After the game away at Ince Rose Bridge, the young Eagles were expecting another tough assignment, not helped by some key players being unavailable. They were not to be disappointed!
After Jakes great display at Ince, it was only fitting he should take the Captains armband and he took his place in the forwards replacing one who was unavailable. As usual Culcheth being a very sporting side like the opposition to score first and today was no different.
After a settling set each, the visitors passed left to one of their bigger lads, who took the ball on the run and powered through some weak Eagles tackling on the right to run 20 yards and score. Then, after being held up on the visitor’s line by more good Hornets defence the visitors quickly scored their second. The Eagles edge defence again letting them down, the signs were looking ominous.
At 2:0 down the Eagles woke up, a couple of sets later, Jack took the ball 5m out at first receiver, spotted a gap and drove through to score. Jake, Jack and Ben were now giving the team real go forward and tackling everything that moved down the middle it was turning into a real forwards battle.
One break by the visitors saw them running for the line, but the Hornet’s player was hauled down by a great flying tackle from Max which also took the player into touch.
Zak, having one of his best games for the Eagles, ran hard and straight at the defence, stepping at the last minute and broke through only to be hauled down short of the line.
The Eagles continued to drive at the heart of the Hornets defence but could find no way through, the effort taking its toll as the visitors crossed the line for 3 more tries before halftime. 1:5 down, the Eagles were mostly tackling well but it seemed one missed tackle and the visitors would score.
Refreshed by the break and the usual oranges, the Eagles set about the visitors with gusto, the defensive effort if anything going up a notch. The half time pep talk must have worked as, ‘for once’, the coaches words were heeded as Jack received the ball dummied, ran right and shot in at the corner.
A set later one of the Hornets broke the line and made a run for the whitewash, in a repeat of his try saving tackle against Orrell SJ, Isaac tore across the pitch and took the Hornets player to ground in full stride, getting a bloodied nose and a great round of applause from both sets of spectators into the bargin.
Alexanda, the youngest ‘man’ on the field was on with the instruction to ‘stay wide’, but as always, keen to do his bit, kept coming into the forwards to take the ball up. Using every ounce of his ‘3 stone wet though’ frame he drove the ball up, each time making 5 metres and in doing so showing some of his bigger team mates the way to go, but sadly receiving a high shot and a bust lip for his efforts. On the last tackle of the set, the ball went to Issac, who, in a copy of Jack’s earlier try, shot wide and in at the corner. 2 tries to 1, the Eagles were now leading the second half ! Iwan and Frank had a couple of good runs down the centres but couldn’t find a way around some excellent defence from the visitors.
Both sides continued to test each others try line to no avail. The visitors then brought 4 of their big lads back on to increase their firepower, a move which eventually paid off as they bulldozed over from 5 out to make it two tries apiece in the second half.
With 2 minutes left David received the ball, ran wide and up the touchline but was tackled 2 metres short. He managed to stay infield despite the close attention of a Hornets player who was intent on the young Eagle leaving the field, one way or another! David shortly returned to the field and immediately took the ball up only to be rewarded by another head high, at which point the ref blew for full time.
The second half ended two tries apiece, the Hornets score line being restricted by errors forced on them by some great defence from the Eagles.
At the end of the game and despite the 7:3 loss, the young Eagles were happy to compare bust lips and blooded noses showing what a physical environment the visitors had provided, but one in which the young Eagles never took a backward step.
Finally thanks to Halton Hornets for what was in retrospect a good game, the ref doing well to provide a flowing match despite his own team providing him numerous decisions to make for high shots and worse.
Awards: Isaac once again received the ‘top tackler’ well deserved for one phenomenal tackle halting a breakaway and saving a certain try. The most improved went to Alexanda who despite weighing about 3 stone with his pockets full, ran straight and hard making metres on every run. Impressive for a young man just turned 6. MoM could easily have gone to Jack for two tries and a huge defensive effort, but this week was pipped for it by Jake, who led the team from the front like a true captain and did everything asked of him.