Lymm Eagles 17 – 15 Liverpool St. Helens 2nds

Eagles Team Match Report | Saturday November 12 2022

Eagles get out of jail

Lymm Eagles extended their winning run to 7 consecutive games with a tense, close and gritty performance against Liverpool St Helens 2s.  Over the years, matches between LHS and Lymm at all levels have always been very competitive and this one was no exception.  The result was always going to be unpredictable and could have gone either way with Lymm riding their luck on several occasions to keep out of jail.

With some late call ups to the 2nd team and a few players recovering from injuries and niggles, the Eagles side had a slightly bare bones look to it. Stalwart club player, 2nd row Adam Halford kindly offered to fill in for the 3s until he was required for 2nd team duty with their later kick off.  It was good to be able to welcome back veterans Jim France and Tom Graham from injury to the Eagles squad, hoping that the dodgy strapped knees and wonky fingers would manage to hold up. With no backs on the bench, it was hoped that there would be no need to sub any of them during the game (more on that later). You can always gauge whether the opposition are “Up for It” by seeing how early they are out warming up. Even before any of the Lymm players thought about poking their heads outside the warmth of the changing room and blinking in the sunshine like hibernating moles, LSH were sprinting about on the old first team pitch with their two coaches, practising lineouts, running lines, and really warming up. What’s all that about then? Isn’t that why deep heat was invented?

Before kick-off, one minutes silence was impeccably observed by both sides for Remembrance Day. The game was started by the referee, who was officiating her first game of senior rugby. Hopefully, the players and supporters would all be polite and be on their best behaviour. (Kinner please note!)  When asked how the players should speak to her, she said that she was happy to be addressed as Sir!

In Remembrance

From the kick off, LSH set about putting big tackles into the Lymm runners, knocking them back on a regular basis. Lymm struggled to get their running game going but were too often caught out in the ruck and couldn’t seem to be able to present the ball well for scrum half Chris Kinsey.  Even the usually formidable Eagles scrum wasn’t having the same impact as in previous weeks.  Following a lightning break against the run of play, Lymm unfortunately lost winger Tom Coghill to a nasty ankle injury, with flanker Jim France taking up his position on the wing. LSH were starting to enjoy themselves and moved progressively up the pitch off the back of several penalties against Lymm. After only 7 minutes play, the LSH backs broke through the Lymm defensive line to go over for a converted try, (0-7).

If this was supposed to act as a stimulus to get Lymm going, it didn’t work, as 2 minutes later, LSH shifted the ball out wide from a well worked lineout which allowed their fullback to go over in the corner for an unconverted try, (0-12).  Lymm started to look a bit shell shocked, and it looked as if things might go from bad to worse if they failed to up their game.  Fortunately, following strong words of “encouragement” from Captain Olly Brown and fly half Alan Reddecliff, Lymm started to get more of a foothold in the match. Rather than allowing themselves to be used for target practice, Lymm became stronger in fending off the tackles and effectively used quick tip passes to shift the point of attack and keep the defenders guessing. Lymm also got much better at the breakdown, with prop Aldin Zillic strongly clearing out several in quick succession. This hard work was eventually rewarded on 18 minutes, when Reddecliff broke through into the 22 and offloaded to a flying Max Ure, who once again showed a great turn of pace to round the full back and go over for a try, converted by Reddecliff, (7-12).

OMG he’s thrown it to me

The back to basics approach seemed to help Lymm a lot and it only took another 5 minutes for Lymm to power over again, this time through flanker Craig Capewell showing great strength and speed. The missed conversion brought the scores level, (12-12). Now it was Game On. The rest of the half was relatively even, with Lymm unfortunately failing to capitalise on an LSH yellow card. Despite what appeared to be a significant weight disadvantage, the Lymm scrum was starting to lumber back into life and reassert its usual dominance. Despite several changes to the LSH front row to try to improve their performance, it was clear that the LSH scrum was going to find it increasingly difficult to compete in the second half. As the Lymm Eagles’ scrum has regularly found itself in this position in most of their recent games, it should not be too difficult to guess what’s coming next.

