Lymm 38 – 21 Blackburn

1st Team Match Report | Saturday January 7 2023

Lymm Topple League Leaders

This top of the table clash between league leaders Blackburn and second placed Lymm was destined to be the epic encounter envisaged. Both sides took an ambitious running style and attitude into the game on Lymm’s AGP fast track, and the significant crowd was not to be disappointed.

The morning’s rain had little effect on the artificial surface, as the sun shone and a feisty and unrelenting clash ensued. With the wind at their backs, and with little intention of kicking the ball to Lymm’s fast men, Blackburn seized the initiative and ran at the defence both in the forwards and out wide. These early exchanges were to be an example of Blackburn’s intent but, throughout the afternoon, Lymm’s defence remained stern, as it had to.

When Lymm did eventually gain possession the handling was, at times, mesmerising. A delightful, through-the-legs pass from full back Cormac Nolan thrilled the crowd as Lymm stretched the visitors from one side of the pitch to the other. Newly returned left wing Sam Wadsworth looked dangerous whenever he had the ball but parity remained after 15 minutes. A Blackburn second row was sin-binned for blocking and Lymm took full advantage from an attacking line-out and rolling maul. Prop Matty Hand, as is his custom, dived over 5m in from the touch with Nolan expertly kicking the conversion against the wind, after 16 minutes, 7 – 0.

Then followed a move that had been threatening from early on. Talisman Ollie Higginson, back at No 8 following a lengthy injury lay-off, broke through and handed off the next tackler. He then fed No 9 Cal Morris, the rangy and rapid scrum half who, after gaining good ground, fed the ball inside to supporting flanker Harry Martin who scored under the posts after 21 minutes, providing a simple conversion for Nolan, 14 – 0. It was a lead Lymm was not to relinquish.

Blackburn, who showed great desire to run at every opportunity, continued to refuse to use the wind and kick the ball deep. Subsequently most of the play took place in the visitors’ half despite the breeze at their backs. However, one foray into the Lymm half, following an attacking line-out, resulted in a try by their No9, Lewis Kincart, centre Paddy Gaffey added the extras, 14 – 7 after 29 minutes.

Lymm came back with determination and winger Sam Wadsworth was stopped short of the try line after a forceful break. Flanker Rhys Lilley, who had been prominent in attack and defence limped off with a knee injury, replaced by Ali Sutherland. Lymm was now applying significant pressure and Nolan placed a clever kick-through behind the defence for speedy Nathan Beesley, on the right wing, to collect and score 15m in from the touch. The conversion was missed and the score of 19-7 remained ‘till half time, despite efforts by Blackburn to get back into the match.

HT – 19-7

Notably, most of the second half was also played in Blackburn territory as Lymm continued to look dangerous. After some initial build-up play, winger Nathan Beesley broke through 50m out on the right, to score a wonderful solo try taking the score to 26 – 7 with after 48 minutes, with Nolan’s conversion, and the bonus point fourth try.

Following a concerted Lymm attack, and with their tails well and truly up Nolan, with his usual trickery, looked to have given a try-scoring pass but it was deemed forward.

Now it was time for the visitors to take the initiative and Blackburn showed they are not top of the league for nothing, coming back with a good try by centre Sammy Russell, converted by Paddy Gaffey after 60 minutes, 26 -14.

After a defensive turnover, once again Wadsworth made good ground from the Lymm 22 to half way but was brought down. The move continued and pressure was maintained with the ball moved out wide. Winger Beesley threw out a long, looping pass to Nolan who scored in the right hand corner, no conversion, 31 – 14 after 72 minutes, and that, as they say, was that! Or so we thought.

As the game moved towards its final stages there was still some action to admire. A chip into the Blackburn 22 was caught by tall center Scott Redfern who fed his centre partner James Kimber and he trotted in from 20m out, 38 -14 after 74 minutes, with Nolan’s conversion.

Nolan missed a long range penalty as the game came to a close but Blackburn wanted the final say and flanker Conner Johnson scored a try in the dying minutes, which Gaffey converted, taking the final score to 38 -21.

FT – 38 – 21

On paper this was one of the strongest teams Lymm has fielded this season, and perhaps it needed to be. The lay-off has helped and when all are fit and firing, Lymm is a formidable force who work hard for each other, with a solid game plan. The coaches are to be congratulated on forging such a competitive side and ethos – it is a thrill to watch them in this form.

‘It was a great performance from 1-18,’ commented Director of Rugby Adam Fletcher. ‘We knew that they would have long periods of possession and that our defence would be massively tested. The defence stood strong from the first minute; this gave the lads huge confidence. Our attack was sensational. We caused them problems every time we had the ball and scored 6 amazing tries.’

‘I was extremely happy with the last 5 minutes. Blackburn threw the kitchen sink at us in search of a try bonus point. To hold them out showed great heart and commitment,’ concluded Adam.

Squad: 1. Gav Woods (98), 2. Rob Makin* (38), 3. Matty Hand* (78), 4. Samir Tahraoui (2), Sam Dickenson* (7), 6. Rhys Lilly* (23), 7. Harry Martin (22), 8. Oli Higginson* (247), 9. Cal Morris (5), 10. Tom Shard* (100), 11. Sam Wadsworth* (13), 12. James Kimber* (77), Scott Redfern (99), 14. Nathan Beesley* (C), (43) 15. Cormac Nolan* (202), 16. Ben Thompson (4), 17. Ali Sutherland (72), 18. Paddy Jennings* (18).

Next week, Lymm travel to play Burnage, KO 2.15pm.

*Product of Lymm M&Js/Colts Academy
() Career 1st XV appearances for Lymm

Thank you to our Referee, Mr Jack Moorehouse, RFU North Group, we hope that you enjoyed your visit to Lymm RFC

Match Report: Simon Plumb


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