Lymm Eagles 76 – 5 Wirral 3rds
Eagles Team Match Report | Saturday January 14 2023
Lymm Eagles Soar in Arctic Conditions
Following a competent but lacklustre performance against Hope Valley last week, Lymm Eagles were keen to continue their winning form this week against the visitors from Wirral RFC. A home game always provides a bigger pool of players (talent?) to select from and this was no exception. This gave Captain Ollie Brown the luxury of a full squad of players and replacements. As well as the usual stable of experienced, thoroughbred athletes, chomping at the bit and pawing the soft ground in anticipation of the battle to come, the squad was bolstered by a combination of semi-retired, older warhorses, who should know better than to turn out in weather like this and some extremely youthful teenagers, including Alfie Kinsey (much better behaved than his dad Chris) and, having his first run out in a senior game this year and Harry Reay, son of veteran Eagle player Alex. If Alex’s younger son George, who graciously offered to run the muddy line as touch judge and this scribes son, prop David Coon, are included, then the family connections in the Eagles starts to look a bit nepotistic (or should that be incestuous). It was a shame Jez Ure was unavailable to partner his son Max in the scrum as he had done last week. Lymm Rugby, fun for all the family!
Fortunately the torrential rain of the morning had subsided by kick off time, but the strong, biting wind produced an almost arctic chill factor, with some players complaining that, like Prince Harry, they too were suffering from frost bitten willies. No remedial help was offered. Right from the kick off, Lymm showed that they meant business and immediately put the visitors under full pressure. The Lymm pack quickly secured the ball in the loose and scrum half Chris Kinsey popped the ball up to centre Simon Beards who scampered over the line near the corner to score after only 2 minutes. Despite the strong wind, full back Rhys Jones made the long range conversion look easy to open the score (7-0). Less than 5 minutes later, 2nd row Max Ure took full advantage of a loose ball at the back of a ruck on the visitors 22m line, to pick up and storm over for a classic forward’s try. The accurate boot of Jones added the extra points (14-0).
Although Wirral had started the game with a working front row and contested scrums, after only 12 minutes playing time, Wirral spoke to the referee who then adjudged that play should continue with uncontested scrums. The reasons for this decision were unclear but once again, for probably the 8th game in a row, Lymm Eagles were denied to opportunity of using their well drilled forwards in the set piece scrums. Undeterred, Lymm continued to secure good ball in the forwards and with ever increasing confidence pass the ball safely and accurately along the line with fly half Reddecliff enabling centres Beards and McEvoy to pick strong running lines through the Wirral defence. Speedy winger Reece Forrest provided close support to a McEvoy break 30m out, taking the short pass and allowing him to sprint to the corner for a well worked try. The conversion by Jones brought the score to (21-0) in under 20 minutes. A similar move only 5 minutes later provided centre McEvoy with his own try scoring opportunity following a jinking cross field run and strongly handing off a last ditch attempt to tackle him for a good individual, but unconverted try (26-0).
Spirits were now justifiably high in the Lymm camp and it seemed that confidence was growing when good player to player communications allowed some of their more ambitious set moves, clever passing procedures and speculative cross field kicks to come off. However, despite now trailing by 5 tries, Wirral showed no sign of reducing their efforts to get back in the game and the Lymm defence had to work hard to haul down their strong running backs, often only a couple of metres away from the try line.
In his first senior game, young rising rugby star Harry Reay had already made several strong running attacks on the Wirral line from his position on the wing. His efforts were finally rewarded on the stroke of 30 minutes when he deftly sidestepped his opposite number for classic winger’s try in the corner. The swirling wind stymied Jones’ conversion attempt (31-0). With half time rapidly approaching, Lymm marshalled their resources for one final assault on the Wirral line. Captain Brown managed to dig the ball out from the base of a scrappy ruck on the Lymm 10m line, found someone to point him in the right direction and set out on a bull dozing run through the massed Wirral hordes, ably supported by his screaming pack of forwards. Despite several vain attempts by Wirral to stop his progress and any number of slips, trips and stumbles along the way, Ollie managed to keep possession of the ball and maintain his forward momentum sufficiently to arrive safely at the Wirral line and deposit the ball in an approved manner (i.e., fall over in a heap). A great Captain’s try which was deservedly converted by Jones on the stroke of the half time whistle (?) (38-0).
HALF TIME LYMM EAGLES 3XV 38 – 0 WIRRALL 3XV
Half time allowed a good opportunity to ring the changes in the team and make further rotations with the replacements. Alex Reay joined the scrum with son Harry on the wing and Alfie Kinsey moved to the wing with his dad at scrum half. Paul Jones moved into the backs where his speed and brave tackling could be used to great effect. The second half started almost as a repeat of the first. The forwards continued their sterling work with the back row of Kieran Williams, Matt Grellier and Jim France providing a very effective and mobile human shield to protect the ball won in both the loose and set pieces with some exceptional examples of ball stealing and powerful carries. Although not required to produce their trademark, “engine room” drive in the scrum, second rows, Mike Clarke and Max Ure held everything together and did all the heavy lifting in the lineouts.
