Lymm 35 – 28 Alnwick

1st Team Match Report | Saturday January 15 2022

A Game of Two Halves

There are the clichéd games of two halves, and then there is this one….. A bright, crisp, dry, day allied to the fast track home pitch had Lymm hopes high of overturning the battering they got when the two teams last met. For 50 or so minutes that is precisely what Adam Fletchers boy’s served up to a healthy (numerically anyway) crowd.

From the kick off the home side piled pressure on their Northumbrian opponents. An Alnwick knock on gave Lymm a scrum 25 metres from the try line. From the set piece. Full-back Cormac Nolan and centre Steve Pilkington traded passes to cut through the Alnwick line and Gregor Watson was on hand to finish the attack with a try. Nolan converted to give Lymm a perfect start, 7-0

From the restart Lymm gave away a penalty resulting in an Alnwick line out on the home 5 metre line. Lymm stole this and the one that followed their clearance kick allowing them to launch a long range attack. This pretty much ended the visitor’s forays into Lymm territory with the game being played almost exclusively in the Alnwick half. A missed penalty in front of the posts was followed by a deft kick-pass by Nolan which almost found Beesley near the try line. Soon after Lymm’s pressure was rewarded with Ollie Higginson squeezing through the Alnwick defence following a patient build up. Tackled almost on the line, he offloaded the ball and Watson was again in support to dot the ball down. Nolan converted as usual, 14-0.

Lymm were now dominating the set piece, with Gavin Woods and newly returned to first XV rugby, Nick Ashton, leading the way in the scrum. As a result Alnwick were unable to take advantage of the few opportunities that came their way. A yellow card was shown to the Alnwick tight head for infringing in the scrum. A scrappy spell was tidied up by Lymm making back to back 50/22 kicks, allowing the impressive line out to initiate attacks. The next try was started by Joe Senior. His strong run from halfway took Lymm deep into Alnwick’s half and speedy recycling saw the supporting run from lock Aaron Rasheed rewarded with a try. Nolan again converted, 21-0.

The final score of the half came from a cleverly worked line out move that resulted in Adam Bray cantering in for the bonus point try. Nolan converted from a difficult angle.

The home crowd were purring about both the score and the free flowing style of rugby Lymm were showing. As crisp as the attack was, it needs noting that the defence had been suffocating throughout and Alnwick had not been able to make any inroads at all. It was also mentioned that Lymm’s game management had also been very impressive. Things were however to change.

HT 28-0

The second half began as the first had ended. Matty Hand made a welcome return subbing on as prop. Soon after the kick off Rasheed intercepted the ball on halfway and drove Lymm forward. Sam Wadsworth was on hand and kept the offence going down the left. His break weaved through the Alnwick defence and he was able to outfight that last defender to score a fine try. Nolan converted again, 35-0.

Lymm were awarded another penalty shortly after, which was not without complications. A substantial period of time was taken discussing which ball had the right amount of air in it, and instead of kicking for a line out Lymm chose to kick at goal. The kick missed……and from here on in Lymm seemed to lose the focus that had given them such a massive lead. The Alnwick set pieces improved and they began to dominate at the scrum, in a total reversal of the first half. Lymm began to be penalised relentlessly at the scrum, and the discipline at the ruck disappeared too. Alnwick were therefore able to bypass the midfield as each penalty allowed them to kick deep into Lymm territory for line outs, and then to get scrums near Lymm’s tryline.

Alnwick scored their opening try after gathering the ball from a loose and unnecessary kick by Lymm. The possession was quickly converted into points, 35-7. Soon after Ashton was yellow carded, and Alnwick took full advantage scoring from the back of a scrum, 35-14. Back to back penalties gave the Northumbrians great field position and their increasingly dominant back rower, Bird, smashed his way over the line for their third try, 35-21.

Lymm had started to fall apart in almost every facet of their game and Alnwick were looking alert and feisty.

The final 3 minutes saw Alnwick camped in Lymm’s 22, with scrum after scrum. Finally with time almost up the referee ran out of patience with the Lymm scrum and awarded a penalty try giving Alnwick both a try bonus point and a losing bonus point.

FT 35 – 28

At the start of the day Alnwick were one place and 3 points ahead of Lymm. Although gaining a 5 point league win, the penalty try removed Lymm’s opportunity to leapfrog them, with Alnwick getting 2 bonus points. Next Saturday, Lymm travel to Heaton Mersey to play Burnage.

‘If you had asked me before the game would I have been happy with a score line of 35-28 in our favour I would have bitten your hand off,’ commented Adam Fletcher, head coach. ‘Going 35 points ahead then conceding 28 points takes the gloss of what was, for 60 minutes, an excellent performance.’

‘We went away from what had served us so well and probably tried to force too much. It seemed that we wanted to score off first phase every time rather than build the phases.’

‘To be fair to Alnwick they stuck at the task, but in all honesty we gave them a huge hand in taking 2 points away.’

‘I’m not quite sure how we gave a penalty try away on our ball, especially when our No 8 had already left the scrum with the ball. However, I’m happy with 5 points and we will be working on how to keep focused and put teams away rather than letting them back in the game,’ he concluded.

1 Gav Woods (C), 2 Adam Bray, 3) Nick Ashton, 4) Aaron Rasheed, 5) James Yates, 6) Josh Hadland, 7) Ed Morris, 8) Oli Higginson, 9) Gregor Watson, 10) Scot Redfern, 11) Joe Senior, 12) Sam Wadsworth, 13) Steve Pilkington, 14) Nathan Beesley, 15) Cormac Nolan, 16) Matty Hand, 17) James Pitcher, 18) Liam Connolly.

Referee: Mr Ben Moore

Match Report: Dave Fernyhough


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