Lymm 30 – 14 Stockport

1st Team Match Report | Saturday September 24 2022

Lymm halt Stockport winning run

A top of the table clash at Beechwood had the large crowd in a vibrant and expectant mood as unbeaten Lymm faced league leaders Stockport who led through a greater point’s difference.

Stockport, without their captain and scrum half, had already beaten Lymm in the Cheshire Cup a few weeks ago and boasted a winning streak dating back to March 2020. However, this encounter, on the AGP, was to provide an altogether different result, as Lymm fielded a strong and determined squad but without their Captain James Yates, Vice-Captain Nathan Beesley, leading the team out.

On a dry but chilly day, and after just three minutes, Lymm’s young full back Alfie Simpson made a half break on the 50m line and, with fast inter-passing both to the outside then inside again, released centre Pilkington to score under the sticks – 7-0 to the home side, with a straightforward conversion by fly half Tom Shard, and a taste of what was to come. Lymm continued to play expansively, but a crossing infringement, a few yards from the line, stopped a certain try. Stockport, recognising their strength was up front, made good yardage with a rolling maul but a penalty gave Lymm relief deep in their 22.

A subsequent penalty allowed Shard to increase the lead to 10-0 on 18 minutes. Any thoughts of a breakthrough by the Stockport backs was snuffed out time and again by a very fast and well organised defensive line from Lymm. Stockport were also on the wrong side of the ref’s whistle consistently, failing to get a foothold in the game.

Another penalty on 30 minutes gave Shard the chance to put Lymm further ahead at 13-0. Frustration was beginning to tell as the Stockport scrum half was yellow carded for stamping, further disrupting the visitors’ game. Meanwhile, an outstanding break by Ali Sutherland, Lymm’s versatile second row, saw him dummy into a gap and feed inside centre Scott Redfern who scored under the posts, 20-0 with the easy conversion, on 39 minutes. Alfie Simpson, showing great confidence for such a young player, then made a break from his own 22 and fed left winger Paddy Jennings who was hauled down by his shirt tails just short of the line, as the whistle went for half time.

HT – 20 – 0

Immediately after the start of the second half the ball was kicked to winger Jennings who passed inside to Simpson. He then chipped the oncoming defence which Jennings, intelligently chasing the ship, collected after the first bounce and scored under the posts. This all happened seconds after the match resumed and was a thrilling sight for the home spectators. 27-0 after 41 minutes, with Shard converting. A further penalty from Shard extended the lead to 30-0 after 47 minutes and, with scrum half Ben Simpson, Alfie’s younger brother, continuing to taunt the Stockport back row with his half breaks and excellent delivery, the game seemed done and dusted.

However, Stockport, realising they had to keep the ball away from the Lymm backs, instigated another powerful rolling maul and eventually scored a well worked converted try on 49 minutes – 30-7. A series of attacking line-outs by Stockport led to another rolling maul and another converted try – 30-14 after 55 minutes.

The game took another turn as mistakes from both sides made it less of a spectacle. Lymm’s line-out became dysfunctional and the Stockport pack took charge at scrum time, winning penalty after penalty with Lymm’s veteran prop Gavin Woods yellow carded for persistent infringement. However, following a stolen line-out by No 8 Oli Higginson the ball was kicked through by speedy right winger, Nathan Beesley who hacked on again, got his nose in front of the chasing defenders and simply had to collect the ball as it bounced up to him. Unfortunately the fourth try bonus point was not to be as he spilled the ball with the line at his mercy.

Stockport regained their confidence and dominated the final quarter but the score remained the same at 30-14, as the whistle blew.

DoR Adam Fletcher reflected. “Happy with the win but we definitely left a point out there. For 50 minutes we were excellent, unfortunately we lost our way a little chasing the bonus point.

“Stockport came back into the game strongly and put us under real pressure in the second half. We need to improve accuracy if we are to trouble Blackburn next week.”

FT 30-14

Team: 1. Gavin Woods (89), 2. James Pitcher* (34), 3. Matty Hand* (70), 4. Joe Murphy* (6), 5. Ali Sutherland (65), 6. Rhys Lilly* (15), 7. Ed Morris (20), 8. Oli Higginson* (243), 9. Ben Simpson* (4), 10. Tom Shard* (91) 11. Paddy Jennings* (10), 12. Scott Redfern (90), 13. Steven Pilkington* (34), 14. Nathan Beesley* (VC) (34), 15. Alfie Simpson* (18) 16. Kieron O’Callaghan* (13) 17. Nonso Agina* (2) 18. Joe Watson (87)

( ) = number of Lymm First XV League appearances

* = Former Lymm M&Js and Colts player

Referee – Mr Gavin Jones, RFU North Group.



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