Stockport 24 – 26 Lymm

1st Team Match Report | Saturday February 25 2023


Lacklustre Lymm prevail at Stockport

Lymm made the relative short journey along the M56 for their return league encounter against Stockport. Stockport on the back of six wins in their last seven games, would have been confident of giving league leaders Lymm a hard encounter…..and so it turned out.

So just before 2:15pm both teams took to the pitch, with Lymm in their changed colours of black and gold. The pitch at Headlands Road, with a short grass covering and with inclines in most directions – may have made some of the Lymm oldies start to reminisce about the old first team pitch at Lymm. Most times it seemed you continuously ran uphill! The weather was overcast and accompanied by a bitterly cold breeze blowing across the pitch. Definitely a day for the thermals and insulated gloves, pity the poor soul with exposed hands having to write the match report – oh that’s me!

With loyal clubman and Flanker Joe Watson starting his 100th 1stXV game, Mr Pearson blew the whistle to start the game. Not a good start for Lymm, with the kick going direct into touch – doh. Scrum to Stockport on the halfway, the ball move swiftly into the Lymm half where they proceed to infringe at the breakdown. Stockport kick to the corner, win their lineout and start a maul heading towards the Lymm goal line [remember this tactic, as this may become a pattern]. The advancing maul is collapsed by Lymm, and off trots the referee to the goalposts – penalty try awarded. Automatic seven points to Stockport, and with the adjudged miscreant Dickenson shown a yellow card and an immediate 10minute sojourn on the naughty step. Four minutes gone: Stockport 7 – 0 Lymm.

Joe Watson (centre) on his 100th game for Lymm 1stXV

So an immediate wakeup from the visitors was required. And from the restart Lymm pressured their hosts, a kick to the corner gave Stockport a defensive lineout. Lymm stole the lineout, a telling pass from the Lymm scrumhalf enabled a break in the centre, and Cal MORRIS was still on hand to take the return pass and to score. The conversion was successful by Cormac NOLAN. So with just six minutes played, parity was restored and the scoreboard read: Stockport 7 – 7 Lymm.

Callum Morris scoring Lymm’s 1st Try

Though Lymm got possession from the subsequent restart, they were forced to kick the ball away, though touch was not made [another forthcoming trend] and the Stockport fullback was able to call the mark. Stockport possession ensued and their right wing – the speedy Rory Atwill to beat, with some ease, two Lymm defenders, and just short of the line give an inside pass to the supporting scrumhalf Alex PANTECHIS to score. The conversion attempt was unsuccessful, but the score after only 12 minutes was now: Stockport 12 – 7 Lymm.

By now Lymm realised they were in for a tough afternoon, and would have to be on their mettle to deal with this Stockport side. So on fifteen minutes Lymm had possibly their best play of the day, as following a successful lineout on halfway, there was robustious break by the Lymm 8 – Rhys Lilley [was he sorely missed last week?], who was ably supported at pace by his fellow backrower Harry MARTIN, who continued the move and scored the try. NOLAN duly added the conversion. Stockport 12 – 14 Lymm.

Harry Martin crosses for Lymm’s 2nd try

Did I say how cold it was? One became distracted watching the flights out of Manchester Airport taking happy tourists to their much sunnier and considerably warmer climates, where one’s hands do not go blue. Lucky peeps!

Alas, back to the action. On about twenty-three minutes Lymm had a fine passing movement, which was only stopped by a Stockport infringement. The penalty was kicked to the corner, Yates rose highest and secured the ball, which then became an attacking maul, and from the maul the ball was found in the hands of NOLAN, who was able to touch down. NOLAN also added the conversion. Stockport 12 – 21 Lymm.

Cormac Nolan scores Lymm’s 3rd try

Was this the time when Lymm would stamp their authority on the game and go on to dominate? The answer was simply no. From now on and until the halftime whistle both teams had spells of possession, but never quite any dominance able to break through, the only exception to the featureless period being one bullocking run by the Stockport 7 – Deans [apologies for thinking he was a prop] and another by Lymm’s Lilley. And thus at halftime it was Stockport 12 – 21 Lymm.

With little time to warm the hands and to make sure all extremities still functioned, the second half commenced. In stark contrast to how Lymm had commenced the first half [see above], Stockport demonstrated a perfect kick-off technique. The ball went deep into the Lymm half, where a defender was caught in possession, an infringement by the defence, attacking penalty kick to the corner, successful lineout, set the maul, and rumble over the line. Try for Matt LAWROWITSCH. The only blemish, was that the conversion was missed. So two minutes into the half: Stockport 17 – 21 Lymm.

The next ten minutes read thus: Stockport lose possession, penalty to Lymm, lineout won, run the ball, Lymm lose possession and repeat…….opportunities gone awry. Until after fifteen minutes of the second half, a Lymm lineout on about the halfway, the ball was won, Stockport infringe, the penalty quickly taken and there seen sprinting to the line was MORRIS with ball in hand to score a fine try. The conversion was missed, but now Lymm had secured their attacking bonus point. Stockport 17 – 26 Lymm.

Callum Morris crosses for Lymm’s 4th and Bonus Point Try

Oh, and about now the biting wind was increasing and a quick hail shower added to the discomfort of this reporter. But with the bonus point in the bag, surely now was the time for Lymm to show their league-leading credentials and to dominate the remainder of the game? Yes, there were some moments of excitement – a line break by Kimber; a Stockport break thwarted by a cover tackle by ‘centurion’ Watson; but more often it was a case of bad choice of and execution of kick; poor possession retention; and a lack of vision. It was counted that there were a minimum of three scoring opportunities missed, nay squandered, and woefully the nailed-on three points of a penalty kick not taken in the dying minutes [to put them two scores clear]. Doh, and doh again. Instead, with time fast running out and with the referee ready to wet his lips to blow for time, Stockport had another penalty. A kick to the corner and guess what happened next? Yes, a successful lineout, set the maul, and rumble over the line. Try for Tom GARDNER. This time the conversion was good by Ewan HOLT. Now the referee could let go with the pea.

Final score: Stockport 24 – 26 Lymm.

Another five points attained, keeping Lymm atop the league. And with just the two games to go, the sphincter doth twitch…

DOR Adam Fletcher commented after the game. “The character the lads showed to bounce back from a really tough loss the previous week was excellent. We weren’t at our best but found a way to get the 5 points.

“I thought our scrum was excellent all game and gave us a good attacking platform. We scored some excellent tries but also left a couple out there. When we kept hold of the ball for multiple phases our attack caused them problems we just lacked a bit of execution.

“Another big week ahead with the focus on improving our execution and skill set ready for Manchester”.

Lymm Squad prior to match against Stockport

Team: 1. Gavin Woods (103) 2. Rob Makin* (45) 3. Matty Hand* (81) 4. James Yates* {Capt} (95) Sam Dickenson* (14) 6. Joe Watson (100) 7. Harry Saxton-Martin (28) 8. Rhys Lilly* (27) Cal Morris (11) 10. Tom Shard* (106) 11. James Rooney* (7) 12. Scott Redfern (105) James Kimber* (84) 14. Nathan Beesley* (48) 15. Cormac Nolan* (208) 16. Samir Tahroui (7) 17. Ben Thompson (7) 18. Ben Simpson* (15)

( ) = 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 Henry Pearson.

Next week, Lymm are Away to Manchester FC, KO 2.15pm.

Match Report: Rob Sparkes

Photos: Stuart Watson & Tim Martin







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