Macclesfield 21 – 26 Lymm

1st Team Match Report | Saturday March 5 2022

Double Delight in Bonus Point Win

Next week Saturday 12th March, Lymm are at home to Sandal KO 3pm. Matches are often characterised by the “game of two halves” cliché, but this contest was to some extent a game of two players. From the kick off Lymm’s scrum half Callum Morris was hugely influential until a shoulder injury forced him from the pitch. Towards the end of the game the introduction of Macclesfield substitute winger Lloyd Smith-Coates and a somewhat complacent attitude by Lymm, drastically changed the momentum.

There was one change to the Lymm squad in the programme, Nick Ashton was replaced by Matty Hand at tight head prop and Kieron O’Callaghan came onto the bench as replacement prop. Macc kicked off with a stiff wind behind them. Callum guided Lymm downfield with crisp passing and intelligent kicking and gave the visitors an early foothold inside Macc’s half. John Leota took full advantage of this position, smashing through the middle of the defence and offloading to fly half Tom Shard. Shard found Cormac Nolan in the right corner who finished well. Nolan converted his own try, 0 – 7.

It would be 12 minutes before Macc could advance into the Lymm half such was the intensity and discipline of the defence. However this came at the cost of back rower Harry Martin, who left with a serious finger injury, he was replaced by Rob Makin. Macc’s first meaningful foray resulted in a penalty for a high tackle 35 yards out. This was easily dispatched by Macc, 3 – 7.

From the restart Morris and Leota looked very dangerous and nearly created a scoring opportunity, a knock on scuppering this one. Leota’s defensive prowess was also on display, but he was not alone in putting in the brutal tackles that regularly undid Macc’s possession. A break by Morris inside the Macc half was hauled down on the 22m line. Morris though was slow to rise from the heap of bodies, and despite trying to play on he had to leave the game with the shoulder injury he sustained earlier. Lymm had the talented Gregor Watson on hand to replace him, but had now used two of their three subs with two thirds of the game still to play!

Macc were awarded another 35m penalty soon after for Lymm not rolling away in the tackle. This was converted into 3 more points, 6 – 7. Lymm responded with a fine piece of team rugby. Number 8 Ollie Higginson created space to make an incisive run into the home side red zone. He was supported by replacement flanker, Rob Makin who then fed centre Leota. Leota switched the direction of attack and the ball was spun across field to Steve Pilkington to finish the attack with the try. Nolan converting, 6 – 14.

In the build up to the try the Macc hooker and skipper, Sam Moss, sustained an injury that resulted in his being carried off by stretcher. The 3rd serious injury of the half. Macc then added points from yet another penalty, this time for side entry at the breakdown.

HT 9 – 14

Macc started the second half strongly and made good yards from their possession, in contrast with the first half where their plentiful phases had failed to advance them. Yet another 35m penalty was their reward but this one was missed. Both teams were turning over possession on the half way line until Lymm stole a line out and worked the ball to winger Nathan Beesley. His searing pace took him to within feet of the tryline, but Shards pass, trying to find the space on the left, was intercepted and Macc eventually found themselves with a scrum in Lymm’s 22m. They very nearly added a try to their tally off the back of this but were undone by a knock on.

Lymm then showed the versatility of their offence when Tom Shard received the ball deep in his own right hand corner. Rather than clearance kick for touch he chose a perfect kick pass to the left wing, where Joe Senior was on hand to take the ball inside half way. Having caught it cleanly he then juggled it but regained possession to race away from the Macc cover and score. The conversion was missed, 9 – 19.

Lymm’s bonus point try was created soon after. Lymm were defending 10 metre from their own line when they picked up a loose ball from a Macc attack. Nolan found a gap, broke tackles and raced into the opposition half. His well timed pass to Beesley allowed him to run 30 yards for a well deserved try under the posts, which was easily converted by Nolan, 9 – 26.

Around this time the home side brought substitute Smith-Coates on at left wing. His impact was immediate and his break in field created gaps in the heretofore cohesive Lymm defence for his team mates to exploit. This resulted in a well worked try and conversion, 16 – 26.

The remainder of the game was nervy. Lymm repeatedly failed to find touch on their clearances and Macc’s back line we’re enjoying running the ball back. The defensive discipline was also waning and old habits at the breakdown saw the penalty count against Lymm continue to rise. Finally the referee decided he had had enough and Adam Bray was yellow carded with less than 8 minutes to play.

From the penalty Lymm infringed again, and Macc were gifted field position. Smith-Coates was again to take advantage. His run through a number of Lymm tackles on the left saw him score and take the score to a previously unlikely looking 21 – 26. The conversion was missed and finally the referee brought proceedings to a close.

FINAL SCORE 21 – 26.

Both sides had served up a very enjoyable afternoon of rugby, and Lymm were now firmly ensconced in the top 6 of the league. The players deserving mention were numerous, and while those who get to play in space shone, the work of the pack at both scrum and in the loose must be mentioned, with Gav Woods hugely influential.

Key talking points;

Did the pre match observation by the charming match announcer that he hoped “there will be no injuries” jinx the game?

What exactly should one pay to watch local rugby at level 5?

Can we steal the chef who made the lovely lamb and leek pies?

Is there a way of dispensing coffee at half time that means Tony Helford won’t have to queue for 15 mins and miss a chunk of the second half?

Meanwhile at Beechwood, Lymm 2nd XV were completing the double over Macclesfield 2nd XV. See separate report.

Lymm DoR Adam Fletcher commented.

‘Great day as we did the double-double over Macc and secured a maximum 20 points from our 4 senior matches this season.

‘There was a lot of chat from Macc about a revenge match due to the way they were beaten at Lymm. We used that to our advantage and I believe we showed that the win a few months ago was no fluke.

‘For 60 minutes we were excellent and stuck to our game plan. At 26-9 we got a little bit carried away and went away from what got us in to that position. We did the same against Alnwick. We need to be better at managing a lead.

‘Also credit needs to go to the work Curtis Langdon has done with the set piece. The scrum was outstanding. Overall I’m absolutely buzzing with the win.

‘I hope the Macc skipper’s injury isn’t too serious and he makes a speedy recovery. Update on our injuries – Harry Martin – stitches in badly cut finger but no ligament damage. Cal Morris – referred for a scan on his shoulder’

Next Saturday, Lymm are at home to Sandal, KO 3pm.

Squad: 1) Gav Woods (C), 2) Adam Bray, 3) Matty Hand, 4) Aaron Rasheed, 5) James Yates, 6) Ed Morris, 7) Harry Martin, 8) Olly Higginson, 9) Callum Morris, 10) Tom Shard, 11) Joe Senior, 12) Johnny Leota, 13) Steve Pilkington, 14) Nathan Beesley, 15) Cormac Nolan, 16) Kieron O’Callaghan, 17 Rob Makin, 18, Gregor Watson.

Match Report: David Fernyhough



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