Lymm 43 – 24 Sheffield Tigers

1st Team Match Report | Saturday March 23 2024

First half blitz sees Lymm tame Tigers

A blustery and bitterly cold Beechwood played host to Lymm vs Sheffield Tigers with the home team looking to bounce back from a difficult away day at league leaders Leeds Tykes the previous week.

Fly half Tom Shard was missing due to injury with Jack Reynolds moving forward to 10 and Alfie Simpson starting at 15. In the pack, Ralph McEachran returned at loosehead in place of Gav Woods and the coaching team opted for a four forward bench with Andy Williams the only backs cover.

The game began ominously for the home side: multiple penalties from referee Moorhouse and very little possession or territory. Within five minutes, this lack of discipline saw Tigers go ahead through their well-drilled maul from a 5m lineout. Lymm 0 Tigers 5. Shortly after, they would repeat the trick. This time the Lymm forwards repelled the initial drive but, with the maul spinning slightly, the Sheffield hooker popped out of the back and ran unopposed to the posts.

Lymm 0 Tigers 10 with both conversions missed in the powerful wind. Not the start that the home team had planned but their response was outstanding. A 25 minute, five-try blitz that would leave the game all but over by half time. Firstly, after Tigers had recycled the ball blind in midfield, Lymm’s line speed, led by Cal Morris, won a dominant collision and the ensuing counter ruck drew a penalty for holding, Tighthead prop Matty Hand, exceptional in both loose and tight phases all day, tapped quickly to himself and barged over – Lymm 5 Tigers 10.

Lymm’s second try came immediately after a bout of end-to-end rugby from both teams. A promising Lymm attacking position was squandered and Tigers broke out through the dangerous running of Broadley and Wilson who took the ball deep into the Lymm 22. Lymm’s scramble defence worked desperately to get back and forced a turnover in contact which was box kicked away. Tigers returned the kick dangerously yet lost another turnover, landing in the hands of Jack Reynolds who appeared to have a run-in but opted to kick the ball deep. The kick bounced off the corner flag and was somehow recycled into a scrum for the Lymm.

After this breathless passage of the play, the next was altogether simpler – James Kimber at first receiver straight to Ste Pilkington on a customary hard line. Pilkington found a soft shoulder and was under the sticks. Lymm 12 Tigers 10 and the scoring had only just begun.

Almost instantly, they were at it again. Another powerful carry by Hand drew a penalty just outside the Lymm 22. Morris, as ever, tapped, went and streaked away. Harry Martin, tireless and powerful throughout, was on hand to take the final pass from the scrum half and finished well. Lymm 19 Tigers 10.

Five minutes later, the bonus point try was secured. After Lymm had made it far too easy for Sheffield to exit their own 22, a covering Nathan Beesley collected a kick deep in his own red zone and, seeing some flagging forwards in front of him, set off at high pace returning the ball to half way and earning another Lymm penalty. This penalty was kicked to within 5m of the Tigers line and, with Lymm’s maul motoring forwards, Tigers had no option but to stop it illegally.  The result was a penalty try and yellow card. Lymm 26 Tigers 10.

Three minutes later, came the final of the five tries – Paddy Jennings finishing calmly down the left edge after quick hands from Simpson which had been set up by a
Lymm turnover in the Sheffield 22. Lymm 33 Tigers 10 after an excellent Reynolds conversion.

The home side were rampant and looked extremely dangerous every time they were in possession.Tigers, after their positive opening ten, looked somewhat shell-shocked although remained threatening whenever they had territory. Both teams had chances to add to their scores before half time but neither could and the half ended at 33-10 with the home side in complete control.

Half Time: Lymm 33 – 10 Sheffield Tigers

Following the flowing entertainment of the 1 st half was always going to be a challenge and so it proved. After a distinctly flat opening ten minutes or so, Lymm opened the scoring with a Reynolds penalty after a high tackle – an offence that was a problem for both teams all game. Lymm 36 Tigers 10.

From this, the game fell into somewhat of a lull: plenty of Tigers possession with Lymm defending doggedly and attacking the away team’s lineout, which had begun to fall apart in the face of the wind and relentless pressure from Higginson and Yates.

Two almost identical Tigers tries, both scored by their inside centre from close range scrums, sandwiched an Oli Higginson try for Lymm after multiple phases in the Tigers 22 from yet another lineout steal with Hand and Ben Thomson both extremely prominent ball in hand.

Lymm 43 Tigers 24 and the contest was as good as over aside from three Lymm yellow cards – all for high tackles – one for Higginson and two for Cash Chilvers resulting in a red.

Full Time: Lymm 43 – 24 Sheffield Tigers

Five league points for the home side and an outstanding performance that puts them 10th in the league and within touching distance of league safety.

A big thank you to the referee Jack Moorhouse and his two assistant referees Paul Hill and Tim Brown.

Director of Coaching Adam Fletcher was ebullient after the final whistle. ‘I thought we were superb from about 10 minutes onwards. The effort and good numbers at training this week really paid off.

‘There were some great performances, Matty Hand in the pack was a powerhouse and Cal had a great game.

‘We have now beat Tigers, Hull and Otley in our last 3 home games which is a pretty decent achievement.

‘The boys will get a nice rest next weekend so the batteries will be recharged ahead of the trip to Preston Grasshoppers on 6 April. We beat them at home this season and it’s a tough one but we are all looking forward to it,’ he concluded.

Team: Ralph McEachran (11) 2. James Pitcher* (64) 3. Matty Hand*  (104) 4. Ben Thomson (28) 5. James Yates* (C) 119 6. Josh Hadland* (35) 7. Harry Saxton-Martin (52)    8. Oli Higginson* (260) 9. Cal Morris (35) 10. Jack Reynolds (20) 11. Paddy Jennings* (49) 12. James Kimber* (107) 13. Ste Pilkington* (63) 14. Nathan Beesley* (66) 15. Alfie Simpson* (27) Subs 16. Rob Makin* (61) 17. Gav Woods (129) 18. Cash Chilvers (24) 19. Rhys Lilly* (51) 20. Andy Williams* (20).

( ) = number of Lymm First XV League appearances

* Former Lymm Academy/M&J player

Referee: Jack Moorhouse

Assistant referees: Paul Hill and Tim Brown

Match Report: Adam Bray


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