Kirkby Lonsdale 7 – 95 Lymm

1st Team Match Report | Saturday January 28 2023

Lymm succumb to last-minute try

Lymm travelled up the M6 to the picturesque town of Kirkby Lonsdale to take on the side currently at bottom of the league. The Lymm team showed several changes from the week before with players rested and rotated for the sterner tests to come. Finn Williams and Joe Dowdswell were handed first team debuts following good showings in the second team, and James Rooney returned to the fray having suffered an ankle injury which had left him on the sidelines for almost 2 years.

Whilst the team sheet may have had an unfamiliar feel, one name which has been a fixture for over 10 years stood out – the legend Oli Higginson took up his usual spot to Captain the team in his 250th, 1stXV appearance for the club. A truly great achievement from a truly great player.

The weather was good, with no wind and just the occasional drizzle throughout the match – positively balmy weather in these parts. Kirkby Lonsdale started brightly with Sam Nicholson at scrum half prominent, but it wasn’t long until Lymm got into their stride and after 5 minutes registered the first score of the day through winger Paddy Jennings, following a good backs move. In the absence of Cormac Nolan, Tom Shard was handed the kicking duties and was unerring off the tee, slotting 9 out of 10 conversions until taking a rest just after half-time.

Jennings was at it again very soon after, this time getting on the end of a kick-thru from Callum Morris. Jennings and Morris combined well throughout the first half to torment the hosts. Next it was debutant Finn Williams’ turn to charge over, one of several impressive carries from the young back row. After 15-minute the Morris-Jennings combination was at it again, with Jennings again benefitting to register his hat-trick and Lymm’s bonus point, 28-0. Morris, who was a nuisance all day, then made the hard yards for Joe Watson to finish, 35-0.

Not to be outdone by the young pretenders, Oli Higginson reminded everyone he was still about and helped himself to two tries in quick succession, the young Kirkby team unable to lay a hand on the marauding old warhorse. This took the score to 49-0. The next score was greeted with the loudest cheer to date, as James Rooney crossed the line on his return. Team mates were on hand to congratulate him, recognizing all the hard work it has taken him to get to this stage. Well done James.

The last score of the half went to James Kimber, again benefitting from the work of Morris. Shard missed the kick and was roundly booed by the away contingent for his profligacy. This took the score to 61-0, but it wasn’t the end of the first-half action as Lymm suffered two yellow cards in quick succession in the last 5 minutes for high tackles, with Samir Taharoui and James Rooney falling foul of the referee.

Half-time: Lymm 61 – 0 Kirkby Lonsdale

Lymm changed things around at half-time with Ben Simpson moving to stand-off, Morris switching to his usual scrum-half berth and Higginson taking a rest in the centre. Despite starting the half with 13 men, and emptying the bench, the pattern remained the same throughout the second half and Lymm added a further 6 tries. Morris scored twice, his first converted by Shard before he retired to the bench, Jennings added a fourth to his personal haul and the impressive Rob Makin, who was prominent with ball in-hand all day scored an excellent second-half hat-trick. With place kicking duties handed to Morris the conversion rate dropped somewhat until Scott Redfern took over the kicking and converted the last try.

Despite the scoreline Kirkby Lonsdale had never given up and the last 5 minutes of the game saw them camped on the Lymm line. Lymm were keen to keep their try line intact and register the ton, Kirkby were equally determined to get the score their efforts had deserved. The final minutes therefore saw the most compelling action of the game, with the Kirkby Lonsdale winger Charlie Oates finally wriggling over under the sticks to great cheers from both sets of supporters to make the final score 7-95.

Full Time: Kirkby Lonsdale 7 – 95 Lymm

DoR Adam Fletcher commented. ‘Very pleasing to pick up the 5 points and to rack up a huge score.

‘It was great to hand out a couple of debuts and I really enjoyed seeing James Rooney play again. Since making his debut 4 years ago James has had multiple serious injuries, so for him to complete 80 mins was excellent.

‘At the other end of the spectrum we had Oli Higginson clicking up his 250th game. A huge achievement for a club legend.

‘We gave away too many penalties and had to play 10 mins with 13. It wasn’t punished yesterday but if we give multiple penalties away next week we will be punished.

Sandbach are next up for Lymm when they travel to Beechwood for a second versus third league clash, KO 3pm. This should be a mouth-watering local derby and hopefully we can get a good crowd to cheer the boys on as they continue the pursuit of Blackburn.

Squad: 1. Ben Thompson (5); 2. Rob Makin* (41); Samir Tahraoui (5); 4. Joe Watson (96); 5. Sam Dickenson* (10); 6. Rhys Lilly* (24); 7. Finn Williams* (1);Oli Higginson (C)* (250); 9. Ben Simpson* (11); 10. Tom Shard* (103);Paddy Jennings* (21); 12. James Rooney* (5); 13. James Kimber* (80);Callum Morris (8); 15. Scott Redfern (102); 16. Nick Ashton; (110); 18. Joe Dowdswell* (1); Ali Sutherland (75).

( ) = number of Lymm First XV League appearances

* Former Lymm Colt’s Academy/M&J player

A big thank you to our Referee, Mr Harry Bailey, North Federation Referees Group.

Match Report: Neil Allen


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