1st Team Match Report | Saturday February 1 2020
1st Team Match Report | Saturday February 1 2020
Lymm do t’double at ‘Dale
Lymm travelled to Rossendale on Saturday expecting a leaden sky, a fierce wind and a pitch renowned for its slope. No disappointment here, as a gale lashed across the pitch at 45 degrees, suggesting that conditions would be challenging for both sides. Having said that the pitch was in good condition, even after have been used for a 2nd XV fixture beforehand, and both sides must be congratulated on playing entertaining, open rugby for the vast majority of the 80 minutes. Lymm had prevailed 22-12 in the reverse fixture at Crouchley Lane back in October, but matches against Rossendale, especially on their own patch, are always tough and a win at Marl Pits is always especially valued.
Lymm Honorary President, Neil Kelly and other Lymm Allis, were hosted to an excellent pre match lunch by Rossendale President Francis Jelley. Their club is actually younger than Lymm being formed in 1970, so all credit to their achieving Level 5 status in the RFU Leagues. Always a welcoming and friendly reception at Marl Pitts and we wish them well as they approach their 50th anniversary.
Lymm were forced to make a number of changes from their last match due to unavailability. Out of the 18 went props Gav Woods, Harry Ratcliffe and Nick Ashton (was there a prop forward ski trip?) being replaced by Matty Hand, new father Jordan Widdrington and Dan Horton. Elsewhere in the front 5, Matty Connelly replaced Joe Watson and, in the backs, the returning Scott Redfearn replaced Alfie Simpson. One key positional change saw the versatile Cormac Nolan moving from full-back to the left wing.
Lymm elected to play up the slope but with the diagonal wind at their backs. From the kick off, Lymm kicked for field position, but Rossendale showed their intent, running the ball back at Lymm and looking to bring their outside backs into the game at every opportunity. After about 3 minutes, in moving the ball to their left wing, Rossendale lost possession. The ball was pounced on by Steve Pilkington and the ball quickly recycled to scrum half Tom Shard who, expertly using the wind, put an excellent long kick in behind the Rossendale defenders. The ever alert Nathan Beesley, was in his starting blocks and hared after the ball. All that was needed was that sympathetic bounce of the ball straight into his arms and the speedster was in for a try, 10m in from the right hand touchline. Nolan was unable to convert, but what a start! 0-5.
10 minutes in though and Rossendale were on the scoreboard too. The ball was moved through hands to the right wing, who tried a chip over the advancing Lymm full back, Redfearn. Although the tall Redfearn was able to partially block the kick, it only served to deflect it back into winger Damon Hall’s hands allowing him to cross in the corner, despite Beesley’s valiant attempt to force him into touch. The difficult conversion was missed. 5-5.
However, parity was short lived. As mentioned, despite the conditions both teams were trying to play an expansive game which, at times, could be high risk. So it proved for Rossendale when, shortly after the restart, having secured scrum ball, a speculative pass by one of the Rossendale centres was intercepted by Nolan who raced 50m to score just to the left the posts, then adding the extras. 5-12.5 minutes later and there was a definite feeling of déjà vu, as a similar move across the Rossendale three-quarters landed in the grateful arms of Pilkington, the centre scoring in between the posts from 40m. Nolan again made the conversion. 5-19.
In this frantic half, nothing was going to stay the same for long and after about 25 minutes, Rossendale scored their second try. Although, Rosendale had been attacking the Lymm line through several phases, the Lymm defence looked solid until an uncharacteristic hole appeared in the defensive line, allowing centre Tom Bedlow to stroll in virtually unopposed. From behind the posts there looked to be more than a suspicion of obstruction in the lead up, but the referee had ruled a fair try and this was duly converted by No 10, Lewis Allen. 12-19.
Immediately though, back came Lymm to re-establish their 14 point cushion. Shard’s excellent restart found touch in the Rossendale 22. Lymm then stole the line-out ball and went through a few phases before moving the ball towards the posts. In this move, a deliberate knock-on by Rossendale, resulted in the first Lymm penalty of the match. Having opted for the scrum, Lymm secured the ball allowing Oli Higginson to pick up, dummy to his right and two giant strides later cross the whitewash for Lymm’s 4th, and bonus point, try. Nolan converted. 12-26.
There was still more to come in the half though. Now it was Rossendale with an attacking line-out in the Lymm 22. Lymm stole the ball and went through a few phases with the forwards before the ball was passed back to Redfearn to put in a relieving kick. Unfortunately, he didn’t have the trajectory to avoid an onrushing Rossendale wing forward, Ben O’Ryan, (on loan from Fylde), whose charge down fell nicely over the line for him to touch down, leaving an easy conversion for Allen. 19-26.
So, 33 minutes played and 7 tries scored. Breathless stuff, but that was to be the end of the excitement for the half.
Half Time: ROSSENDALE 19 – 26 LYMM.
The second half was, in fact, a complete contrast to the first. Both teams settled down playing more structured rugby and going through the phases with greater patience with both defences upping the ante. In fact, other than a brief spell when Lymm closed in on the Rossendale line, only for a knock-on to stop the move dead in its tracks, the whole half was pretty much played out between the 22s. There was parity in most areas, even a yellow card was issued to each team in quick succession. It was after 65 minutes, from the penalty following the Rossendale yellow card, that Lymm added the only points of the half. From about 40m out, directly in front of the posts and into the strong diagonal wind, that Nolan, like an experienced golfer, aimed his kick well to the right of the posts, gave it the biggest whack he could and we all watched in admiration as it curled back towards the uprights with just enough “oomph” to creep over the cross bar. 19-29.
And that was the end of the scoring, with Lymm registering their second 10 point victory over Rossendale of the season The game did get a bit scrappy in the latter stages but all-in-all both teams had put on a great show for the hardy spectators.
Full Time: ROSSENDALE 19 – 29 LYMM
After the match Coach Fletcher summed up the performance:
“It’s always great to get a win at Rossendale. It’s a notoriously hard place to play especially in winter. To be fair the pitch was in really good condition and allowed for both teams to play rugby. The wind on the other hand was pretty brutal.
I thought our defence was tenacious and forced them into a number of mistakes, a number of which we managed to capitalise on. Turning round at half time against the wind and with only a 7 point advantage was always going to be tough. However, the boys managed the half brilliantly to keep Rossendale scoreless.
I’m happy with the 5 points, but we have a big test next away against Sandal, so we will need to keep working at training this week”
1) Matty Hand, 2) Adam Bray (c), 3) Jordan Widdrington, 4) James Yates, 5) Aaron Rasheed, 6), Campbell Thomson, 7), James Lewis, 8) Oli Higginson, 9) Tom Shard, 10) Tom Bray, 11) Cormac Nolan, 12) James Kimber, 13) Steve Pilkington, 14) Nathan Beesley, 15) Scott Redfearn, 16) Dan Horton, 17) Matty Connelly, 18) Josh Hadland.
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