Our mini and junior teams finally got the opportunity to enjoy some competitive rugby this weekend with fixtures against Warrington, Bolton and Sale. In keeping with the surreal expereince of kicking off the season in May, the weather turned appropriately Autumnal!
U7s v Sale (Home)
Eccles under 7s welcomed Sale FC for their very first fixture on Sunday! The lads were straight into it with an action-packed blast of Bulldog, leaving Benty short of breath (as well as height!) The lads then looked sharp during the handling drills as the main event approached.
30 boys then threw themselves into 2 competitive fixtures across 3 pitches with 9 referees! Parents cheered and coaches beamed as the lads showed great teamwork and listening skills. The chants of defensive ‘walls’ and cries of support runners made for end to end action and enjoyment all around.
In true Minis style, the session concluded with a bruising game of ROLLING ROCKS. The Sale outfit ran the gauntlet like gladiators and we look forward to welcoming their Under 6s next time!
Thanks to Loren and Elton from Sale and the entire Eccles backroom staff for a superb joint effort and smiles all around. We’re very proud of the efforts of the lads (and Sale ladette). Onto TMV next week for the next instalment of the Mini Revolution.
U8s v Bolton (Away)
U9s v Bolton (Away)
U10s v Bolton (Away)
U11s v Bolton (Away)
What an opening game after such a long time away from competitive rugby. There certainly wasn't any rust showing though with a great full team performance from the U11s.
Big shout out to Jamie, his first game after just 2 training sessions and he proved he is more than willing to get stuck in. Another shout to Harry, he was that effective (especially at clearing out the ruck) we forgot that this was his first game also. Great runs from Fin and Edward gained us a very healthy lead with Fin showing great sportsmanship sharing the trys. Well done Seb, first try ever but as usual brilliant support and tackling. All in all a brilliant performance, great teamwork and a great sign of things to come.
U12 v Bolton (Away)
U13s v Bolton (Away)
After over a year, the Eccles Under 13s boys made the trip to Bolton for their return to rugby. Short on numbers the hosts graciously provided a couple of boys so that the team could have their first ever 13 a-side game on a full-size pitch.
The boys gave an excellent account of themselves leading by example captain Mikey chopped down the Bolton big men time and time again, as did Max and Dom, who made up for the time missed with tackle counts fit for a season, never mind a match. Despite spending much of the first quarter under constant pressure, the team only allowed the hosts to cross once and soon responded thanks to some great running rugby finished by Ben.
With the excellent defence, when they had possession, they generally made it count, with Owen getting quick ball away from the ruck meant that they were always a threat, with the pace of the likes of Oliver, Theo and Finn, Eccles were always in the game.
It was a good game of open flowing rugby with both teams rarely putting boot to ball. In the final quarter this had an impact on the Eccles side who were out on their feet, but still giving their all for the shirt. Bolton’s rotation meant that their team were fresher and despite the best efforts of Flynn, Alfie, and Ed this showed at the beginning of the fourth quarter with the hosts crossing a couple of times.
However, in true Eccles spirit, at the final whistle it was them pressuring the Bolton line. It was a great game and good account of the boys. Their efforts proved we have a good core of boys here and it would be sad if they get downhearted and loose interest because of lack of numbers. Anyone interested in joining the U13s is more than welcome to attend our training sessions Wednesdays 7pm to 8pm. Please contact Mark Thorpe 07747470441 for more info.
U13s Girls - MINI WARRIOR EVENT
The Eccles RFC Girls hosted their first Mini Warrior event of 2021 on Sunday and invited girls at local clubs to join them. Full report and photos here mini warrior returns link
U14s v Bolton (Home)
What an absolutely belting return to rugby as a joint Eccles/Ashton unit. A healthy turnout from the home-side meant that we were able to field a full team with a couple of rolling subs. Unfortunately, our opposition, Bolton, were suffering with a depleted squad. As spirited as ever, the rugby family is always willing to pull together, and with a few willing volunteers prepared to become temporary opposition, we were able to play 14 aside for what turned out to be a very exciting match.
Despite a bit of a shaky start and some slow reaction at the ruck, Eccles/Ashton soon found their feet and were putting Bolton under immense pressure. Some big hits were going in from both sides and the Bolton team was demonstrating a steadfast and strong defence, not easily broken down.
Fortunately, we didn’t have to wait very long before Eccles/Ashton scored their first try which seemed to rattle the opposition and open up the flood-gates for some slick rugby from the home side – spraying the ball down the line and exploiting space on the wing.
Try after try went over followed by some impressive range-kicking for the conversions. An almost flawless performance. Final score: Eccles/Ashton 64 Bolton 0
I have to say that it’s been truly impressive how quickly Eccles/Ashton have gelled as a team – almost as if they’ve been playing together for a long time. I think it’s fair to say that based on today’s performance, we are all excited to see what this new merged team of boys can do.
U15s v Warrington (Away)
Eccles took to the field for their first game for over 12 months away at Warrington on Friday, the team was a mixture of established players along with some players making their Eccles debut which meant there were a few positional changes in the starting XV.
