Lymm 19 – 24 Preston Grasshoppers
1st Team Match Report | Saturday August 20 2022
Lymm welcomed Hoppers on Saturday for a pre-season friendly played in 4 quarters, allowing for squad rotation. Lymm fielded a squad of 28, whilst 24 had travelled down the M6 from Preston. Conditions were good – at least 15 degrees cooler than for the previous week’s match at Glossop – albeit was likely that the strong, gusty wind would, no doubt, create some challenges.
Both teams endeavoured to play expansive rugby, to the appreciation of an excellent crowd, albeit as is inevitable in pre-season fixtures, the sort of clinical execution that both teams will aspire to in the upcoming league season was, at times, lacking.
After playing some enterprising, attacking rugby – with runs by 18-year old debutant Rorio Zheng and Toby Phillips especially catching the eye – Lymm scored first through 21-year old second row Sam Dickenson, following an incisive break by Nathan Beasley, Tom Shard adding the difficult conversion. 7-0
As the second quarter was nearing its end, Hoppers gained parity when following a period of sustained pressure, their centre crashed over under the posts. 7-7. However, there was still time left in the half for Lymm to put their noses back in front when skipper and second row, James Yates ran an excellent line to score in the corner – Shard again converting. 14-7
HALF TIME: LYMM 14 PRESTON GRASSHOPPERS 7
In the second half, first Lymm’s defence weathered the expected post-half time team talk resurgence of PGH, then they began to exploit some weakness in the Hoppers defence – most notably with a barn storming run from No. 8 Joe Murphy. It was not until the end of the third quarter that PGH were back level, a forward forcing his way over under the posts. 14-14
The restart by Lymm was just too deep allowing the Hopper fly-half to collect the ball under no pressure and make an enormous 50/22, putting Lymm immediately defending back in their own red zone. A few phases later and a PGH forward scored – this time the conversion was missed. 14-19. With 10 minutes of the match left, and Lymm down to 14 men after George Anderson took a team yellow, Hoppers then put clear water between the two sides scoring wide out for an unconverted try. 14-24
In the last 5 minutes, Lymm scored the best try of the match when 20-year old debutant second row, Nonso Agina, showed his pace and strength to outflank the Hoppers defence from 40 metres. The conversion was missed. 19-24
The match ended with Lymm camped on the Hoppers’ line, but poor execution allowed PGH to turn over the ball ending the match. Certainly, an entertaining match which must have been a first for Lymm – with all 3 tries being scored by second row players!
On Friday, 26th August, Lymm travel to play Stockport in the 1st Round of the Cheshire Cup, KO 7.30pm. Then on Saturday 3rd September they travel to play neighbours Northwich in the reorganised RFU Level 5 Regional 1 North West League KO 3pm.
Lymm squad: Kieron O’Callaghan; Matty Connelly; Matty Hand; Rob Makin; James Pitcher; Matt Grellier; James Yates (c); Sam Dickenson; Henry Baldwin; Ben Polec; Nonso Agina; Joe Murphy; Ed Morris; Ali Sutherland; Joe Dowdeswell; Toby Phillips; George Anderson; Tom Shard; Josh Bate; Scott Redfern; Nathan Beesley (vc); Rorio Zheng; Alfie Simpson; Jorge Reynolds; Ed Dobbs; Mike Ince; Ryan Brown.
Match Report: Andy Leach