Manchester 7 – 36 Lymm

1st Team Match Report | Saturday March 4 2023


Lymm remain in contention for promotion

As league leaders and 5 points ahead of Blackburn who have a game in hand, Lymm’s mission, to maintain promotion aspirations, was to beat Manchester for a minimum of four points, plus four tries and therefore a bonus point – five in total.

Blackburn had an outrageous 190 – 0 win the previous week against Kirkby Lonsdale so the points difference at the top between the leaders was reduced to just 33 in Lymm’s favour.

So, on their first visit to Grove Park for many seasons and following an enjoyable pre match lunch hosted by Club President, Suzanne Morton, Lymm had all to play for against a resurgent Manchester team, who lie a respectable 6th in the table, having beaten them 43 – 10 earlier in the season at Lymm.

The early exchanges were robust as each side defended well. Lymm’s scrum half Cal Morris then put a neat kick from his own half into the hosts’ 22 therefore winning the 50/22 line-out throw opportunity. However, all through the afternoon, the line-outs were something of a lottery as both sides threw in crooked or infringed repeatedly, constantly removing any rolling maul threat this often presents.

A rare successful lineout

Manchester, who had no inhibitions in throwing the ball wide, broke out of their own 22 and threatened the Lymm line, but a scrambling defence thwarted this chance.

Cal Morris, who looked lively all afternoon, then made a searing break but the last, try-scoring pass, in Manchester’s 22, was deemed forward – not for the last time as it turned out.

Lymm were then awarded a kickable penalty in front of the posts but tries were definitely on the menu so the ensuing attacking line-out was worked to James Rooney on the left wing who got close to the try line but the ball was lost in the tackle. The second attacking line-out was again deemed not straight and another opportunity not taken.

The frustration both among the visitors’ players and support was palpable but Lymm stayed calm, believing things would change, and so they did. Lymm was forcing play and not being patient, resulting in errors. The pressure of being the hunted, rather than the hunter at the top of the table, seemingly, was having an effect on the players.

Sam Dickenson on the attack for Lymm

However, now it was Lymm’s turn for some long distance break-outs. An attacking line-out by Manchester was lost and the ball moved quickly to Lymm’s centre pairing Scott Redfern and James Kimber, who, up to this point had been stern in defence. The ball was moved to pacey full back Cormac Nolan and then Rooney on the left wing who went deep into Manchester’s half. Exciting stuff but the subsequent rolling maul was well defended by the hosts so no cigar. An attacking line-out gave centre Redfern a chance to open his legs and show his class as he drove into the heart of the 22. The ball was recycled and hooker Rob Makin made good ground keeping the ball alive, while replacement prop Ben Thompson thundered over near the sticks. 0 – 7 with Nolan’s conversion, after 33 mins and sighs of relief all round from the Lymm contingent.

Ben Thompson scores Lymm’s 1st try

Lymm then made the conscious effort of getting speedster wing Nathan Beesley on the ball and quickly moved it wide with attacking intent. He was half tackled but penalised for getting up when he should have released the ball first. However, the next time he received the ball he would make no mistake. Fast hands to the right wing delivered the ball perfectly for Beesley to, first of all, beat his opposite number on the outside with a shimmy and sheer pace, then cut inside the covering tackler to score under the posts. 0 – 14 on the stroke of half time with Nolan’s conversion and 50% of the objective achieved.

Nathan Beesley, scorer of Lymm’s 2nd Try

Half Time: Manchester 0 – 14 Lymm

The line-outs remained an issue but this observer will not labour the point. Early on in the second half Lymm were on the attack and a quick tap penalty was taken by scrum half Morris resulting in the ball being moved wide quickly resulting in Nolan being held 5m from the line. Another quick penalty in the red zone was taken but a forward pass stopped Nolan again. Pressure was building and as the ball was moved wide once more back row Rhys Lilley, who had been prominent all afternoon, made good ground, along with prop Thompson who was again in the fray. The ball was then moved to the left corner and fly half Tom Shard picked up the ball and sprinted like a gazelle to score wide out on the left. 0 – 19 after 52 mins with Nolan hitting the post and missing the conversion.

Tom Shard racing in for Lymm’s 3rd try

A defensive stint by Lymm then followed as Manchester repeatedly ran the ball wide in an effort to get on the scoreboard. Lymm were still not firing on all cylinders, with Manchester defending well, and struggling to put the score beyond doubt. Two high tackles on Beesley followed, showing how much the opposition were wary of his ability and the ref was conservative in his judgement, issuing only warnings. Seeking the fourth, bonus point try, an attacking line-out 5m out presented the perfect opportunity for a training ground move. The ball, thrown in by hooker Makin was caught by Dickenson at the front and fed down to replacement scrum half Ben Simpson, who passed the ball back to Makin on the short side to score. 0 – 24 after 67 mins, with the conversion missed.

Rob Makin scores Lymm’s 4th & Bonus Point Try

Manchester’s persistence paid off with a well worked converted try by back row Greene, on 70 mins taking the score to 7 – 24.

Thompson then crossed for his second try of the match on 73 mins as Lymm tried and succeeded in building a good score – 7 – 31 with Nolan’s conversion.

Man of the Match, Ben Thompson scoring his 2nd try

But Lymm were not finished yet as Kimber made another telling break, and a full ten phases followed, eventually for scrum half Simpson to scuttle over for the final and sixth try for Lymm taking the score to a healthy 7 – 36 as the whistle blew.

Captain James Yates congratulates Ben Simpson on scoring Lymm’s 6th try

Full Time: Manchester 7 – 36 Lymm

Manchester knew that to stop Lymm attacking, they had to play 80 minutes and defend well. This was achieved for most of the game and it made Lymm work harder to break them down. The final league game of the season is against Northwich at Crouchley Lane, KO 3pm, and Lymm must win this game with a bonus point to stay in the promotion hunt.

Director of Rugby Adam Fletcher commented:

“I thought we were trying too hard in the 1st half and probably forced things a little too much. However, Nathan’s try on the stroke of half-time settled us down. The 2nd half I thought we played really well. We controlled territory, executed starter plays and scored some great tries.

“After two away games, we are looking forward to returning home next week. The boys are desperate to put in a huge performance to finish the league campaign off in style.

“I would like to thank the travelling support; it’s been great to see so many familiar faces over the last couple of weeks. It means a lot to the boys.”

Team: 1. Gavin Woods (104) 2. Rob Makin* (46) 3. Matty Hand* (82) 4. James Yates* {Capt} (96) 5. Sam Dickenson* (15) 6. Joe Watson (101) 7. Harry Saxton-Martin (29) 8. Rhys Lilly* (28) 9. Cal Morris (12) 10. Tom Shard* (107) 11. James Rooney* (8) 12. Scott Redfern (107) 13. James Kimber* (85) 14. Nathan Beesley* (49) 15. Cormac Nolan* (209) 16. Samir Tahroui (8) 17. Ben Thompson (8) 18. Ben Simpson* (16)

( ) = number of Lymm First XV League appearances.

* Former Lymm Colt’s Academy/M&J player. 11 in the 18 man squad.

A big thank you to our Referee, Mr Jack Moorhouse.

Next week, Lymm are at home to Northwich FC, KO 3.00pm.

Match Report: Simon Plumb

Photographs: Stuart Watson & Tim Martin






The form was submitted successfully.

You will now be redirected to our payment page.