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1st XV - Match centre

Eccleshall RUFC
Sun 6 May 13:30 - Cup Full time

ECCLESHALL 1XV bring home the Owen Cup after 31 years - the unofficial match report

Rounding off a great season ERUFC 1XV toiled for a while but ran out 29-12 winners in the end

Well firstly what a day!!! Spoiler alert there for the uninformed or for the one person in Eccy who did not know after seeing our sign up in the high street!!!

Again for the last time this season indulge this mystery writer one more time! Lets get the inside track for you from the day of the Owen Cup Final

Well the day started at 9.30am (supposedly though some late comers joined in good time) for a trot about on the paddock at Baden go through a few moves etc etc. then the important bit a free lunch!! The finest pasta and chicken from Baden hall so thanks to Jonty and Julie for this and of course thanks for the entire season

The lads all got on the coach for the short hop to Leek. A much shorter coach journey than we were used to but the boys were steely in their gaze and knew we had to finish the season the right way and that was too add the Owen cup to the league and midlands junior vase to have 3 trophies for the season! There were nerves in the air and certainly amongst the more rotund forwards the heat was a worry. Rumours had been abound that sitting near wooj and parker the skin could be heard to be sizzling and the smell of pig was in the air!!!

We knew that our opposition had once had the better of us. Rugeley at the beginning of this season beat us by one point in a tough and brutal encounter at their place and though we got revenge in the league season as only one of 3 teams to beat us we knew this was going to be a battle.

The first half seemed to go by in a blur and often cup finals are decided by a few key plays. Eccy seemed to be having a bit more possession, in defence Rugeley were aggressive and stopping us in our tracks. The scrums were solid for Eccy and it was clear our line out with jimmy ‘the bozzer’ dodkins and zach ‘poster boy’ chadwick calling the shots was gaining the upper hand, our ball was clean and theirs was scrappy. In the heat rolling subs were key and toby linked up well with one of these rolling subs, some would say the ultimate rolling sub! Cal ‘the pigdozer’ perry followed up on tobys great break and eccy held onto the ball.

The ball finding its way to Joe who decided rather than go through the middle why not cross field kick! Andy ‘the tape man’ whieldon caught well but was held short he offloaded to James ‘CorporalOfCalamityKick’ Hunter who dotted down! A superb try to grace a final with the precision mesmerising. Papa indigo Golf missed the conversion. 5-0 to Eccy and in a nervy final this was important we scored first. Rugeley seemed to be living off our mistakes and their direct runners were becoming more of a threat. And eccy finally let them in. from a poorly chased 22 drop out the Rugeley receiver sauntered his way past too many people before passing for his man to score in the last moments of the first half. Conversion nailed and eccy were 7-5 down at half time.

We were fuming at half time. We had not ben clinical enough we had not moved them around and to be honest we were not happy with our performance. We needed to work the ball more, keep it and get Rugeley’s big men moving around the pitch. There was calm within us though and I think our exposure to high pressure games helped us. We re-iterated keep the ball!!!!

From the second half kick off joe ‘rlrlrlrlrl’ Furlong lofted one up and Eccy chased pressure leading to a knock on and Eccy built and built. We kept the ball so well and we actually had a try disallowed for Hunter with a forward pass. Still we kept up the pressure with the ball and after a neat switch off a line out by Joe, Andy Whieldon got hold of the ball and ran it in. Ward converting and Eccy were 12-7 up and looking good.

If they could keep up the pressure surely the cup was theirs??? Well Rugeley had other ideas and really came back hard at us! More direct running and feeding off our mistakes and they finally made it over the line! No conversion but now the score was 12-12 and Eccy yet again had been pegged back.

The heat was starting to tell and luckily our boys were holding up better to it. A sweeping move leading to another kick through and denning getting an offload off Whieldon for a try. But no it was called back for the smallest of pushes from Andy! Eccy did keep up the pressure though and a superb sweeping move from half way led to another try. Joe drew men away from Toesby ‘the cuck’ buckley to get him one on one with his opposite man who he gassed and ran in from 40 meters. Brilliant work by Joe to create the space and even better finishing by Toesby who scored his 20th try of the season! A brilliant achievement. Ward converted and Eccy were 19-12 to the good!!!!

