Lymm Eagles 26 – 17 Macclesfield 3rds

Eagles Team Match Report | Saturday November 25 2023

Eagles Victorious in Battle of the 3s

In crisp, cold conditions, Lymm Eagles emerged victorious with a battling win against a very enthusiastic Macclesfield 3s. This was a game that Lymm grew into and had to show a lot of
patience and resilience to wrestle back control in a game that, at times, seemed to be slipping away from them.This fixture had originally been scheduled for earlier this season, between the only two 3rd teams in Division 3 South. Due to a large number of the Macclesfield players being unavailable at a Wooden Spoon charity event, the fixture was postponed to this weekend. This left the Eagles as the only team at home, with no 2nd game this weekend and the 1st team away at Sheffield.Captain Olly Brown kept faith with the players that had served him so well this season. Ben Stroud returned to the 2nd row to replace the injured George Harrison.

This did mean that Lymm had another lineout option to take the pressure off Max Ure after last week’s game. Jack Harper returned to add some bite to the back row. Alex Mukherjee kindly returned from university to step in at fly half for Alan Reddecliff, who wasn’t quite fit enough for a full 80mins. Simon Beards returned to the team on the wing. Lymm also had a full bench, where there was a first appearance of the season for Adam Halford, who scored a hat trick the last time the Eagles faced Macc, whilst winger Lewis Ratcliffe was playing his first game of rugby union, having spent most of his career to date in rugby league.

With no 2nd team game going on, the Eagles were informed that before the game they would have access to a Psychic. In anticipation that this would possibly reveal the fortunes of the upcoming match, possibly using tea leaves or crystal balls, many arrived only to be disappointed that due to an autocorrect typing error, Lymm had been given access to a Physio in the form of Matt Hill. This still left people confused as most had never seen a Physio at 3rd team level. Others had never seen a Physio at any level, and with his big box of medical equipment thought Matt was some kind of witch doctor.

Making their way down to the pitch at their usual time of 15mins before kick-off, the Eagles were again greeted to an opposition going through a full warm up. Looking at Macc though was in some regards, like looking into a mirror. A good mixture of the young, old and in some cases infirm, with a fair few grey hairs on show, but also plenty of smiling faces. The Referee gave his pre-match brief to the players, although he did struggle to pick out Martin Henderson as our scrum half (how rude!! Can’t imagine why?).

The players were also distracted by a small drone flying above them, which turned out to belong to Ash Williams who was spectating on the sidelines, hoping to catch some action shots of the game.

The game kicked off and Macc set off at a frantic pace, hoping to move the bigger Lymm forwards around the pitch. Lymm tried to repel the onslaught, but this led to tackles getting higher and after only 2 minutes, back row Jack Harper was yellow carded for a high tackle (or no arms tackle, the Ref actually signalled for both). Jack over the years has perfected the angelic “it wasn’t me guv’na” look on his face, but it unfortunately didn’t work this time.

Ash did inform us after the game that he had caught the incident on his drone which served mainly to confirm the Referee’s decision. It was great seeing the videos after the game, so it was a shame that after only 4 minutes play, the drone crashed into a tree and was lost in the bushes. Whilst, the most likely reason was that the drone ran out of battery, this scribe thinks he saw Jack standing on the sidelines throwing rocks at it, uttering something about destroying the evidence!! Anyway, Macc continued to attack in the Lymm 22 and after 4 minutes, Lymm were penalised for playing the ball on the floor. Macc opted to kick, and the penalty was successful (0-3). Lymm were really struggling to get anything going in the game.

They were making lots of ground, especially in the forwards, whilst the backs were putting some good moves together. However, Lymm couldn’t quite get the two sets of players to gel, which ended up with forwards in the way, opportunities being missed and players becoming isolated, leading to several turnovers. The players were starting to bicker between themselves, whilst also risking the Ref’s wrath with some unnecessary backchat. Macc had a very good defensive gameplan of not committing men in the ruck, which meant more defenders and Lymm could not find a way to break through for a good 20mins. In direct opposition to last week, the lineout was functioning well and Max Ure and Ben Stroud were winning good ball. Patient build up from a lineout and driving maul took Lymm into the Macc 22. Driving runs from Craig Capewell, Kieran Williams and Reece Forrest were repelled, before quick thinking from fly half Alex Mukherjee switched play to a flying Richie McEvoy, who powered through three tackles to score just next to the posts, converting his own try 7-3).

Hoping that this would be the touchpaper to ignite the players, Lymm continued to make the same mistakes and several players were becoming really frustrated. This only led to more mistakes. These would eventually tell and on 32 minutes, Macc broke into the Lymm 22. Despite good defence by Beards, a long pass from the Macc fly half took out 5 Lymm defenders who had honey potted around the ruck allowing the Macc winger a simple finish for a converted try (10-7). The rest of the half continued to be error strewn and very stop-start and most appreciated the Ref’s whistle for half time.

Half Time: Lymm Eagles 7 – 10 Macclesfield 3rds

Captain Olly Brown, read the riot act to his team at half time with the key message being to improve communication. All the components of victory were there if we could just put them together. The set pieces were going extremely well. As usual the Eagles pack was working like a well-oiled bulldozer and several scrums left the Macc forwards in a crumpled heap. All credit to Macc though, they never gave up trying or sought to take the easy way out and go uncontested.

