Lymm 2nds 0 – 63 Caldy 2nds
2nd Team Match Report | Saturday January 28 2023
Wilful Lymm unable to stop unbeaten Caldy
In recent seasons Caldy have progressed tremendously through the league structure and were rewarded with promotion to The Championship at the end of last season. Underpinning this rise has been a very strong 2nd XV which are reckoned to have not lost a game for around five seasons. After strengthening their senior squad for Championship rugby, regularly featuring in their 2nd XV this year are players with Championship and National one rugby experience. With Lymm 1st XV away at struggling Kirkby Lonsdale the Crouchley Lane fixture was certainly by far the tougher encounter. An insurmountable task faced the Lymm 2nd XV, but a very motivated, committed and fearless performance resulted in a competitive game playing out, particularly in the first half.
Lymm welcomed back club stalwart Tom Baker who showed no sign of sluggishness despite over a month off and recently adapting to becoming a new dad. Also returning to the side was centre Josh Davies who had yet to feature this season before today’s game but was straight back into the saddle from the off. Lymm’s bench also contained two seventeen year olds in Isaac Millachip and Harry Reay who both acquitted themselves incredibly well against such senior opposition.
Perfect conditions greeted the two teams and with the home comforts of the artificial grass pitch, Lymm would do their best to keep tempo in the game. Unsurprisingly, a team of Caldy’s prowess would be equally comfortable on any surface and would demonstrate their well-drilled approach from minute one. The opening exchanges saw Caldy enjoy an early period of possession but a midfield forward carry was nullified and a penalty was awarded to Lymm after Ed Morris was denied a turnover by the player holding on. This was the first of a number of small-wins that buoyed the Lymm side and belief began to grow. The next lift came in the form of Sohail Kakaie repeatedly landing dominant tackles and disrupting the attacking flow for Caldy.
A number of defensive shifts had seen Lymm stretched from side to side. Eventually, a well worked passing move gave Caldy plenty of room on the Lymm edge for their outside backs to score. A similar attack this time on the opposing edge saw a neat grubber collected and another try posted making the score 0-14. Lymm rallied and took advantage of Caldy handling errors to enjoy a spell camped in their half. Caldy were able to snuff out each attack and forced errors themselves, eventually exiting with downfield kicks. Comprehensive full back play from George Anderson ensured Lymm kept returning to the Caldy half with astute kicking and determined running.
A series of Caldy penalties gave Lymm two opportunities to kick to the corner and test the Caldy line. Lineout ball secured, Lymm picked there way closer and closer with Jordan Widdrington absorbing defenders, but the resolute Caldy goal line defence held true. A further opportunity presented itself when Rick McEvoy made good progress into the Caldy red zone. Tom Baker, often so deadly in this area, fought and battled his way over to score but was adjudged to have been held up.
The remaining ten minutes of the first half saw both teams firing shots at each other. Good midfield defence meant that promising forays from McEvoy and Davies were quelled. Conversely, important tackles from Will Higgins and company kept Lymm in the fight. This combative period would prove costly for the home side with a number of injuries incurred, this level of attrition would later tell in the second half as Lymm emptied their bench and Caldy could enjoy continued rotation. On the stroke of half time, scramble defence from Lymm forced an error and they were awarded head and feed at a five metre scrum. With the score 0-14, a clean scrum and exit would have sent them into sheds at half time with all to play for. Unfortunately, a spillage was capitalised on by the Caldy scrum half and cruelly Lymm conceded, with the kick converted the half time whistle was blown.
Half Time: Lymm 0 – 21 Caldy
Despite the last minute conceded try, confidence and belief was high in the Lymm side. Coach Pete Millachip issued the message of continuing to bring the physical edge which had been exemplary in the first period. Retaining possession and implementing the multi-layered attack Lymm is renowned for was also required but is easier said than done against a Championship defensive system.
Lymm would spend the majority of the first quarter of the second half on rear guard action defending their line manfully. Repeated forward drives were repelled by props James Sherlock and Gavin Woods. The proud defence would eventually succumb following immense pressure, with back to back tries for the visitors. Increasingly effective was Caldy’s ability to draw in defenders before finding gaps in a tiring defensive line.
Overzealous in his rucking and challenging the scrum half, Baker was shown a yellow card. Down to fourteen men, more gaps appeared for Caldy to exploit and score. Still, undeterred, Stuart Hunter, George Anderson and Rick McEvoy would make some significant defensive reads in the outside channels to close down threats and prevent what could have been more scores. Shortly after returning to full complement, Lymm were then down to fourteen men again when Kakaie was binned for a mistimed tackle.
The long period with inferior numbers tested Lymm and a purple patch for Caldy saw them notch up further scores. Caldy controlled territory well with searching kicks, which were well fielded by Ryan Brown and Harry Reay who looked to counter where possible. Caldy were unrelenting in their attack ball in hand and replacements Quinn Peers and Isaac Millachip provided some much-needed fresh defensive legs, effecting a number of tackles. Lymm did their best to find some parity in attack but were requiring more numbers to clear Caldy ruck interference and subsequent phases were underequipped.
Back to full complement the home side regrouped and were determined not to roll over. A series of blindside plays saw Widdrington displaying remarkable toil, not to be out done by his larger prop counterpart Sherlock advanced likewise with some close quarter carries. This period also saw Baker and Kakaie make amends for their earlier misdemeanours with a number of half breaks before eventually being halted. After this period of attacking pressure, Lymm were awarded a penalty with negligible time remaining. Kicking to the corner in search of a try they truly deserved, the lineout was secured but Caldy were able to spoil the maul and clear their lines.
Despite desperate effort and incredible heart throughout, Lymm would be unable to register any points against the mighty Caldy. Full time score 0-63. Despite the one-sided score line, the performance was one that Lymm could be proud of. The superior fitness and organisation of elite outfit Caldy provided a much-needed sharpening of the Lymm cohort ahead of the home ‘double header’ fixture against Sandbach next week, albeit there will be some sore bodies for the next few days to overcome first.
Squad: 1. Gavin Woods 2. Will Higgins 3. Jordan Widdrington* 4. Ben Polec* 5. James Yates* 6. Sohail Kakaie* 7. Ed Morris 8. Harry Saxton-Martin 9. James Anderson* 10. Tom Baker* 11. Ryan Brown 12. Josh Davies* 13. Rory Riddell* 14. Rick McEvoy* 15. George Anderson* 16. James Sherlock* 17. Quinn Peers* 18. Isaac Millachip* 19. Stuart Hunter 20. Harry Reay
*Product of Lymm M&J/Colts Academy
Match Report: James Yates