Half Tim: Eagles 12 – 12 LSH

The half time message from Captain Brown was to keep the game simple and cut out the mistakes that LSH were preying on. In such a closely balanced match, there was a distinct feeling that whichever team scored next, would be able to take control of the game. Lymm worked hard in defence, with full back Liam Kirkham reliably sweeping up at the back, 2nd row Jez Ure tackling everything that moved (sometimes even those in an LSH shirt) and centre Paul Jones offering the no-nonsense, direct running that punched holes in the defence.  Despite Lymm’s best efforts, it was LSH who scored first with a penalty just outside the 22 for 3 points on 50 minutes, (12-15).

I can see Jodrell Bank from up here

Lymm were then completely taken by surprise when LSH announced that they had run out of front row replacements and the game would have to continue with uncontested scrums. (8 games from 9 for those wondering).  Lymm continued to play the basics well and looked for the score to take the lead. The game became increasingly physical and a bit niggly and unfortunately, Lymm lost fly half Reddecliff to a shoulder injury and then captain Brown to a head injury in quick succession. Lymm could have gone to pieces, but they rearranged admirably, bringing on latecomer Rick McEvoy, and with scrum half Kinsey and Prop Dave Coon taking over captaining and pack leader duties. Excellent hard work from the forwards moved play into the 22.  With less than 10 minutes to go, the ball was moved quickly and accurately along the line to centre Reece Forrest who drove over in the corner for an unconverted try, (17-15).

I can hear the whistle, the refs under here somewhere

The game then descended then into a rather scrappy contest with both teams desperate to win. This boiled over into several unseemly scraps and Joe Rogers and an LSH player being given yellow cards for flinging their handbags at each other. Mind you the referee had quite a plenty of candidates to choose from in this regard and recent replacement Tom Graham was nearly convinced to volunteer for one. This was followed in quick succession by another yellow card for dissent for LSH. Lymm continued to defend well and great work in the line out from Ben Stroud kept LSH at arm’s length.  The game ended in controversial circumstances (depending on the team you support) as LSH knocked on and the ref said the uncontested scrum would be the last play. Only 2 minutes earlier, she had told LSH there was 6 minutes left. Unsurprisingly Lymm didn’t complain!!

Full Time: Eagles 17 – 15 LSH

A massive win for Lymm in what turned out to be a very tough day at the office. Lymm coped very well with a few injuries and several pieces of ill-discipline, which on another day could have been more severely punished. Whilst Olly Brown was still having his head examined (probably just for turning up today), stand in captain Chris Kinsey remarked how proud he was of the team for fronting up and for each man putting in a hard shift. There were several contenders for man of the match, with special mentions to Paul Jones, Reece Forrest, Liam Kirkham, and Aldin Zillic who just missed out, but it was eventually awarded to veteran Jez Ure, who was visible all-round the pitch today and led the defensive charge. Random comment of the day came from an unidentified Lymm forward, who simply stated that “The scrum is holding up well but I can smell coconuts!!!”  Lymm maintain 2nd place but have now opened daylight between the teams behind them.

There is no game for the 3rd team next week, but Lymm 2nd team travel to Lightfoot Lane to play Preston Grasshoppers 2s.  Your support would be most welcome.

Squad: 1) Aldin Zillic 2) Olly Brown (C) 3) David Coon 4) Adam Halford 5) Jez Ure 6) Joe Rogers 7) Craig Capewell 8) Max Ure 9) Chris Kinsey 10) Alan Reddecliff 11) Josh Keefe 12) Paul Jones 13) Reece Forrest 14) Tom Coghill 15) Liam Kirkham. REP 16) Jim France 17) Tom Graham 18) Ben Stroud 19) Rick McEvoy

Match Reprt: Peter & David Coon


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