Lymm 26 – 41 Sheffield

1st Team Match Report | Saturday October 7 2023

Sheffield close the door on Lymm in the second half

Lymm entertained Sheffield at Beechwood where conditions were summer like as the large crowd applied suntan lotion to protect themselves from the sun. The last time Sheffield visited was 2016 in a League game which Lymm won 28-19 and a competitive game was envisaged after Lymm’s win at Fylde and Sheffield running Wharfedale all the way last week.

Lymm had one change to the starting line up with Jack Stride, making his first start, replacing the unavailable Steve Pilkington in the centre. On the bench Max Caldwell was making his debut and Joe Johnson was returning after a long layoff due to injury.

Sheffield kicked off towards the Dam end and within the first minute were 7 points up, as they retrieved the initial clearance kick and broke down the blindside 40 metres out with winger Christian Hooper finishing well for a converted try. Sheffield then proceeded to dominate possession and territory stretching Lymm in defence, looking like scoring every time they had the ball. Lymm hung on as Sheffield had a try disallowed for a forward pass and butchered two driving line out opportunities with poor throws. However, the pressure told and from an inside pace in the centre, winger Christian Hooper crossed for his second try which was unconverted.

Things were looking ominous at this stage as Lymm couldn’t get their hands on the ball and Sheffield were looking very dangerous. Gradually Lymm started to find some momentum and after a period of pressure which saw them enter the Sheffield half for the first time, on 20 minutes they were awarded a penalty which Tom Shard converted to open Lymm’s account. Lymm’s defence which had initially looked shaky started to function, especially the back row, and put Sheffield under pressure. It was good defence after a kick chase that resulted in another penalty by Tom Shard. The momentum of the game was changing as Lymm started to make inroads into the Sheffield 22 and, after a Harry Martin break nearly resulted in a try, Tom Shard converted another penalty opportunity.  Almost immediately Lymm went back on the attack and as half-time approached, Tom Shard converted another penalty for the last pay of the half.

Half Time:  LYMM 12 – 12 SHEFFIELD

The 12-12 half time score represented a good outcome for Lymm who, after a slow start, showed character to get back into the game, building the momentum going into the second half.

Lymm kicked off and were immediately on the attack and after two minutes Paddy Jennings made a powerful break down the left wing, dragging in defenders, then ball was moved right and an excellent tip pass from Matty Hand released Rhys Lilly 15 metres out who rounded the full back to score, giving Tom Shard a simple conversion.

Lymm supporters were delighted and hope now that the Lymm’s side fitness and pace would take its toll on the bigger Sheffield forwards. However, Sheffield had other ideas, changing their flyhalf and game plan. They started playing through the forwards and Lymm’s indiscipline led to numerous penalties being conceded.  Unlike the first half, Sheffield executed the catch and drive to perfection scoring 4 tries, two of which were converted with hooker Rhodri Campbell completing a hat trick in the process – the second visiting hooker to get a hat trick in the last two home games! Lymm didn’t touch the ball for 30 minutes as Sheffield monopolised possession and territory through controlled play and kicking. Sheffield scored again with five minutes to go through a try in the corner created by a driving maul, presenting Christian Hooper with his hat trick.

In the last five minutes Lymm did get some possession and were able to show what they could do, first coming close with slick back play before scoring an excellent try in the corner through Max Caldwell which Tom Shard expertly converted – but it was too little too late.

Full Time:  LYMM 26 – 41 SHEFFIELD

This was a game that in the first half swung both ways and the second half started with Lymm on top. Lymm’s defence in open play was excellent with the players commitment unquestionable. However, the indiscipline cost Lymm the game as it allowed the Sheffield side to kick to the corner and unleash their well drilled rolling maul from their dominant line out. Lymm should trust their defence in open play as line out drives are difficult to stop when executed correctly.

Director of Rugby, Adam Fletcher, commented:

“We need to improve our discipline. I mentioned after the Fylde game how our poor discipline nearly cost us the game. This week it did cost us the game.

At 19-12 up we needed to show maturity and really back our processes. Unfortunately, we gave away so many pens and Sheffield took advantage of this.

We need to learn quickly how to manage a 3-man officials’ team if we are going to climb up the table.”

Squad: Gav Woods (113); James Pitcher* (48); Matty Hand* (87); James Yates* (c) (105); Rhys Lilly* (37); Sean Callender (6); Harry Martin (36); Josh Hadland* (26); Callum Morris (19); Tom Shard* (116); Paddy Jennings* (32); Jack Stride (3); James Kimber* (91); Andy Williams* (5); Jack Reynolds (6). Bench – Joe Higgins (9); James Sherlock* (13); Alex Stewart* (7); Joe Johnson* (5); Max Caldwell (1).

( ) = number of Lymm First XV League appearances

* Former Lymm Academy/M&J player

Referee: Peter Connor

Match Report: Mal Pritchard

Lymm’s next fixture is on Saturday 14th October at Otley.

Lymm Eagles succumbed to a 26 – 57 home defeat to Liverpool University Veterinarians.

Lymm 2nd XV had no fixture this week.

Cal Morris on the charge

Tom Shard converts a 1st half penalty

Jack Reynolds on the attack

Rhys Lilly powers towards the try line

Harry Martin closes in on the Sheffield line

Josh Hadland takes on the Sheffield defence


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