Lymm 13 – 3 Rossendale

Match Report | Saturday February 5 2022


Lymm singing in the rain

Atrocious conditions greeted both sets of players and those supporters brave or foolhardy enough to suffer the wind and rain, which did not relent all day at Beechwood.  Over the years this fixture is the most played in the northern premier, with spoils more often than not evenly shared. With Rossendale having won the corresponding fixture earlier in the season, this was hopefully Lymm’s turn to chalk up a victory.

Lymm again had to shuffle the pack with Olli Higginson and Nick Ashton dropping out of the named matchday squad, Ali Sutherland and Matty Hand stepping up at the last minute. In the backs Nathan Beesley, Ben Stansfield and Cormac Nolan all made welcome returns. In addition, congratulations are given to 2nd Row Aaron Rasheed, who was stepping out for his 100th 1stXV appearance. Aaron is a product of the clubs successful M&J’s and Colts section.

2nd Row Aaron Rasheed’s 100th 1stXV game

Lymm started the first half with the wind advantage. The early exchanges were nip and tuck, with Lymm using the wind to gain territory and ensure the game was played in the Rossendale half. Play was however inevitably scrappy with lineouts proving particularly difficult for both teams in the windy conditions. Rossendale began to get some momentum, their Centre particularly being prominent, with Lymm infringing the visitors made it to the Lymm 22 and looked certain to score but for a last gasp tackle by Matty Hand, which dislodged the ball enabling Lymm to clear their lines.

Lymm continued to kick the ball forcing Rossendale back but were unable to get any real continuity in their play in the wind, rain and cold. On 30 minutes Lymm were awarded a penalty which Cormac Nolan slotted to make the score 3-0.

On the re-start the Rossendale number 8, who had also featured strongly, received a yellow card for playing the scrum-half without the ball. This spurred Lymm into life and for the last 10-minutes of the half, they were camped in the Rossendale 22, pressing for a score. Nathan Beasley nearly made it over but stepped left into traffic, when a right turn would have taken him over the line. Lymm kept coming and with the final play of the half Matty Hand forced his way over under the posts, Nolan added the conversion making it 10-0 at the break.

Matty Hand scores Lymm try with Harry Martin in support

Would a 10-0 lead be enough against a strong wind? Lymm started the second half well with ball in hand with Skipper, Gavin Woods trucking it up like a raging bull. This set the tone for the half with Lymm showing great game management keeping it tight through driving runs from James Yates, Ali Sutherland and Liam Connelly in the Centre. This combined with the solid defence of flankers Harry Martin and Ed Morris, plus astute kicking for territory from the backs when required.

Most of the game was now being played in the Rossendale half, even a yellow card to Ed Morris for a high tackle failed to knock Lymm out of their stride. Showing great control and resilience Lymm were now pressing for a further score, half chances came and went as the conditions closed in and it became more a case of holding on rather than extending the lead. With 5 minutes to go however Rossendale were awarded a penalty which they kicked to make it 10-3. Suddenly it was now anybody’s game, Rossendale pressed hard using the wind to drive Lymm back but Lymm stood firm bringing the ball out with a combination of driving play and precise kicking.

With 5 minutes remaining, Rossendale were awarded another wind assisted, kickable penalty but it went wide. Then with the final play of the game Lymm were awarded a penalty under the posts, which Cormac Nolan converted to make the Full=Time score 13-3. Whilst cruel on Rossendale to come away with no points, this was a well-deserved victory for Lymm who showed great resolve and control, particularly in the second-half playing into the teeth of the wind and stopping Rossendale from getting any real foothold in the game. Given the conditions both sides and the referee deserve enormous credit for putting on an absorbing open game played in great spirit.

With the coaching team of Adam Fletcher and Andy Davies absent, it was perhaps fitting that Tom Bray, in the week he announced his playing retirement, led the team off the field from the dugout. I am sure there will be many well-deserved tributes to Tom over the coming weeks for his contribution to the club over nearly 20-years, maybe his first coaching success is a sign of things to come for the next twenty?

This is now 6 wins on the bounce for Lymm, with no tries conceded in the last 3 games, cementing fifth spot in the league, for now…………., a much sterner test however awaits next week, when they travel to top of the table Otley.

Team: 1) Gavin Woods (C), 2) Adam Bray, 3) Matty Hand, 4) Aaron Rasheed, 5) James Yates, 6) Ed Morris, 7) Harry Martin, 8) Ali Sutherland, 9) Gregor Watson, 10) Scott Redfern, 11) Nathan Beasley, 12) Liam Connelly, 13) Ben Stansfield, 14) Mick Stafford, 15) Cormac Nolan, 16) Dan Horton, 17) Alex Stewart, 18) Paddy Jennings

Referee: Mr George Ounsley – Yorkshire & RFU North Panel

Match Report: Neil Allen

Other Games:

Lymm 2s lost 7 – 31 at home to Blackburn 2s in the NWIRUL Cup 1/4 final.

Lymm Eagles had no game.


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