01/09/23 | General
It gives me enormous pleasure to welcome you to Beechwood on Saturday for the first game in what will be, in equal measure, a challenging but exciting season. In particular, I would like to extend a very warm welcome to our visitors, Wharfedale RUFC. However, before looking forward to what is to come, I want to express my thanks to all those members and volunteers who worked tirelessly over the Summer preparing for the forthcoming season and the next stage of the Club’s development.
As many of you will probably be aware, over the summer the Club achieved a significant milestone in its development plans when Manor Road Tennis Club completed its move to a new home in the Walled Garden, where there are now four new, all-weather, floodlit courts. As part of the Club’s ongoing development plans, the old site in Manor Road now has planning permission for the development of four semi-detached properties, the sale of which will help fund the building of our new clubhouse.
Turning to last season, although much has been said about the success of the 1st XV, it is worth mentioning it again here – in brief, the consensus of those who watched the games last season was that it was the best rugby played by a Lymm team for many years. That is borne out in the statistics – in their 22 league games, the 1st team scored 160 tries and amassed 1089 points, conceding only 373 points. It is also significant in the context of our being a truly amateur Club that 70% of last season’s squad graduated through Lymm’s M&Js and Colts Academy.
And speaking of the M&Js sections, the future looks bright for the Club with the U16s and U15s both winning silverware in the Cheshire Cup finals for their respective age groups last season. Well done to all of the players, coaches (and parents!) involved in those age groups.
Moving onto this season, the 1st team have played warm-up games against Chester and Newport (Salop), both of which provided a good yardstick for what is to come and also allowed the coaching team to trial of a number of positional combinations and ‘blood’ some new recruits. Our Director of Rugby, Adam Fletcher, said that the games were “a good run-out for the lads and it gave us lots of food for thought”.
Our visitors, have played 3 warm-up games, against Billingham, Chester and Blackburn so it goes without saying that they will be well prepared for today’s encounter. Wharfedale is a Club steeped in tradition and, like Lymm, has achieved remarkable things for a club based in a small village. Of their ground, John Inverdale from the Daily Telegraph wrote – “To be among a large crowd at a National League match at Wharfedale Rugby Club . . . . was to have found sporting nirvana. If there’s a more wonderful sporting venue in the country for serious competitive sport, I’ve yet to visit it”. If that doesn’t whet the appetite of the travelling support from Lymm for the return fixture, I’m not sure what will!
On a more sombre note it is with great sadness that over the closed season we have seen the passing of a number of Club members including Paul ‘PAJ’ Johnston – a true club stalwart who held the posts of President and Chairman – and past 1st team players Allan Jones, who played in the early ‘60s when the Club was formed and Rob Wood, who played after leaving Lymm Grammar School in the early ‘70s before emigrating to New Zealand. They will be fondly remembered and our thoughts are with family and friends.
All that leaves me to say is that I wish both of the teams the best of luck for this fixture and for the remainder of the season. Indeed, those good wishes extend to all the teams, their coaches and support staff, who represent Lymm from Minis & Juniors up to Senior level.
I look forward to meeting you all pitch-side (I’m easy to spot!) and afterwards in the bar for some warm Lymm hospitality.
Varun Maharaj, President
Team to Play Wharfdale:
1. Gav Woods (Prop), 2. James Pitcher (Hooker), 3. Ben Thomson (Prop), 4. James Yates (2nd Row) – Captain, 5. Ali Sutherland (2nd Row), 6. Sean Callender (Flanker), 7. Harry Martin (Flanker), 8. Rhys Lilly (No.8), 9. Cal Morris (Scrum Half), 10. Jack Reynolds (Fly Half), 11. Paddy Jennings (Winger), 12. James Kimber (Centre), 13. Ste Pilkington (Centre), 14. Joe Senior (Winger), 15. Cormac Nolan (Full Back)
16. Nick Ashton, 17. Joe Higgins, 18. Alex Stewart, 19. Andy Williams, 20. Tom Shard