06/10/23 | General
Once again, it gives me enormous pleasure to welcome you to Beechwood for our 6th league fixture of the season. I would also like to extend a very warm welcome to our visitors, Sheffield RUFC, who can trace their history to the early 1860s with four of their players representing Yorkshire in the first ever recorded county match against Lancashire in 1869. Officially, however, Sheffield RUFC was founded in 1902 and subsequently made a permanent home at Abbeydale Park, Dore in 1920. Like Lymm, Sheffield have had the foresight to develop their ground so that it is part of a greater sports complex which also includes facilities for cricket, hockey and tennis.
The last recorded fixture I can find between today’s teams was a National League Three North match in 2016 which Lymm won 28-19. Following last week’s fixtures, Sheffield lie in 8th place in the league, just one place above Lymm and both teams having an identical record of played 5, won 2 and lost 3, which suggests that today’s encounter will be a close affair.
Turning to last week’s game at Fylde, I am not sure I can do better than quote Tony Wright’s report to our past players, which began with “What a performance, what a game, what a result!! Lymm gave one of their best performances for a number of years to deliver a shock to a confident Fylde side” and, in what can only be described as a ‘Johnny Wilkinson moment’ Tom Shard, who was subsequently named National 2 North Player of the Week, slotted a drop goal in the dying seconds to win the game 14-15. Director of Rugby, Adam Fletcher, said after the game “We started well and took great confidence from this. The defensive effort was huge, led by the back row. To win the match in the manner we did was amazing. We only had 13 men on the pitch so to get ourselves into position for Shardy to execute the drop goal was immense”.
The wins in our last 2 games have given me a real sense that Lymm are growing into this League and I am reminded of Paul O’Connell’s (Ireland’s third most-capped player) comments before Ireland’s recent World Cup game against South Africa, when he said Ireland were “going to have to figure things out and it’s something I really enjoy watching them do when they have a challenge in front of them, how they manage to figure it out as a group”. On the evidence of the last 2 results, Lymm are doing starting to do just that – figuring out how to win at this level.
Today’s Rugby World Cup action features all of the Home Nations. Wales, who have booked their place in the quarter-finals after an impressive 40-6 win over Australia, start the proceedings against Georgia. England (who have also qualified for the quarter-finals) then play Samoa, who will be fighting for a chance to qualify for the Rugby World Cup 2027. Finally, this evening in Pool B, Scotland and Ireland play each other in what I’m sure will be a thrilling showdown.
It would be remiss of me not to mention the tragedy that has befallen Jersey Reds, particularly as it affects one of our former players, James Mitchell (brother of Alex). They are the 4th professional side to go bust in the past year as financial problems continue to dog the sport after the Covid-19 pandemic and it is an issue that must be addressed as a matter of urgency by those in charge of overseeing the sport that we all love. Needless to say, our thoughts are with the players, staff and supporters of Jersey Reds following this sad news.
All that leaves me to say 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