Altrincham Kersal 2nds 0 – 76 Lymm Eagles

Eagles Team Match Report | Saturday March 23 2024

Eagles Get Revenge Against Understrength Kersal

*Please note that sections of this report have been written by the part time Altrincham Kersal Full Back and therefore may contain many comments and opinions which cannot be accurately verified. You may need to apply your judgement to separate fact from delusion. You have been warned!

On a surprisingly chilly and overcast Saturday, Lymm Eagles produced a powerful performance to overcome a depleted Altrincham Kersal 2 nd team. This was an odd game from start to finish, with the Eagles showing the best and worst of their skill set, but also demonstrating the best parts of lower
level rugby with several Lymm players donning the red and black of Kersal to help the understrength opposition.

Fresh from a morale boosting victory against Liverpool Vets followed by a week’s break to rest their weary bodies, the Eagles arrived at Stelfox Avenue, home of Alty Kersal, in a confident mood. This should have been a home fixture for the Eagles, but the first fixture back in January was played at Lymm due to a waterlogged pitch at Kersal. In that game Altrincham had come away with only their third victory of the season with a performance which stunned the Eagles.

Although Kersal were congratulated on the win, the fact that the Kersal 1XV did not have a fixture that weekend may have influenced the outcome. This dreadfully cynical view (not us guvnor, honest!) was rejected at the time by the Kersal 1 st team coach and former Eagles player Andy Roberts, who maintained that the team was “100% a 2 nd team squad and wasn’t loaded at all”.

Therefore, it did raise a few smiles in the Eagles, to see several of the players from the January fixture warming up on the 1st team pitch and preparing to play Whitchurch. We still love you Andy Roberts and you are welcome back anytime!! Thanks once again to the hard work of Captain Olly Brown, The Eagles had good numbers available to them and arrived with a squad of 20 players.

Returning to the team this week were Craig “Viking” Capewell to add power to the front row and Ben Stroud in the second row. Jack Harper and Ste Williams added some bite and running into the back row and Chris Kinsey returned to the side in his familiar role of “crafty and highly annoying” scrum half. Josh McKean and a late cry on in Tom Baker,  joined Sully to form a potent and speedy back three. Maverick back Rick McEvoy continued to be absent without leave.

With only 10 minutes before kick-off, the Kersal captain informed Olly that they could only field a team of 12, though they did have a full front row and replacements. The Referee confirmed that at this point were that Lymm could play with one extra player, but in the true spirit of rugby, Olly offered to lend Kersal some players to level up the numbers. It’s not always easy to find volunteers for opposition duties, especially when you know you will have Kieran, Max and Ben Lloyd running at you, but Lymm found three victims in back, Ash Caffrey, 2 nd Row, Ben Stroud and stalwart prop, Dave Coon.

Ash, playing in only his second ever game, found employment on the wing, Ben was asked to fill in at outside centre and Dave was given his more natural position of…FULL BACK!! With a look of those facing the gallows, the Lymm men took their places in the Kersal backline, and the game kicked off.

Whether it was the shock of seeing Dave at full back, or perhaps that they hadn’t warmed up properly, but the Eagles started slowly, being penalised several times for hands in the ruck. The Kersal forwards on the other hand, were showing good control and making good yards. One of Lymm’s long range, defensive clearance kicks was very well fielded by Full Back Dave, who then showed great composure to produce a wonderfully majestic spiralling kick that took play back up to the Lymm 22 for a lineout.

This was probably the best clearing kick this scribe has ever seen (two guesses as to which of us wrote this sentence). Lymm however came to their senses and realised that there was more reward in attacking out wide than getting into an arm wrestle. On 6 mins, fly half Alan Reddecliff foundspeedster Liam “Sully” Sullivan on the wing. Sully found just enough gas to narrowly avoid full back Dave’s diving tackle by a mere 5 metres and nipped round for the opening try, well converted by Tom Baker (0-7).

Just 5 minutes later, good work in the middle of the pitch by Olly Brown and Jez Ure released the ball wide again to Sully, who dived in corner for another well taken self-converted try (14-0). This was clearly disputed by the disgruntled Kersal full back who was screaming that Sully was at least 2 metres in touch. This was difficult to verify as Kersal had not been able to provide a line judge on that side and the full back was on the other side of the pitch (14-0). Lymm were really starting to go through the gears and tries started to come at regular intervals.

These all seemed to be carbon copies of each other with the forwards laying a platform for Kinsey and Reddecliff to work their magic and put the strong running backs through the gaping holes, leaving full back Dave chasing and tackling shadows.

Tries on 14 minutes for Reece Forrest, 16 minutes for Simon Beards (his first of the season) and 30 minutes for Chris Kinsey, with Beards converting 2 of these, made it 33-0 after half an hour’s play.

Kersal also lost their fly half to injury, which left Ben Stroud even more incredulous when he was asked to now take over the role. Lymm weren’t having it all their way and Kersal were doing their best to make a game of it. However, they were struggling to keep hold of the ball and three converted tries in the last 5 minutes in the half from flanker Kieran Williams and a further two tries from Reece to bring up his hat trick brought the half to a close.

