Macclesfield 3rds 12 – 62 Lymm Eagles
Eagles Team Match Report | Saturday January 13 2024
Eagles Soar to Victory the Battle of the Threes
On a surprisingly warm, bright January Saturday, Lymm Eagles secured a comfortable win away at Macclesfield 3s, completing a league double in the process. This was a match where Lymm combined their powerful forwards and graceful backs for a great team performance.
As with last week’s result against Village Spartans, today’s scoreline suggests a one sided performance but Lymm were made to work had by a resilient and hardworking Macclesfield team.
The Eagles arrived for this fixture full of confidence off the back of four straight wins and last week’s large victory against Village Spartans. They were however well aware of the difficulties of facing a Macclesfield side at Priory Park. Over the years of watching Lymm, this scribe has never visited Macc and come away with an “easy” victory. This fixture once again brought together the only two 3rd teams in the league. With Lymm having claimed the victory in the first fixture back in November.
Macc were keen to avenge this earlier defeat and share the bragging rights. There were several changes to the Lymm side from last week. Father and son duo Jez and Max Ure returned to the team, whilst Ben Lloyd returned to replace the absent Jack Harper. In the backs, scrum half Chris Kinsey returned to the side having missed several weeks with injury.
There was also a first appearance of the season in the centres for young Tom Graham, who was recruited late on Saturday morning by fly-half Alan Reddecliff following a couple of late cry-offs. Alan has been trying to convince Tom to play alongside him for a while and it was great to finally see them both in the green and black.
Tom was very complimentary about Alan, describing him as his rugby mentor and a sort of rugby father figure. Lymm’s mercurial top try scorer Rick McEvoy was unavailable as he had a play-date in a soft play centre (I thought these places had upper age limits?).
There was concern in the morning of the match when news reached Lymm that the assigned referee had to cry off. However, a substitute referee was sourced and Lymm travelled through the Cheshire countryside to Macclesfield. Upon arriving at 13:30, a good 45 minutes before kick-off, Lymm could already see Macc going through a vigorous on-pitch warm up.
In this scribe’s experience, for the Eagles, the actual walk to the pitch normally suffices as a warm up, and with several players not arriving until 2pm, probably due to their unfamiliarity with long distance travel to faraway places, there was a little apprehension about the Eagles readiness for the game.
However, these doubts were dispelled within the first 10minutes of the game as Lymm showed great control and ball retention and secured the ball for large periods of play. Good ground was made by Kieran Williams and Tom Graham to move Lymm up the field. Macc though were doing a good job of soaking up the Lymm attack, not overcommitting at the ruck and turning the ball over at select opportunities.
The Ref was hot on the high tackle and Lymm were penalised several times for over exuberant contact. Lymm felt they should have had one of their own penalties when full back Reece Forrest had to leave the field to have a bloodied nose dealt with, but nothing was given. Lymm turned up the pressure and on 9 minutes, a clever reverse of play by scrum half Chris Kinsey found second row Ben Lloyd who stormed over from 10m out for the first try, converted by Alan Reddecliff (0-7).
Lymm didn’t have to wait long for the next try and after good work by Ollie Brown and Max Ure got Lymm up to Macc 5m line, the ball got into the hands of 2 nd row George (Ringo) Harrison, who steamed over for his first ever Lymm try on 14 minutes, converted by Reddecliff (0-14).
In what was fast becoming, the battle of the second rows with Lymm again used their battering ram forwards to lay on a platform for Ben Lloyd to score his second try only 4 minutes later, again converted by Reddecliff (0-21). 20 minutes in and Lymm were flying. However, Macc stormed back and for the next 10 minutes, several attacks had Lymm just about hanging by fingertip tackles.
One Macc attack went from one end of the pitch to the other, only to be repelled a metre out from the line by great tackling from Forrest and a great turnover by Williams. Macc were also gaining parity in the scrum and the game was a lot more even. However, after 28 minutes, a great piece of turnover work by flanker Jim France, doing his ever popular impression of a burrowing badger, snaffled the ball to Reddecliff, who first freed first Simon Beards to start his run and then into the safe hands of winger Liam “Sully” Sullivan, who sprinted down the wing and avoided all tackles for a great try, converted by Reddecliff (0-28).
However, it seemed that Lymm were suffering from a bout of unnecessary overconfidence. Straight from the restart, the ball was allowed to bounce not once, but twice, which allowed a speeding Macc player to regather and stroll in untouched for an unconverted try (5-28).
This was a good stimulus for Macc and a slap in the face for Lymm, who had so far had almost everything their own way. Macc played the rest of the half on the front foot, whilst Lymm walked a discipline tightrope with too much backchat being rewarded with a referee’s warning and being marched back many metres. On the stroke of half time, Macc took a quick tap penalty but immediately fumbled the ball and lightning winger Sully pounced to go the length of the field for a try, converted by Simon Beards (5-35).
