21/03/24 | Matchday Programme

Lymm RFC v Sheffield Tigers RFC – Saturday 23rd March 2024

Author: John Case


Presidents Welcome

As ever, it gives me enormous pleasure to welcome you to Beechwood for our 23rd league fixture of the season. I would also like to extend a very warm welcome to our visitors today, Sheffield Tigers RUFC.

We are now at the business end of the season, with only 4 games left to play and for Lymm and the clubs below us in the League (Billingham, Hull Ionians and Huddersfield) it’s what Sir Alex Ferguson referred to as “squeaky bum time”.  A win today would certainly ease the nerves here at Beechwood but, as we have learned during the course of this season, nothing can be taken for granted.

When we played Tigers last November, it was another one of those ‘if only’ games that we have had this season – Lymm started brightly and were leading 14-21 at half time. Both teams continued to trade points in the 2nd half and after 63 minutes, we were winning 33-35 but after that, Tigers’ experience at this level came to the fore, scoring another 2 tries to win the game 47-35.

At face value, it may seem hard to take anything positive from last week’s game against the league leaders, Leeds Tykes – we lost 78–17 – but setbacks are inevitable in rugby as they are in life. The key is to look at those setbacks as a chance to learn, rather than as a failure, and use them as an opportunity to improve going forward.

From my perspective, the positives from last Saturday’s game were that, as The Rugby Paper match report said, we showed ‘brilliant character’ in the 2nd half, only losing it 24–17. More importantly, I was really impressed with the maturity that our players showed when reflecting on that game afterwards – it was definitely a case of, in a phrase coined by Friedrich Nietzsche, “what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger

Finally, as some of you may be aware, it’s our Past Players Reunion today and, in the circumstances, I thought that it would be appropriate (albeit slightly self-indulgent) to share with you the following reminiscences taken from the late Dave Berry’s excellent book, ‘Out On A Lymm’; beginning with my favourite:

Picture the scene on a dull, grey November afternoon at Upper Wharfedale. There are ten minutes remaining as mud-covered Steve Ashall is left lying on the soggy turf after a ruck. The Yorkshire referee, who was appropriately named I. Cheetham, enquired:  “Are you alright No. 8”? Ash replied: “Well, the wife’s left me, I can’t sell my house and I’m pissed off with my job but apart from that, I’m fine

1974 was the year that Lymm won the Glengarth Plate. Appearing in the main final were the Public School Wanderers, who included among their more illustrious names, Nigel Starmer-Smith. After the presentations had been made, the four teams who contested the finals were having a bath and indulging in the usual high spirits. Suddenly, Starmer was heard to utter in his inimitable voice: “Hey chaps, come on. Who has stolen my shampoo?” No reply came from the inhabitants of the bath but there, with shiny, clean hair and grinning faces, sat Simon Leitch, Tony Wright and myself

And, for reasons obvious to those who know me and how my relationship with Lymm began:

In 1973, we played Ealing away. In the set scrum someone poked one through from the second row and both packs erupted in a free for all. Jim (Knowles) assumed his normal position on those occasions, arms clasped tightly over his head as he tried to keep out of the way whilst offering his usual advice: ”No retribution Lymm. They’ll feel the shame” On this occasion, the referee had blown his whistle and Jim began to uncurl, feeling all was safe. Their second row decided otherwise and felled Jim with a perfect right cross, leaving him with a lovely black eye

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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