Half Time: Altrincham Kersal 2nds 0 – 52 Lymm Eagles

David has passed me some of his recollections of the first half. “It was kind of Jack Harper to apologise to me before he no-armed shotted me”. “Olly Brown was lucky to avoid a red card for a dangerous high tackle on me, probably out of jealously”. “I reckon I can now claim I’m faster than Sully after I beat him to a cross-field kick”. “He needed his mate Max to come and help tackle me and I definitel saw Max leading with the elbow before it all went dark”.

“They obviously knew who the danger man was!” “All I know is that Lymm were only in front because of underhand tactics and not my performance at full back”.

Whether it was to remove the “danger man” (sic) or whether it was more out of pity, but for the second half, Lymm adjusted the players on loan, with Reece, Jim France and Josh McKean kindly volunteering to swap with Dave, Ben and Ash. Realising that Kersal were still on 14 due to injury, Mike Clarke also slipped on a Kersal shirt.The main aim of the half was to keep Kersal scoreless. The 2 nd half kicked off and the first few minutes were a much more even affair. Lymm were often too guilty of overplaying when simplicity would have sufficed. With Dave now back in the scrum, the set piece became a lot more stable. It was on 44 minutes that Dave showed Lymm what they had been missing, when he managed to snaffle a ball in a tackle and broke into the Kersal 22. His selfless, beautifully weighted, inside pass only a few metres from the line, was knocked on by the onrushing Ben Stroud with the line at his mercy. DONKEY!!

However just a few minutes later, good turnover work by Ste Williams released Alan Reddecliff to glide over for a lovely try, with the conversion narrowly missed (0-57). The next 15 minutes were very even, with Kersal breaking through on several occasions and only last ditch defence keeping out Josh from going the length of the field.

Play also had to be stopped for a few minutes after captain Olly Brown “accidentally” collided with the female referee. We do believe it was a genuine accident, but there were unsubstantiated reports from some players (mainly those Lymm lads who were playing for Kersal) who definitely thought they might have seen Olly change his running line, whispering about his annoyance with the Ref penalising him several times at the scrum.Fortunately, the Ref, who was giving a first rate performance in the game, regathered her breath and was okay to continue. Lymm continued to make life hard for themselves and Kersal grew in confidence. Beardo kindly swapped places with Reece to give the Kersal players a break from the incessant whining noise.

However, on 67 minutes, good work from Ben Lloyd and Jez Ure got Lymm back on the front foot. The ball made it into the hands of full back Tom Baker, who scooted over for a try, who also expertly drop goaled the conversion. The Kersal players were getting frustrated with several calls not going their way and their strong number 8 was yellow carded for back chat. Using the advantage, Lymm ran in two quick tries, firstly through scrum half Chris Kinsey, who selfishly ignored the supporting Dave Coon to score out wide.

Fortunately Dave is not bitter and is very happy that an old fart like Kinna got to score again. The next try came off the back of a great run from winger Ash Caffrey, who made a good 40 metres before offloading to the supporting Reece Forrest who went in for his 4 th try of the day, converted by Sully. The last 5 minutes were all Kersal, who were determined to get something on the scoreboard for their efforts.

However Lymm showed great efforts in defence to keep the attack at bay, although the game could have ended sooner if Bakes had simply kicked the ball out of play, rather than attacking from his own 5 metre line.  Fortunately, the referee brought the game to a close moments later.

Full Time: Altrincham Kersal 0 – 76 Lymm Eagles

Whilst the result was flattering and the game played in good spirit, the Eagles performance could have been better. A few of the lads were probably guilty of not taking the game seriously and focussing for the full 80 minutes. However, there was plenty of skill on show and the defence at the end was fantastic. This is the third game in a row that Lymm has kept a team scoreless with over 4 hours of playing time since conceding a try which must be applauded. A massive thanks to Kersal for the game.

It would have been easy for them to call off this game, but playing it meant that 32 lads got to enjoy a good afternoon of rugby. We wish you luck for the remainder of the season.

The usual debate ensued for Man of the Match. Special mentions this week go to Simon Beards, whose distribution and running game were fantastic. Jack Harper led from the front in attack and defence, and I now know how it feels to be hit by one of his tackles and do not want to repeat it. Chris Kinsey gave a great performance (his words!) with excellent distribution to keep the tempo of the game high all day. Just missing out on man of the match was Reece Forrest, whose 4 tries and strong running were a joy to watch.

However, it was decided to award the man of the match jointly to all the lads that had played for Kersal, helping when required in the true ethos of Rugby. Well done all. Obviously, man of the match would have gone to Olly Brown if he had not maliciously attacked the referee, better luck next time Olly (tongue firmly in cheek before this gets reported to the RFU).

The Eagles have yet another break and are now not back in action until the 13 th of April when we begin our season run in at home to Wilmslow 2 nd team, as we once again seek revenge for our defeat to them a few weeks ago, kick off 15:00 and as always, everyone most welcome to attend. Easter weekend for all next week so please have a happy Easter and try not to eat too much chocolate.

Team: 1) Craig Capewell 2) Jim France 3) Olly Brown (C) 4) Ben Lloyd 5) Jez Ure 6) Kieran Williams 7) Jack Harper 8) Max Ure 9) Chris Kinsey 10) Alan Reddecliff 11) Josh McKean 12) Simon Beards 13) Reece Forrest 14) Liam Sullivan 15) Tom Baker REP 16) Ste Williams 17) Ben Stroud 18) Ash Caffrey 19) Mike Clarke 20) David Coon

Match Report: Pete & David Coon


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