U14s power into Vase final
By Richard Culver
Fantastic first half performance overwhelms Eccles as the U14s claim a place at finals day.
A beautiful morning, and a determined under 14s squad assembled at Broughton Park for their vase semi-final. Eccles had been too strong for the team earlier in the season, but the lads looked focused and determined not to miss out on a final place, following last years disappointment at West Park.
Some reshuffling was needed, with two front row forwards unavailable, the side lined up:
1 Dan; 2 Charlie H; 3 Ethan; 4 Ali; 5 Azzanne; 6 Yousuf; 7 Will C (c); 8 Jacob; 9 Will R; 10 Jack; 11 George; 12 Cian; 13 Tom; 14 Oli B; 15 Robin. Eoin, Charlie B & Alistair made up the bench.
From the kick off Eccles were under pressure, a bobbling ball wasn't secured and Eccles were deep in their 22, a turnover was won and Jacob was able to find space to score. 5-0.
Eccles enjoyed a spell of pressure, winning a penalty in the home sides half, but a poor kick gave MV a scrum and this was secured, before the backs launched a decisive attack, Will and jack combined, Tom took the pass in midfield and he found Cian who's run had Eccles stretched, and he broke the last couple of tackles to power over near the posts. Jack added the extras and 12-0 after just 5 minutes.
Again Eccles looked to bounce back, and they built a few good phases of rugby, before their talented centre crossed for a well worked try. 12-5, a great response.
Eccles looked to attack again, but good pressure forced the mistake, a midfield knock on, which Robin tidied up, fed Oil, who outpaced the Eccles defence and added another 5. 17-5.
Tom's catch from the kick off saw the MV centre launch another attack, he found Jacob who popped a lovely pass to Cian, running a short line through the middle of the Eccles line, a sidestep and a body swerve took him clear and under the posts, a simple conversion and at 24-5 the home team had a big lead.
More home team pressure, Ali, Ethan and Will were driving the visitors back in the tackle, and the Eccles backs looked to kick for territory to relieve some pressure. An MV line out saw another slick passing move, and Cian again broke through the Eccles line before some last ditched tackling hauled him down 5 yards short of the line, but his centre partner Tom was in support and applied a strong finish close to the posts. Again this was converted and Eccles were 31-5 down as the half time interval approached.
Eccles looked shell shocked, the MV pack was winning the collisions and the pace of the MV backs had them scrambling in defence. George and Robin looking to join the line whenever possible, giving the home side running options and width, but the hard straight running of Cian and Tom was proving too much for the visitors, Jacob and Yousuf were prominent too, punching holes and bringing on the carrying threat of Will, Ethan and Dan.
Tom took a knock allowing Alistair to join the fray.
An MV knock on gave Eccles a platform to attack, but the MV set piece was well on top, and Eccles were pushed off their ball, Yousuf broke and found Azzanne, who was stopped on the 5m line, his offload eluded Yousuf but found Will C who powered over the line with two Eccles defenders on his back. Another simple conversion for Jack and 38-5 was the halftime score.
At half time Charlie was withdrawn, Eoin joining the action, Ethan moving to hooker. Eccles had obviously had a roasting and this was a difficult half, with a bit of tiredness and a maybe a bit of "job done" thinking creeping in. Dan had a great run but Eccles scramble defence stopped him, before winning a good turnover as the MV pack were slow to support, and a period of Eccles pressure gained some reward with a well worked try, narrowing the score to 38-10.
Charlie B came on for Jack and he immediately freed the MV backline, Oli B unlucky not to score, knocking on as the Eccles defence just caught him on the line.
Eccles looked like they might win the half, but a some good MV pressure forced the visitors back into their in goal area, and an attempted clearance was charged down by Jacob, who was able to regather and force his way over from close range. Jack nailed a very tricky kick and extend the lead to 45-10.
The game was up, and the last few minutes were played out with little incident. Eccles well beaten, but a proud second half display stopping a cricket score.
Fantastic performances all over the pitch, Yousuf's best game since his return, Dan was excellent in the tight, Will R kept Eccles guessing and Tom having a great game at 13, but Ali's fearless tackling and Cian's clever running saw them named as man of the match.
The final will be on 23rd April, at Aldwinians,vs Warrington.