Lymm Eagles 36 – 10 Burnage 3rds
Eagles Team Match Report | Saturday December 3 2022
Lymm Redress Earlier Season Defeat in Style
Lymm Eagles turned out at Crouchley Lane on a bitterly cold but fortunately windless December Saturday with high hopes of redressing their loss earlier in the season to a very strong Burnage side.
With 8 straight wins under their belts, the Eagles were keen to increase this to 9. On paper the omens were good with the welcome return of Captain Ollie Brown following injury and several very experienced vets (read that as “old”) supported by more junior players with speed, agility and fitness on their side (read that as “young”). Olly had performed his usual magic to produce a team with a good cross section of skills and it was particularly encouraging to have youngster Angus Gratten on board for his debut in Senior Rugby. Welcome to the dark side Angus! At the same time, we managed to have not one but two father and son pairings on the pitch with Jez and Max Ure providing the powerhouse in the second row and Chris and Alfie Kinsey doing their best to run around in the backs and generally annoy the opposition. Well done lads!
Both teams managed to get their starting XVs out onto the pitch at the appointed kick off time of 2.15pm but, unfortunately, due to some sort of administrative glitch, we appeared to be short of a referee! There then followed a frantic 30 minutes with this scribe phoning around and trying unsuccessfully to find someone with referring credentials who was not at the Christmas markets, was relatively sober and most importantly, available. Eventually after canvassing all the spectators (and players) at the 2s match and even searching the gents, Lymm stalwart Jon Long was found lurking in the changing rooms, putting his boots on in the hope of a run out for the 3s. After some discussions (mainly begging!), John, as a qualified referee, kindly agreed to officiate at the 3s game rather than play. Thanks for stepping up to the mark John.
All this running around, meant that the kick off was delayed by over 30 minutes and with the light fading early, both teams agreed to play a shortened game of a half hour each way. However, from the kick off it was clear that the delay and hanging around in the cold had not diminished either side’s determination to make a real game of it. Hard running and fierce tackling was the order of the day, with Craig (The Viking) Capewell and Captain Olly Brown making the best of the loose ball to make some amazing, crashing runs through the opposition defences to gain valuable yards.
Eventually the pressure on Burnage began to have some effect and after 15 minutes the ball was moved quickly back from a set piece to centre Richard McEvoy who stormed through the middle of the forwards and score close to the posts. The conversion was from the accurate boot of Rhys Jones, 7 – 0.
Lymm continued to press forward helped in no small measure by their well-disciplined and effective pack. With regular prop Dave Coon absent, strongmen Olly Brown and Aldin Zillic provided support to replacement hooker Jim France who certainly kept his end of things up (?). Unfortunately, Olly’s ball handling skills were severely tested when he decided to pick up the ball at the back of a ruck as scrum half in place of an out of position Kinsey. The result could be described as either a 5m fumble along the ground or a continuous knock on leading to a turnover ball for Burnage. Not a pretty sight! Fortunately, the situation was quickly resolved and on 20 minutes, speedy winger Reese Forrest, danced and spun his way across almost the full width of the pitch to score near the posts which Rhys Jones promptly converted, 14 – 0.
Lymm’s solid defence continued to hold firm but conceded a penalty on their 10m line in the last minute of the first half. In the windless conditions Burnage produced a first class kick to get them onto the scoreboard to close the half, 14 – 3.
HT: Eagles 14 – 3 Burnage 3rds
The second half opened much the same way as the first with both teams trying to stamp their authority on the game. Lymm were definitely in the ascendency and after only 3 minutes, fed by quick ball through the hands of Reddecliffe, Kinsey (A) and Beards, full back Rhys Jones skilfully swerved past a host of grasping Burnage arms and outpace his opposite number for a classic try, which he converted himself, 21 – 3. At this point it was decided to rotate some of the players with experienced players Tom Coon and Martin (Henders) Henderson returning to the field and some of the forward being rested. Josh McKeen provided a fast set of replacement legs on the wing and immediately had an impact on the game being brought down only inches (2.5cm for those under age 40) from the line in two good moves in quick succession. The continued pressure from the Lymm backs was eventually rewarded after 13 minutes play when full back Jones again carved a swathe through the opposition to score in the corner which unfortunately, he failed to convert, 26 – 3.
Despite Lymm being well ahead on points, Burnage were still fully engaged in the struggle for possession. In fact the decision to rest some of the bigger Lymm forwards definitely gave Burnage the upper hand in the scrums and rucks. This was sharply brought home less than 10 minutes later, when Lymm were marched back from 5m out by a well-controlled Burnage scrum to provide them with their first score in the second half. The conversion was successfully taken to take the score to, 26 – 10.
Both teams continued to struggle for domination in what had become a very closely matched tussle. Eventually, centre Simon Beards set off at pace to chase down a fly kicked ball which had bounced and jiggled across the Burnage line and ended up in a classic side by side footrace against his opposite number to get the touchdown. Both players dived at full stretch for the ball and Simon’s speed and determination was rewarded with the unconverted score. 31 – 10.
To their credit Burnage kept up the pressure and did not make things easy for Lymm. Unfortunately, due to a clash of heads in the loose, Burnage lost one of their strong front row players and with no adequate replacement, asked if Lymm could offer a suitable replacement to avoid having to go to uncontested scrums. Tom Coon sportingly offered and played out the remainder of the match in a Burnage shirt. Despite having only played for 60 minutes, it had all been at high pace and high energy and tiredness was now evident into both teams. However, not one to be denied of a golden opportunity when it presents itself, the ever effective and strong running flanker Kieran Williams managed to rip the ball from a loosely contested maul just inside the Lymm half and sprint virtually unchallenged the distance to the try line for a great individual score. As a gesture of appreciation for his sterling efforts and hard work in managing the Eagles team, Captain Ollie Brown was invited to take the final conversion and promptly made a complete arse of it, 36 -10. Never mind Ollie, better luck next time. On the walk back to the changing room, Kieran Williams approached this scribe to remind him that the pitch was in fact longer than it looked and his final run may well have been over 50m or possibly even getting towards 60m or………!
FULL TIME: Eagles 36 – 10 Burnage 3rds
Another excellent win for the Eagles against a strong and well drilled side form Burnage. Despite the problems associated with the lack of an official Referee, the delayed start and shortened match, thanks must go to the visitors for the quality of their rugby and their sporting behaviour. A very special thanks must go to John Long for stepping in to Referee the game at virtually no notice. Both teams were very appreciative of the way he managed the match, and this was clearly reflected in the quality of the play. Thanks also to William Coon (Lymm Under 6s) for his invaluable help in climbing over the fence to retrieve the ball after conversions, instead of using his grandad/linesman/scribe/me.
Plenty of candidates for man of the match this week, including Rhys Jones, Rick McEvoy and Olly Brown but with the absence of my co-author David whispering in my ear this week, my choice is Craig Capewell for his powerful forward drives, excellent support play and all round dogged determination.
Next week, Lymm Eagles are away against Winnington Park 2nds, KO 2.15pm.
Team: 1) Aldin Zillic 2) Jim France 3) Olly Brown 4) Jez Ure 5) Max Ure 6) Craig Capewell 7) Kieran Williams 8) Guy Larkin 9) Chris Kinsey (C) 10) Alan Reddecliffe 11) Alfie Kinsey 12) Simon Beards 13) Rick McEvoy 14) Reece Forrest 15) Rhys Jones. REP 16) Tom Coon 17) Thomas Graham 18) Josh McKeen 19) Angus Gratten, 20) Martin Henderson