and players to Gloucester and represented Eccles in the best light. Additionally, two Senior players have taken up the mantel of coaching and their knowledge has been welcomed by the respective teams.
This season the DoE section, now in its fourth year, with 30 passing bronze, 22 on silver and 19 doing gold, continues its impressive development, as do the participants as individuals. To get a feel of their activity over a five month period have a quick look at their calendar at http://www.ecclesrfc.org.uk/eccles-duke-of-edinburgh-award-calendar/
All of the above is possible due to the 80 or so volunteers carrying out about 120 volunteering roles in the club. I’ve purposely not mentioned names, although tempted while writing each section above, as to mention some names and miss others could not be done fairly, at least not by a mere mortal like me.
Thanks to everyone who’s played a part and those few who haven’t, perhaps have a think about helping next time. We’re not closed down. We’ve got touch rugby starting soon and the beer festival in July so participants and helpers needed as ever. I quite fancy having a spell as a participant in the July activity!
Andy Brunt, Chairman of Eccles RFC