Lymm Eagles 32 – 3 Winnington Park 2nds
Eagles Team Match Report | Saturday November 18 2023
Eagles in Winning Form against Winnington
On a rather soggy Saturday, Lymm Eagles ground out an efficient and well deserved victory against a highly drilled Winnington Park 2 nd team. This was a game where Lymm showed their experience to execute an effective game plan and play the conditions, the opposition and referee to perfection.
Having had two weeks to stew over the disappointing defeat to local rivals Moore, the Eagles arrived to face Winnington Park determined to make amends and get their season back on track. Selection this week had once again come with its usual challenges. Whilst plenty of forwards were available, backs were in short supply. Back row Kieran Williams filled in at centre for the missing Simon Beards. With regular scrum half Chris Kinsey also missing after recent surgery (I was told he was having his legs waxed), fellow veteran Martin Henderson answered the call to slip on his hobnail boots and take to the field. This came with the added bonus of playing alongside his young son Fin Henderson for the first time, joining another father and son duo Max and Jez Ure on the pitch. These father and son playing combinations are an admirable feature of the Rugby Family at Lymm and follows in the proud footsteps of the likes of the Kinsey’s, Larkin’s, Reay’s and Norcott’s and others who have all managed this remarkable feat. Lymm were also able to give first games of the season to Paul Jones-Evans, Joe Rogers, and Tom Coon, playing alongside younger brother David (and make his scribe extremely proud in the process!!).
The Eagles arrived in their changing room at their usual relaxed time of 1:30pm giving plenty of time for a pre-match chat, a quick fag and the usual comparison of injuries and ailments. With the weather a bit parky, many were able to circumvent the usual warm up procedures by making use of the industrial vat of deep heat, whilst others wondered/hoped that the game might be called off as it was drizzling a bit, and no one had seen the opposition yet. The reason for their absence from the changing room was quickly evident when Lymm sauntered down to the pitch so see a Winnington side in full matching training attire and two clipboarded coaches barking out instructions. (Note to self: I must get a clipboard as it looks like you know what you are doing).
They’d even brought their own tackle bags. The closest things the Vets had brought to the side of the pitch was an Aldi bag full of Haribo sweets (other brands are available). Winnington also had the confidence to make it back to the changing room to change into their match shirts before kick-off. Some of our elder players were concerned they wouldn’t even make it back up the muddy embankment at the side of the pitch! It was also discovered that no-one had brought a kicking tee. The opposition had brought two kicking tees but were reluctant to lend one to the Eagles so one had to be hastily constructed out of three training cones and sticky tape borrowed/stolen from the Minis and Juniors kit.
The game kicked off on the young referee’s whistle at dead on 14:15 (it will become apparent why I mention the time later) and both teams spent the first 5-10 mins sizing each other up, with Winnington probably just having the edge in the loose. After a couple of false starts in the first couple of set pieces, Lymm’s formidable scrum started to grumble into life. This was probably helped by the front 5 of Lymm having a combined weight of about 100st (sorry, too old for metric numbers). Lymm were thus able to shunt, control or disrupt the scrums almost at will. Clearly, this was going to prove to be a powerful weapon throughout the match…..can you guess where this is heading? The referee was very hot at the breakdown and neither team were given more than a split second to clear the opposition to prevent a turnover.
Fortunately, Lymm have two of the best ball two stealing jackals (unfortunately not an officially recognised RFU position) in the form of Jim France and Joe Rogers, and both were having a field day. On 15 minutes, from a turnover penalty 10 metres from the Winnington try line, Lymm opted for a scrum. The scrum trundled forward like a bulldozer and the Winnington scrum disintegrated. However, the referee told Lymm to use the ball from the back of the scrum, rather than allowing a pushover try. Fortunately, a great pass from fly half Alan Reddecliff over the heads of the centres, found winger Tom Coghill lurking and he skilfully managed to sidestep two defenders to score in the corner for an unconverted try (5-0).
Unsurprisingly, the usually accurate McEvoy blamed the missed kick on the abysmally constructed kicking tee. Lymm bounced back to their half ready for kick-off. However, they were greeted by the message from the referee that a Winnington prop had unfortunately suffered an injury (possibly to his pride) and with no front row replacements, the game would continue with uncontested scrums. Prop Dave Coon was already heading for the dugout, having substituted himself off even before the referee had finished saying the word “uncontested”. David was replaced by his brother Tom, hoping to add more dynamism to the side. Unfortunately, Tom’s first dynamic action was to high tackle his opposite
number and earn the referee’s wrath and be yellow carded after only 30 secs play. Much debate followed as to whether even the renowned Reedy or Tucker had ever earnt a yellow card that quickly. Probably didn’t help Tom’s mood when his younger brother is shouting “it should have been red”.
The remainder of the half was a continuing arm wrestle despite the numerical disadvantage. Ben Lloyd and Craig Capewell made their usual bullocking runs to great effect, whilst number 8 Max Ure linked forwards and backs really well. However, the scoreline wasn’t troubled during this period.
On their part, Winnington were ruling the lineout, winning every ball. On 32 minutes, Lymm returned to full strength and Tom Coon re-entered the fray. The referee though, immediately blew for half time. This was met with much puzzlement and questions from both teams, as it was only about 2.45pm and even without stoppages, 40mins play had definitely not elapsed. The referee’s claim that the game needed to be completed before bad light stopped play, meaning a shortened half, was very confusing. It’s just not cricket!! However, the Eagles vets weren’t complaining if it meant only running around for 70mins.