Within a only few minutes of the restart, the ball again quickly found its way out to McEvoy in the centre and with his long, loping running style managed to outpace the Wirral winger and fullback to run in a fairly easy try under the posts which made the conversion by Jones that bit easier (45-0). Just to show that they were still in the game and not fazed by the score line, Wirral’s backs surprised the more relaxed Lymm forwards and by sprinting at them at top speed to secure the ball and proceed unchallenged to the try line and open their account (45-5). Obviously badly stung by this score due to lack of attention, Lymm immediately countered with an almost duplicate attack on the Wirral forwards from the restart. Once again the ball found its way out to McEvoy who sprinted round the last defender to go over in the corner for his hat trick of tries (unconverted) (50-5).
Lymm seemed to be able to do little wrong, with all passes finding their targets and most kicks finding good touch. About 10 minutes into the half, winger Harry Reay fielded a rolling ball kicked by Wirral well into the Lymm half and with dancing feet managed to dodge several attempts to tackle him by twisting and turning this way and that in a great acrobatic display. Finding no way forward he released the ball to scrum half Kinsey who sidestepped a couple of tackles and then passed the ball to the backs line, who then produced an absolutely textbook display of handling finally allowing winger Forrest to score in the corner for his second of the day. Great stuff. (57-5).
Wirral continued, to provide a spirited opposition but by now the writing was on the wall. Lymm continued to approach the game in a disciplined and structured manner moving the ball out wide as much as possible to the fast boys. On 23 minutes, it was great to see scrum half Kinsey (Snr) break through the defence line and sprint 20 metres to finally offload in the tackle to his son Kinsey (Jnr) who went over in the corner to score a great try, not converted. (62-5).
Another score followed minutes later when centre Beards sold an absolutely outrageous hip swinging dummy (think Kim Kardashian on a skateboard) to the opposition and manged to send everyone wrong footed allowing him to run in under the posts. Unfortunately, his devastating dummy also prevented Lymm stalwart Martin “Henders” Henderson, who was on Simon’s outside shoulder, with a clear view of the line and screaming for the ball, the opportunity of a score. I believe that Martin congratulated Simon on his score with a sincere “Well Done” or other similar but unprintable phrase. The conversion brought the score to (69-5).
Within another couple of minutes, winger Harry Reay managed to give us another glimpse of his undoubted future potential by taking a lovely clean outside pass on his own 10 metre line and sprinting a full 60m to the try line leaving everyone, including his own team trailing in his wake. The simple touchdown brought his tally to two tries and the conversion put the score at (76-5). Not bad for his first game at senior level!
One final score remained in the closing minutes of the match, when the Eagles regular stand-off, Alan Reddecliff, took advantage of a gaping hole in the Wirral defence and with support, crashed over for a good individual effort. The successful conversion by McEvoy brought the game to a close at (83-5).
FULL TIME LYMM EAGLES 3XV 83* – 5 WIRRALL 3XV (Official RFU Score 76-5)
Readers may note that the final score, as recorded by yours truly, differs for some unknown reason from the Official RFU reported score by 7 points and the one posted on the Lymm Facebook page by 4 points. The source of the discrepancy is not known as I didn’t have the opportunity to discuss it with the Ref after the game. Please let me know if you can spot the mistake. However, the Official RFU score is the one that will count for the league.
In any event although such a high score would suggest that the game was very one sided, due credit must go to Wirral for providing a strong opposition and a competitive game. We wish them well for the rest of the season. The result adds another win to the Eagles tally of 11 in a row which all members of the squad can be justifiably proud. Despite, very cold and gusty conditions, the Eagles managed to produce an exceptionally skilful and entertaining performance. The referee certainly knew his stuff and allowed the game to flow freely and only used his whistle when absolutely necessary. No disciplinary cards were issued or threatened, unlike the 2 yellows on each side the previous week.
Very difficult to decide on a man of the match this week as everyone seemed to have a good game and contribute to the best of their ability. Special mention must go to Jim France who put in a really solid performance all-round the pitch, but perhaps the accolade this week should go to Captain Ollie Brown, the man who does all the work behind the scenes and puts in such a lot of effort to ensure that everyone gets a chance to play. Oh yes and he does score now and again!
Team: 1) Ollie Brown (C) 2) Craig Capewell 3) David Coon 4) Max Ure 5) Mike Clarke 6) Kieran Williams 7) Jim France 8) Matt Grellier 9) Chris Kinsey 10) Alan Reddecliff 11) Harry Reay 12) Simon Beards 13) Rick McEvoy 14) Reece Forrest 15) Rhys Jones 16) Alex Reay 17) Josh McKeen 18) Alfie Kinsey 19) Martin Henderson 20) Paul Jones
Next week, Lymm Eagles travel to play Liverpool University Veterinarians KO 2.00pm.
Match Report: Peter and David Coons