Lymm 24 – 13 Macclesfield
1st Team Match Report | Saturday November 13 2021
Lymm dig deep to triumph against the odds in local derby
A cool breeze and Autumnal conditions greeted both sets of players and supporters in this local derby. With both teams having similar playing records to date this season, it promised to be a close encounter.
After a week’s break Lymm were boosted with the return of the Bray brothers to the ranks. Steve Pilkington was fit again to return in the Centre and winger Sam Wadsworth returned from university to further bolster the back-line. On the bench Cormac Nolan and Jordan Widdrington added their experience, together with Harry Martin.
The game got underway with a kick deep into Lymm’s half, the first play saw a routine exit and box kick fail to be gathered by Macclesfield. Suddenly Tom Bray found himself in space, snapped up the loose ball and immediately released Sam Wadsworth to outstrip his opposite wing and touch down in the corner. 5-0 to Lymm before the spectators had barely left the bar.
Lymm continued brightly and Macclesfield were further shaken on 15-minutes when a wonderfully worked line-out routine saw the two Lymm stalwarts Oli Higginson and Adam Bray combine at the front to put Bray over in the corner. Scott Redfern slotted an excellent conversion from out wide, 12-0 to Lymm and Macclesfield were still to come to the party.
This was soon to change and Macclesfield began to put some phases together. Lymm defence was excellent and Gregor Watson at scrum-half was giving a box-kicking masterclass to constantly clear the lines. The Macclesfield scrum was now beginning to dominate and Lymm fell foul of their first yellow card of the day with James Sherlock sent for a breather for a scrum offence.
The remainder of the first half felt like Groundhog Day, as Macclesfield continued to claim a string of scrum penalties, which they kicked to touch only for Lymm to steal the subsequent line-out and clear. In the midst of this inertia Lymm fell foul to another yellow card this time to Ed Morris.
With 13 men on the pitch Lymm were up against it but the defence stood firm and the malfunctioning Macclesfield line-out, alongside some excellent Lymm drills, helped the home side to keep their line intact. Finally on the stroke of half-time Macclesfield opted for a different tactic and finally took the 3 points on offer, to end the half 12-3 to Lymm. The cheers from the Lymm players was a sign of their herculean efforts to restrict Macclesfield to a single penalty. Lymm’s line-out and Watson’s kicking had been excellent.
Half-time 12-3 to Lymm
The second half started as a mirror of the first, barely had the spectators returned to their seats when Lymm were on the attack, excellent interplay and a series of off-loads, with Centre Liam Connolly prominent saw Steve Pilkington released unopposed to the line, after some momentary juggling Pilkington managed to hold on to touch down. 17-3 to Lymm.
Macclesfield came back again and further pressure on the Lymm line reduced the Beechwood men to 14 again. This time with reduced numbers Lymm were unable to hold out and Macclesfield went over in the corner, following an excellent cross kick. 17-8 and Macclesfield’s tails were up.
Lymm were now firmly on the wrong end of the Referee’s whistle. With the penalty count racking up, whatever picture Lymm were painting to the referee there was clearly a need to go back to the drawing board.
With 20 minutes of the second half gone and slightly against the run of play Lymm found some relief. An interception on half-way by Aaron Rasheed was quickly transferred to the speedy Wadsworth, who broke free and went under the post unopposed with the extras added by Redfern, to take Lymm to 24-8 and a bonus point secured into the bargain.
Macclesfield came back and Lymm fell foul of the referee once more. James Sherlock received a rather harsh second yellow card at the scrum, which meant a red and Lymm were permanently reduced to 14 men for the remainder of the game. Macclesfield then went over in the corner to make it 24-13. With Jordan Widdrington succumbing to a head wound, requiring 7 stitches, the rest of the game was played with uncontested scrums.
Lymm’s plan was clear to see the game out, helped by the constant blast of the referee’s whistle which was now killing the game for both teams. The lack of momentum from the referee’s increasingly unclear interventions suited Lymm and, led by the experienced Bray and Higginson, Lymm were able to keep it tight and run the clock down to record a hard-fought victory. The game ended rather fittingly with ironic cheers ringing out around Beechwood for the rare award of a Lymm penalty.
This was a resilient performance from Lymm with no little skill. All 18 players tackled and ran hard for a well-deserved victory, which got Lymm back to winning ways.
Adam Fletcher commented ‘I am super proud of the boys. Our attitude was superb and there was so much passion on show. Andy Davies and I were so happy with the areas we played in. Gregor and Scotty put us in some great positions and the chasers did the kicks justice.
‘We had little ball but when we did I thought we were clinical. We used the short side well throughout the game, it was an area we had really worked on this week.
‘Moving forward we can’t afford to give so many pens away and play with men down. We need to clear up the breakdown, work hard to stay on our feet and enter from behind the rear foot. Great support, much appreciated as always,’ concluded Adam.
Next Saturday, Lymm will take two teams to Sandal. The 1st team for their league match and with no 2nd team league game, have arranged to play Sandal 2’s.
Kurt Riley, Adam Bray, James Sherlock, Aaron Rashid, James Yates, Joe Watson, Ed Morris, Oli Higginson, Gregor Watson, Tom Bray (C), Ben Stansfield, Liam Connolly, Steve Pilkington, Sam Wadsworth, Scott Redfern, Jordan Widdrington, Harry Martin, Cormac Nolan
Referee: Ben Moore – Liverpool Society and RFU North Panel
Match Report: Neil Allen
Photographs: Stuart Watson