11/04/24 | Matchday Programme

Lymm RFC v Billingham RFC – Saturday 13th April 2024

Author: John Case


Presidents Welcome

In the blink of an eye, the end of the season is almost upon us and, as usual, it gives me enormous pleasure to welcome you to Beechwood for our 25th (and penultimate) league fixture of the season I would also like to extend a very warm welcome to our visitors (and old friends) today, Billingham RUFC. Given the long-standing relationship between the two Clubs, I will dispense with my usual “guide to the opposition” paragraph and reflect, instead, on previous encounters.

League meetings between Lymm and Billingham over the years have been close affairs (prior to this season, we had played each other 19 times with 9 wins each and 1 game drawn) and that history was reflected in the result when we travelled to Greenwood Road in early December, which ended 25-25. After that result, Lymm moved up to the heady (and not to be repeated!) heights of 8th in the league.

Last week, we travelled to Preston Grasshoppers and witnessed a hugely enjoyable (but in some ways disappointing) game. The enjoyment came from not only watching what The Rugby Paper in their match report called “a thrilling display of running rugby” with 13 tries being scored but also from Lymm collecting the 2 league points required to guarantee the retention of our National League status for another season. The disappointment came from this being another game where we were leading (27- 46 with 16 minutes left to play) but still lost (46-42, conceding 19 unanswered points before the final whistle).

I think our Director of Rugby, Adam Fletcher, hit the nail on the head when he said after the match: “At 42-27 we should not be losing a game … It’s bittersweet as we got the 2 league points we needed to be mathematically safe but I feel that a huge opportunity was missed to get our first double of the season”

As to today’s game, given the history of previous fixtures between Lymm and Billingham, there is every chance that this will be another close encounter (average points per game over the last 20 matches is 24-25) but it would be great if our last home league fixture this season could end on a high – we can but hope for the best.

Finally, we are saying goodbye to 2 great servants of the Club today –

“Having announced his intention to hang up his boots at the end of the current season, Saturday’s home match against Billingham will be veteran front-row forward Gav Woods’ swansong at Crouchley Lane.

Gav joined Lymm at the start of the 2017/18 season since when he has taken the field on 130 occasions (Saturday being number 131) out of a possible 146 League matches.  In season 21/22 Gav stood up as captain when Tom Bray was forced to retire early due to injury.

Gav is a true legend of Northwest rugby having played over 500 League and representative matches in a career that, in addition to his time at Lymm, has included spells with club sides Chester, Caldy, Macclesfield, Stockport and Burnage, plus representative teams Cheshire and England Counties.

Please be sure to give Gav a tremendous send-off on Saturday to show the club’s appreciation for his commitment and service over these past 7 seasons.

More breaking news is that long-serving Lymm prop, Jordan Widdrington, although not retiring, is moving with work to Saudi Arabia in the summer on a 4-year contract.

Jordan is a true Lymm clubman who, since his debut as an 18-year old in 2009, has made 241 appearances for the Lymm First XV plus over 50 for the Second XV.  Jordan has played at Lymm since the U5s and was part of the U17 team that won the National Cup in 2009 and the Lymm High School team that won the Daily Mail Cup in 2007, scoring the winning try under the posts at Twickenham.

The whole club wishes Jordan and his family well on their exciting adventure, but we are fully expecting to see them back in the Northwest in 2028.”

All that leaves me to say, as usual, is that I wish both teams today the best of luck and look
forward to meeting you pitch-side and afterwards in the bar for some warm Lymm hospitality.

Varun Maharaj, President


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