Eccy were truly in the ascendancy now and more pressure from the pack led to a pen in front of the sticks which ward stuck over for a lead of more than one score. Could it be Eccys day??? Eccy were controlling the ball and Joe was putting a serious of rapier like kicks into the corners and pegging them back and their line out was not functioning well so we were able to challenge there too. in a game of territory we were well and truly in control. Josh ‘Amish’ Shorthouse was smashing anything that moved and Wooj was making runs all over.

With barely seconds to go George ‘the butcher’ toughey ghosted through a gap and scored the game winner. With the conversion struck the ref blew up and Eccy had done it!!!

Last season one win this season 3 losses and 3 trophies!!! The sun was shining and Eccy were loving the end of what has been the most incredible season!

I think a fun fact about all the squad members is a nice way to go so get ready

  • Josh ‘punchbag’ denning – once won a singing competition in Japan and was on TV in Japan known as the singing Well. (don’t ask me why Japan has some odd naming ideas)
  • Simon ‘major’ Carr – despite his tough army exterior Simon is a huge fan of the care bears and has all of them, even a rare 80s day dream one. Check it out its rare. Simon keeps it in a safe
  • Gareth ‘Wooooooooj’ Judge – being a homeowner is not tough for Gareth who since the age of 4 has been building his own homes out of shoeboxes, his favourite was a house made from Reebok boxes he had to steal his dad box too but the logo on the roof apparently was a sight to behold!
  • Ollie ‘Dil(do)’ Phillips – despite his quiet exterior once toured the north east of the US on a debating tour, his fave subject the role of pesticides on crops and how ethical it is.
  • James ‘the dod’ Dodkins – has actually flown for easyjet a number of times and is known as the one eyed pilot. His landing at john lennon airport under severe cross winds apparently is still mentioned in the easyjet training video.
  • Josh ‘sh*thouse’ Shorthouse – has written, directed and starred in his own musical in Croxton village hall. The short running show ‘love on the rocks’ was shut down due to its sharing of a title with a neil diamond song the question often uttered by Josh is how has this happened surely there are no big neil diamond fans in Eccy????
  • Zack ‘the thadwick’ chadwick – is now a poster boy for ASOS after being in rugby world
  • Nick ‘the stick’ Hulse – actually had leg lengthening surgery when we was 12 he previously was 3 foot 6 at 12!!!
  • Bryn ‘mordor’ Judge – is a keen horticulturalist and is often entering village fetes!!!
  • Joe ‘RLRLRL’ Furlong – as a child enjoyed a collection of superhero outfits which he still has to this day. His favourite was of course superman.
  • Toby ‘vidal Sassoon’ Buckley – was conker world champion in 2012 and 2016
  • Sam ‘Papa etc’ Ward – a keen political man sam has been to every general election result night in stokes kings hall
  • James ‘MILF’ Hunter – has broken the barrier of sound on no less than 5 occasions a real favourite of his
  • Andy ‘Wheelszzzzz’ Whieldon – when leaving the midlands always takes 5 bottles of the local water he does not trust other counties
  • James ‘Excel’ Denning – seriously considering taking excel classes to enter the excel world championship
  • Alex ‘Porker’Parker – is now taking creative writing classes to be able to write something for the first time in his life
  • Will ‘the monster’ denning – has 2 feet that are completely different sizes one Is size 7 and other is size 12 and has actually becoming a leading speaker on footitis (official name) across the midlands winning an award at the national Footitis awards presented by Nick Owen.
  • Dan ‘le cuck’ Woodcuck – has made 18 sculptures from wood in the last 3 years all by using his big toe and teeth. His favourite a mushroom like stump which he has in his garden
  • Cal ‘pigdozer’ Perry – has written horoscopes for the Stafford newsletter for many a year
  • George ‘the toe’ Boughey – is currently completing to Doctorates from Oxford and Cambridge as he could not decide which would be better
  • Joe ‘bowl’ Williams – has never completed a piece of ikea flatpack without breaking into tears, his pride in completion is well known and the tears soon arrive.
  • Josh ‘new badger new danger’ Rhodes – once met and advised Richard Branson on a new type of drink called Cheese juice a mix of refreshment and cream!
  • Mikey ‘arrriba’ Wilshere – once made a sombrero out of just his own dead skin and a bird he found in a street.

And so I think this is probably the best way to end things. Eccy are champs and this season has been a blast thanks to all and everyone for it and hopefully talk soon


Quilter Kids First Champions winner – November: Hinckley RFC

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