The second half kicked off, with Lymm determined to make amends for their patchy first half efforts. This was led by Ben Lloyd, whose powerful runs left defenders scattered and drove Lymm up the pitch. These were backed up by breaks from Halford and Finn Henderson who were brought on at half time. On 45 minutes, after sustained pressure, a break from Reece Forrest got Lymm to within two metres. A powerful drive to the line from prop Dave Coon was repelled just short but he managed to sneak the ball back to Ben Lloyd who crashed over for a try, converted by McEvoy (14- 10).

Again the hope that this would break the defensive efforts of Macc was dashed, as both teams were very evenly matched with neither being able to claim dominance. With a few players picking up knocks, some were asked to play in unfamiliar positions, which did not add to the cohesion. The referee was also becoming frustrated with the penalty count from both teams, with Lymm being the main culprits. These infringements allowed Macc to march up the field and on 56minutes, the flying Macc winger broke free to almost score in the corner. In his attempt to score, the Referee judged that he had been barged into touch in the in-goal area with a no arms tackle and immediately awarded a 7 point penalty bringing the score to (14-17).

The game then turned with the introduction of talismanic fly half Alan Reddecliff, who despite carrying an injury, pulled on a shirt to try and right the ship (Note: this advert has been paid for with beer). His first action on 58 minutes was a 50 metre break after a truly outrageous dummy and managed to pass the ball to McEvoy, who showed his strength to again power through two tackles and touch down, although his conversion attempt narrowly missed and glanced off the post (19-17).

The game was now on a knife edge but Lymm, using McEvoy, now apparently in beast mode alongside the calming influence of Reddecliff, who unusually even hit two rucks in this period, started building phases really well. On 60 minutes, Lymm were camped on the Macc line. Quick hands released Craig Capewell, who drew the last defender and offloaded to Ben Lloyd with the line at his mercy, but unfortunately, the ball was knocked on. Ben did argue that he had already scored once and to get two tries in a match was greedy!

However, Lymm quickly regrouped and a fine break from centre Reece Forrest got Lymm well up field. Reece offloaded to winger Josh McKean, who made good meters before offloading to Terminator McEvoy, who sprinted clear to touch down for his hat-trick try, again converted by himself (26-17). A great performance to show Maccas spectating daughters, whose inspirational half time words of “Daddy, you’re not very good are you” appeared to have inspired/shamed him and we hope that they can come every week if this is the outcome.

With 15 minutes to go, Macc were not out of the game and were hoping to take advantage of a tiring Lymm team. Several fast breaks towards the Lymm line were only just stopped thanks to two separate but equally brilliant tackles in quick succession from Josh McKean which prevented the scores. Well done, Josh!! Lymm knew that, with the clock counting down, for the best chance of winning they had to keep hold of the ball. This was clear when they chose to scrum on their own 5m line rather than selecting a 22m drop out (the Ref suggesting they had been inspired by South Africa in the world cup). Lymm carefully managed to run down the minutes and with a last minute penalty, opted to kick for goal to use up the last of the time. This was accompanied by a few whistles, boos, jeers, and cries of “Shame” from one or two of the opposition, but mainly from yours truly, this scribe! The kick was missed, and the Ref’s whistle brought the match to a close.

Full Time: Lymm Eagles 26 – 17 Macclesfield 3rds

Another very good win for Lymm, despite a large number of errors and lacklustre performance in the 1st half. This win takes the Eagles up to 4th in the league and it will be hoped that we can pick up a few more victories in the run up to Christmas. A big thanks to Macclesfield, who were excellent sporting opponents and gave a really good account of themselves. They played the game with a smile on their faces (and kept competitive scrums the whole game). Good luck this season and we look forward to seeing you at Priory Park.

Many candidates for man of the match this week (mostly self-suggested). We usually choose the MOTM whilst writing the report, but we do take heed of the players suggestions and bribes are most welcome. Special mentions this week go to Josh McKean for his try saving tackles, Reece Forrest for some powerful running, Alan Reddecliff for his game saving substitution and Olly Brown, who is always his own MOTM. Final selection was Richie “Beast Mode” McEvoy for his hat trick of tries and his general determination to win this game. Well done as well to Lewis Ratcliffe, who played well in his first game, although your performance on the beam with a pint was less impressive.

Well done as well to Jack Harper for stepping in on the beam for Macca, Jack once again doing all the work whilst Macca gets the glory!!

Next week, Lymm travel to Altrincham Kersal 2s hoping to kick on into the festive season, 14:15 kick off. All most welcome to attend.

Team: 1) Olly Brown (C) 2) Craig Capewell 3) David Coon 4) Ben Stroud 5) Ben Lloyd 6) Jack Harper 7) Will Higgins 8) Max Ure 9) Martin Henderson 10) Alex Mukherjee 11) Josh McKean 12) Kieran Williams 13) Reece Forrest 14) Simon Beards 15) Rick McEvoy REP 16) Ollie Chesworth 17) Adam Halford 18) Lewis Ratcliffe 19) Fin Henderson 20) Alan Reddecliff . Psychic Physio. Matt Hill

Report: Pete and David Coon


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