HALF TIME: LYMM EAGLES 5 – 0 WINNINGTON PARK 2nds
It had been a tight first half, but Lymm felt in control and had not really been threatened. The territorial game was working and there had been some superb defence on show. Captain Ollie Brown asked his troops for more of the same and to be ready for the Winnington reaction to being behind.
Straight from kick off, Winnington showed some extra energy and proceeded to smash into the Eagle’s defensive line. However, great work from 2 nd row George Harrison earned a penalty on “32” minutes. Richard McEvoy successfully kicked the penalty (8-0), signalled by some beautiful flag work from touch judge Stu Wraith (although the ref asked him to remove his camouflage jacket for fear that he would not be able to See Stu in front of the foliage behind the posts). Immediately from kick-off, Winnington were given a similar ruck penalty and they opted for 3 points to get on the board (8-3). Back came Lymm and yet ANOTHER ruck penalty was awarded, this time to Lymm, who again chose to kick the points to extend the lead (11-3).
McEvoy now complained that the kicking tee needed immediate attention as it was falling apart (typical!) The game finally settled down after this scrappy period and some good rugby was played. Winnington were making the most of guaranteed ball in the scrum and a very good lineout to push Lymm further back. However, Lymm showed great defence, with crunching tackles from Capewell, Williams and Forrest.
The nous of the very wily Henderson and the experience of Reddecliff together with Maccas long distance boot, got Lymm out of trouble several times, including a couple of excellent 50-22s (not that we were winning lineouts!). The game’s most controversial incident happened on 55 mins. The Winnington 15, whilst trying to recover the ball was strongly cleared out by prop Dave Coon. Loudly proclaiming that the Lymm player had dived off his feet, the 15 politely suggested that the referee might consider awarding a penalty for the perceived infringement. The referee, however, disagreed with the No.15’s assessment of the situation and said “No”. The response from the No.15 was not entirely clear, but appeared to suggest that the referee was involved in some kind of sexual activity with a lady’s private parts. The referee was, unsurprisingly, not amused and issued an immediate red card to the offender. The player and coaches then changed tack saying that the clear out had been head on head, but nothing came of it.
Lymm now had the numerical advantage and started to dominate territory and possession. Good breaks from wings Coghill and McKean were unlucky not to have resulted in scores, whilst Captain Brown (even while nursing a bad headache from an earlier collision) was absolutely everywhere. Even with a misfiring lineout, 2 nd row Jez Ure made it his personal mission to put pressure on the opposition 9, forcing several knock ons and dropped balls. Lymm finally broke through the defence on 60 mins, when quick thinking from M. Henderson smartly reversed the direction of play and found fly half Reddecliff who dummied his way over for a try, converted by McEvoy (18-3).
Winnington still didn’t give up the fight and pushed hard. Lymm almost shot themselves in the foot with a few mistakes, including a not straight throw at the lineout on their own 5 metre line (Note from Dave Coon “stop asking me to throw in then”) and a comical knock on from a quick tap penalty. We don’t have a blame culture in the Eagles, so it doesn’t Macca….sorry matter, who knocked on!! (3 rd time this season I’ve used that joke, still funny!!).
However, Lymm regrouped and another attack and another drop of the shoulder from Reddecliff doubled his try count for the match on 66 mins, converted by McEvoy (25-3). A demoralised Winnington Park were just looking for the final whistle to end the game, but on the last play of the match after only 72 minutes playing time, Max Ure FINALLY stole a Winnington lineout and the ball was shipped from one side of the pitch to the other for Joe Rogers to draw the last man and feed winger Coghill for the final try, converted by McEvoy (32-3).
FULL TIME: LYMM EAGLES 32 – 3 WINNINGTON PARK 2nds
An excellent victory for the Eagles, who showed a discipline and control that has sometimes been lacking this season. A great display of teamwork both in attack and defence and in which no-one could have been said to have had a bad game or lacked effort. To keep an opposition without a try was particularly pleasing.
It was great to see all the players play with smiles on their faces, and long may it continue. Big thanks to Winnington for providing very competitive opposition and this scribe is sure you will do really well this season. I will have to mention one “Old Git” gripe. Win, lose or draw, controversial or not, you shake hands at the end and walk through the tunnels as a sign of respect and rugby values. You do this first, then do your post- match debrief. Don’t make your opposition wait for 2 minutes whilst you have a chat before deciding to do the tunnel, it leaves a slightly sour taste.
The debate for man of the match took up many beers in the clubhouse afterward and it showed how much every player contributed. Special mentions went to Martin Henderson, whose dark arts at scrum half were very much in evidence and put to great use. Ben Lloyd had one of his best gamessince returning to playing. Jez Ure’s energy in defence was an example to all, whilst the tactical and pressure relieving kicks from Macca were crucial in this victory. Man of the match eventually went to hooker Craig Capewell, who was absolutely everywhere in both defence and attack, Well done Craig. A final special mention to Fin Henderson, who played his first senior game and did not look out of place, with several strong tackles and carries. Congratulations to Fin and the rest of the Henderson family in attendance.
Next week, Lymm entertain Macclesfield 3s in a rearranged fixture, Crouchley Lane 14:15 kick off. Your support would be very much appreciated
Team: 1) Olly Brown (C) 2) Craig Capewell 3) David Coon 4) George Harrison 5) Ben Lloyd 6) Jim France 7) Joe Rogers 8) Max Ure 9) Martin Henderson 10) Alan Reddecliff 11) Josh McKean 12) Kieran Williams 13) Reece Forrest 14) Tom Coghill 15) Rick McEvoy REP 16) Jez Ure 17) Tom Coon 18) Paul Jones-Evans 19) Fin Henderson
Match Report: Pete and David Coon