Kendal 19 – 50 Lymm
1st Team Match Report | Saturday October 22 2022
Lymm Travel Well
Lymm travelled to Kendal on Saturday for what is their longest away trip in the newly rejigged league structure. This was Lymm’s first visit to Mint Bridge since January 2019 when, in diabolical weather conditions, Kendal prevailed by a single point in 21. On Saturday though, conditions were considerably more favourable, with a firm pitch and fine weather, albeit with a brisk breeze, welcoming the visitors.
Lymm made 5 changes to their squad for the fixture with availability, squad rotation and recovery from injuries resulting in James Pitcher, Josef Murphy, Ed Morris, Matty Connolly and Alfie Simpson making way for Rob Makin, Matty Hand, Rhys Lilly, Ben Simpson and Ben Thompson – the latter making his debut at this level following a series of strong performances for the 2nd XV.
Kendal kicked off and Lymm played the first few minutes deep in their own territory, probing their opponents’ defensive line across the width of the pitch, a tactic which led to excellent line breaks by Makin, Oli Higginson and Paddy Jennings, each of which threatened to open the scoring – only to fall short in the final execution. On 8 minutes though Lymm did register a well-deserved try, albeit in stark contrast to the style of their earlier endeavours. A penalty on the Kendal 22, was despatched to touch giving Lymm an attacking 5m line-out. A catch and front peel by Higginson provided an element of surprise creating sufficient space for hooker Makin to squeeze over the line inches in from the right-hand touch. Cormac Nolan’s excellent conversion followed. 0-7
Lymm’s second try on 17 minutes also had its genesis with an attacking line out. This time from about 15m out on the left-hand flank, the ball was taken straight off the top to scrum-half Simpson. Who moved it swiftly along the back line where good hands and purposeful probing created sufficient space for Nolan to arc round the wide Kendal defence to score just in from the right-hand touchline. The conversion was missed. 0-12
From the restart it was clear that Kendal had decided to adjust their tactics and attack through narrow channels, utilising their forwards wherever possible. This led to a period of Kendal possession and attack with Lymm seldom getting their hands on the ball and being forced to defend along their own 22 for long periods of play. However, when on 25 minutes Kendal decided to move the ball wide from right to left, a forced pass ended up in Nolan’s grateful hands, the Lymm full-back having sufficient pace to outstrip the chasing defenders over 80 metres to score under the posts, before adding the conversion. This was Nolan’s 65th League try, equalling Rich McEvoy’s current record. 0-19
At this point confidence was high that another bonus point win was just around the corner. However, Kendal had different ideas and came straight back at Lymm who, failing to deal with the restart, handed the Cumbrian outfit a perfect platform on their 22. An attacking scrum and a few phases of “go-forward” from Kendal’s pack and one of their forwards was able to squeeze over the try line, just to the left of the posts. The simple conversion followed. 7-19
The remaining 10 minutes of the half was all Kendal as they retained possession well and continued to probe the Lymm defence. On the stroke of half-time after a forward drive down the right, the ball was shipped along the back line creating a defensive gap sufficient for the Kendal fly-half to run in from 20m to score under the posts. The conversion was successful. 14-19
Half Time: KENDAL 14 – 19 LYMM
The half-time chatter amongst the Lymm supporters, was that if Lymm played to their strengths, went through the phases and didn’t panic, the win would come. However, the two tries before half-time had certainly changed the dynamic of the match and Kendal would certainly have their tails up now, making a good, controlled start to the second half essential.
Lymm kicked-off and the clever kick was regathered by Ben Thompson, who had come on at half-time for the injured Lilly, immediately putting Lymm on the front foot. From the pressure that followed, Lymm were awarded a penalty 20m out in front of the posts which, recognising the match position, Nolan elected to take the easy points on offer. 14-22
The match was still in the balance until 10 minutes into the half when a Kendal line-out misfired, coughing up possession to Lymm just inside their own half. The ball was moved swiftly towards the left touch line, before being recycled into mid—field where Higginson made a trademark break through the defensive line deep into Kendal territory, before beating a couple of defenders and drawing the last man to put the supporting Simpson in under the posts for his first League, and Lymm’s bonus-point, try. Nolan added the extras. 14-29
5 minutes later and Lymm were awarded a free kick from a line-out infringement just outside their own 22. From the quick tap, the ball was moved deftly from left to right where Ste Pilkington made excellent ground, beating a defender before releasing Nathan Beesley who tip-toed down the touch line at top speed, outflanking the Kendal defence before running round under the posts to score. Nolan then added 2 points to his mounting tally for the afternoon. 14-36
Almost immediately, Nolan was yellow-carded for an adjudged high-tackle. Kendal took advantage of their numerical superiority to add their third try, with their right-wing scoring in the corner following some expansive and creative back-play. The difficult conversion was missed. 19-36
Lymm survived the remainder of Nolan’s absence without conceding and when returned to a full complement scored 2 further tries before the final whistle. The first was a fine solo-effort by Jennings who, picking up a loose pass, showed pace and strength in equal measure to carve open the Kendal defence and score under the posts. The second came after a quick Kendal 22 drop out landed in Beesley’s hands 40m out. The Lymm skipper needed no second invitation to cut back inside from the right wing to wrong-foot the Kendal defence and race in under the posts. Nolan converted both to bring his points tally for the day to 25. 19-50
Full Time: KENDAL 19 – 50 LYMM
After the match Director of Rugby, Adam Fletcher, commented:
“I’m really pleased to come away from Cumbria with the 5 points. I thought we were a little inaccurate and, at times, too adventurous in the first half. We had a chat about this at half-time and cutting out the 50:50 pass. In the second half we controlled the ball and territory a lot better.”
Next week Lymm are at home to Kirkby Lonsdale KO 3pm. The visitors are having a tough season, losing every match so far.
Squad: Gav Woods (92); Rob Makin* (34); Kieran O’Callaghan* (16); Joe Watson (89); Sam Dickenson* (2); Rhys Lilly* (17); Ali Sutherland (68); Oli Higginson* (246); Ben Simpson* (6); Tom Shard* (94); Paddy Jennings* (12); Scott Redfern (93); Ste Pilkington* (38); Nathan Beesley (C) (37); Cormac Nolan* (196); Bench – Matty Hand* (72); Ben Thompson (1); James Kimber* (73).
*Product of Lymm M&Js/Colts Academy
Referee: Mr James Coubrough – RFU North Group
Match Report: Andy Leach