Eccles kicked off and looked well organised in the first few minutes of play and held the home side out with some well drilled defence until Warrington shipped the ball out to the Eccles right hand side and found themselves with an overlap which allowed the home sides winger to slide in unopposed in the corner but the kick was missed.
Following the restart Warrington continued to drive forwards but some strong tackling from the away side kept them at bay and Eccles managed to turn the ball over to gain possession for the first time in the match, some strong running from James, Chase and Matt G was starting to punch some holes in the home sides line but Eccles couldn’t make the decisive break and too often turned the ball over when in good field position.
Another turnover from Eccles gave the home sides number 10 the ball in broken play and he evaded the Eccles cover defence to jink his way from the half way line to touch down in front of the posts giving himself and easy kick to make the score 12-0 after 20 minutes.
Eccles were proving to be their own worst enemy at times with some loose carries, missed kicks to touch and dropped balls gifting possession to the home side which was making the defence work a lot harder than it should have and although there were some strong efforts notably by Jack , Shayne , Cael , Jake and Evan in the middle it was taking its toll and Warrington added a third try direct from a line out when the home sides forward caught the ball and crashed over from 10 yards but again the extra 2 points were missed to leave the score 17-0.
Eccles were beginning to grow into the game and controlled the ball more which allowed the backs to get their hands on the ball and when the ball was moved wide Fletcher made good ground with some evasive running and was well backed up by Johnny who was showing his pace when he got on the ball.
A fourth first half try was harsh on Eccles but left the score at 22-0 which didn’t reflect the effort the lads had put in and the half time whistle went with Eccles about to have possession on the Warrington 10 metre line after a precise kick through from Joe Davies which the home sides fullback had to carry into touch.
There were a lot of half time substitutions which led to other positional changes which seemed to galvanise the Eccles team and allowed the away side to start the half on the front foot , a persistent downpour for all of the half meant that a controlled , well organised display was in order and moving Jack L into the forwards allowed his dynamic running to case problems for Warrington whilst the introduction of both Blake and Josh gave a renewed energy to the team with both of those players putting opposition players on their backsides with powerful runs.
The first score of the half went to the home side again out wide following a turnover in midfield but the kick was again off target but was against the run of play in the early stages of the half , from the restart the Warrington prop forward seemed to knock on but the referee didn’t agree and allowed play to continue which seemed to distract Eccles from organising their defence as a precise kick from Warrington’s number 10 saw their winger catch the ball with no defenders near him and a change in kicker moved the score to 34-0, this was harsh on the Eccles side.
Eccles re-grouped and determined to claim some points for their efforts went on to dominate the last 8 minutes of play. A massive tackle from Jack seemed to fire up his teammates as they now were really on the front foot , the physical effort from Eccles was taking its toll on Warrington and a high tackle on James resulted in a bit of push and shove reflecting the away sides improved display.
Warrington were struggling now and were only able to kick the ball way in hope of relieving the pressure but Johnny was returning the ball with interest in his new role at fullback and more strong running from Leighton and Raff kept Eccles on the front foot which allowed Joe to force his way over from close range after more excellent approach play. Jack added the extra 2 points to take the score to 34-7.
There was only 2 minutes left in the game at the restart but Eccles were now in the ascendancy and wanted to finish strong against a tiring Warrington team , the ball was taken in well from kick off and more determined running allowed Matt G to slide over under the posts giving Jack a straightforward kick to take the final score to 34-14.
Unfortunately for Eccles the referee called time and a relieved look on the home sides faces was in stark contrast to the Eccles side who would loved to have had another 10 minutes where further points would have undoubtedly arrived.
Looking back on the game there were a lot of positives to show for the effort put in after such a long break and the next games will allow the team to iron out some of the errors in the first half and will only stand the lads in good stead when the season really starts later in the year.
U16s v Bolton (Home)
This Sunday Eccles u16s also played their first game in over a year at home to Bolton. Both sides struggled for numbers through the week but come Sunday Bolton managed a travelling squad of 13 with Eccles having 18, meaning we could lend players to even the numbers up.
It was Eccles who got the scoring underway with a great breakaway try down the right wing culminating in Akeal dotting down. Shortly after Eccles’ fast rugby proved too much for the Bolton defence once more with our flying winger Akeal being the beneficiary. With Alex adding the extras 12-0 a quarter through. If the first quarter was a backs game the second certainly wasn’t with the Eccles forwards demonstrating their power to see back row Vinnie crash over for another. It was then Bolton’s turn to apply some pressure straight from kick off which resulted in a penalty 5 meters out which Eccles could not defend resulting in a Bolton try. But in what was a crazy few minutes, it was Eccles’ turn to score straight from kick off, a perfectly weighted kick from Matt Reed which fly half Alex got on the end of to score. 26-7 at half time.
Another promising sign for Eccles was a debut for Alex McVeigh who was trying his hand at union for the first time after changing codes. It wasn’t long before he got on the scoresheet with a grubber kick through and a fortunate bounce. His second coming moments later by a more conventional route, offloading rugby to the left wing where he crashed over for his second, both converted by Alex Strother. Eccles wrapped up a excellent performance with a second from Man of the match Vinnie, converted once more by Alex Strother. FT 45-7.