Half Time: Macclesfield 5 – 35 Lymm Eagles
Whilst the scoreline was comfortable, the prevailing message from Captain Brown, was not to allow complacency to drift into the game. Memories of last season’s fixture, where Lymm almost threw away a 24 point lead, still lingered. Despite the complementary scoreline, both vocally and physically, Macc were also looking the more confident team and it was generally felt that the first score of the second half would be a crucial one. Lymm mixed things up, bringing on the highly experienced (Old) Jez Ure and Darren Barber in the forwards to add more power and dynamism.
The first 5 minutes were very attritional, but Lymm slowly managed to make their way up field, led by some powerful running by Max Ure and Craig Capewell. Max in particular was leading from the front and one of his runs got Lymm into the Macc 22 on 46 minutes. Fast hands fed the ball through pretty much every position in the backs who eventually got the ball across the pitch to full back Reece Forrest for a well-deserved but unconverted try (5-40). The Macc players were starting to get more frustrated, especially that Lymm were able to capitalise so much on their errors.
On 55 minutes, another knock on from Macc found its way into the hands of winger Sully, who sprinted clear almost three quarters of the pitch for another try, converting it himself (5-47). Only 3 minutes later a superb crunching tackle from Max Ure and Olly Brown dislodged the ball and a quick flick from the floor into the hands of a flying Sully who in a carbon copy, sprinted down the wing over half the pitch for another self-converted try (5-54).
For all the points conceded, Macc never gave up and controlled the game for the next 15 minutes. Their forwards really started to make inroads and took the game to Lymm. We even witnessed a very rare scrum going against the head as Macc managed to catch Lymm unaware. Olly and Dave Coon emerged from the front row very red faced, although that could having been down to their draining fitness levels!!
This hard work was finally rewarded as the Macc forwards drove over for a converted try on 69 minutes (12-54). Macc continued to press the attack and had Lymm clinging on at times. However, on 72minutes, a momentous flying tackle from Josh McKean dislodged the ball and a looping pass from Reddecliff found Sully on the wing to once again show his speed to outstrip everyone for another length of the field try, unconverted (12-59).
At this point, several older Macc backs subbed themselves off at this point, maybe in fear that Sully would run around them again and the Macc forwards were heard discussing that they could not hope to compete against someone with his speed. Nevertheless, there was time for another try 2minutes later.
On 74mins, after several phases of play, a lovely subtle pass from fly-half Alan Reddecliff found a charging tom Graham, who’s acceleration left several defenders sprawled on the floor as he burst through and sprinted for the line from over 50metres out to score a try, converted by Simon Beards (12-66). Good work Tom.
A nod and a quick handshake between Captains and referee brought the game to a close a few minutes early.
Full Time: Macclesfield 12 – 66 Lymm Eagles (Official Score from Ref: 12 – 62)
A great performance from Lymm, who showed real teamwork and togetherness and probably had their most cohesive performance of the season. The forwards laid a good platform for the backs to work their moves from. A few players also had to play in unfamiliar positions and they should be commended for their efforts.
Lymm also played the conditions well on a soft and spongy pitch, the complete opposite of the previous week’s home match on the AGP. Macc should be highly commended for providing a real contest and were only undone by some unlucky mistakes and the speed of the Lymm backs. On another day, this result would have been a lot closer, but Lymm will be glad of this victory.
Good luck for the rest of the season. Lymm increase their winning streak to five games and maintain third place in the league, but only 3pts off top spot with a game in hand.
Once again, the debate for man of the match in the club house afterwards was lengthy and fierce, with a lot of self -promotion going on. Special mentions this week go to Max Ure, whose runs and powerful drives got Lymm on the front foot, as well as some great work in the loose. Reece Forrest played one of his first games at full back and was excellent in both attack and defence, fielding several high balls with ease and chiming into the attack at will and scoring a great try.
However, when you have scored 5 tries and 3 conversions, and made everyone else on the pitch look like they were running backwards, it would be difficult to not award man of the match to winger Sully. This scribe feels that Sully could have got more tries, but definitely thought he heard fly half Reddecliff in the bar afterwards mumbling “He’s not having my record of 6 tries, I stopped passing to him once he got to 5!!” Olly Brown was once again this scribe’s man of the match, but there again, whoever takes any notice of me?
Lymm are back on the road next week but only to make the short trip to Altrincham Kersal 2XV in a re-arranged fixture, 14:15 KO, all most welcome.
Team: 1) Olly Brown (C) 2) Craig Capewell 3) David Coon 4) Ben Lloyd 5) George Harrison 6) Jim France 7) Kieran Williams 8) Max Ure 9) Chris Kinsey 10) Alan Reddecliff 11) Liam Sullivan 12) Tom Graham 13) Simon Beards 14) Josh McKean 15) Reece Forrest REP 16) Jez Ure 17) Darren Barber.
Match Report: Peter & David Coon
Photographs: Peter Coon