Lymm 49 – 7 Kirkby Lonsdale
1st Team Match Report | Saturday September 4 2021
Lymm launches new season in style
In a nice piece of symmetry Lymm entertained Cumbrians, Kirkby Lonsdale who were the last team they played before lockdown kicked in over 18 months ago.
This time turned out to be a one-sided affair, unlike previous encounters, when KL have provided far sterner tests for the Cheshire side. Both squads have suffered from player fall-out due to the pandemic but KL were far more depleted and it showed.
A big, smiling crowd at Beechwood, on an overcast but dry day, saw two teams eager to make up for lost playing time and the early encounters gave a taste of what was to come. KL defended sternly as Lymm went through their attacking repertoire, but Lymm just had a missed penalty and no real reward after the first 30 minutes.
Lymm had six debutants featuring in the squad and an eye-catching display from former Nottingham Uni scrum half Gregor Watson particularly impressed. His whip-smart service off both hands had the crowd cooing in admiration as he launched the backs time and again.
In the forwards the new back row Harry Martin made his presence felt with some thunderous tackles. However, it was Ollie Higginson at No 8 who showed his class as he made break after break and offloaded time and again in the tackle.
One in particular was outstanding as he caught the opposition’s line-out throw and made a 30 yard break through the line out, before off-loading. There was a ring rustiness to Lymm’s play which was understandable but some of the superb passing inter-play all over the field was giving KL lots to think about.
The visitors are not a big side but matched Lymm for speed around the park and soon got into their defensive patterns, negating Lymm’s attacking verve. However, they could do little against a half break from hooker and former colt Rob Makin who jinked past one defender and fed Higginson who scored from 20m out. Cormac Nolan converted making it 7-0 on 30 minutes.
By now Lymm were playing mostly in the opposition’s half and momentum was building but passes were going to ground. However, pressure was telling and one sequence involving backs and forwards but started by a Higginson break, resulted in scrum half Watson diving over for his league debut try. Nolan duly converted – 14-0 as the half time whistle went.
Three minutes into the second half and an attacking scrum in KL territory led to an exciting sequence, including a great piece of play by prop Jordan Widdrington who kept the ball alive. A clever kick-through from fly half and captain, Tom Bray into the 22 was pounced on by Cormac Nolan who, as he fell, executed a sublime, blind reverse pass to right winger Sam Wandsworth and, with coruscating pace, scored in the corner. Nolan subsequently also brilliantly converted from wide out making it 21-0 after 44mins.
The Lymm front row, a much bigger unit than in previous seasons and dominating at scrum time, also featured a debut prop, Kurt Riley who was outstanding. He made some excellent carries with handling and passing skills any class three-quarter would be proud of. One to watch!
New laws have been introduced this season to keep the game attractive and the crowd witnessed the new ‘50-22’ law first hand. If, while the ball is in play, a team kicks the ball indirectly into touch in the oppositions 22, from their own half, they will retain the throw-in at the line-out. Ben Stansfield, on as replacement centre, duly illustrated this new law, kicking with intent, and from the subsequent attacking line-out, Ollie Higginson once again scored near the posts for Nolan to convert – 28-0 after 55mins. Passes were beginning to stick!
Hooker Makin, who featured significantly all afternoon, then made another jinky break in the opposition’s 22 then threw an outrageous 20m miss-pass to winger Wandsworth to once again score in the corner, for his brace. Nolan made no mistake converting from the touchline – 35-0 after 57mins.
By now Lymm’s tails were well and truly up and the firm 3G pitch suited this flamboyant level of rugby artistry. Second row Aaron Rashid, another graduate from the Lymm Colts Academy, broke through a tackle in his own 22 and fed Wandsworth outside him. After good yardage the pass was returned and Rashid went over for a well-deserved try. The metronomic accuracy of Nolan made no mistake from wide out – 42-0 after 60mins.
KL’s heads were momentarily lifted when their scrum half and captain Ben Walker made a superb 50m break, exchanging passes with his second row and scoring near the posts. 42-7 after 66mins.
As the game moved towards its inevitable conclusion Lymm’s defence looked solid as KL tried to put some gloss on the score but it was prop Widdrington who had the final say going over for a pushover try, which Nolan converted (course he did), for a final score of 49-7 as the whistle went.
The referee, Adam Robinson, RFU Panel, North Group, kept the game flowing with no yellow cards, which was a credit to both teams and his management.
It was also refreshing for the crowd to see both sides keen to run the ball when the opportunity arose and not to kick the ball away as so often witnessed at higher levels. The result is far more entertaining and, while Lymm will meet more testing sides in this very competitive league, the spectators can always expect an exciting afternoon’s rugby.
‘Once we scored we settled down. We had a real purple patch where we scored some amazing tries. I thought the ambition to move the ball and attack from deep was great.’
‘Some real standout performances but I was most impressed with how the 6 debutants settled in.’
Next Saturday’s fixture is away to Rossendale with kick off at 3pm.