Tynedale 36 – 18 Lymm
1st Team Match Report | Saturday January 20 2024
Snatching defeat from Geordie jaws
The first encounter Lymm ever had with Tynedale was in 1985 in the old national ‘John Player Cup’ competition, and their victory is still celebrated today with press cuttings and photos adorning the walls featuring players from both sides.
The warm welcome received in the North East based clubhouse of Tynedale, just near Hadrian’s Wall at Hexham, was in stark contrast to the chilling execution of a game plan that was clearly well thought through before kick-off.
On a cold, sun-less day, on a heavy pitch and with a wind behind them Lymm kicked off only for the ball to be moved slickly to the right by Tynedale who broke the defensive line and Alex Dryden, the winger, went on to score in the corner – all in about 40 seconds. 5 – 0.
Stunned, and a little embarrassed, Lymm then had a clearance kick charged down but defending right wing Paddy Jennings got to the ball first. An inauspicious start and Lymm were still on the bus!
This lacklustre start was then followed by a sumptuous 20 minutes from Lymm. A penalty to the corner for a dangerous tackle facilitated an attacking line out and scrum half Ben Simpson, recruited that morning conveniently from Newcastle Uni, for bed-bound Cal Morris, cheekily scuttled over to level the scores after 19mins. Fly half Tom Shard missed the relatively easy conversion, to everyone’s astonishment, 5 – 5.
A yellow card for the Tynedale centre Miller for a high tackle, gave Shard a penalty shot which he successfully converted on 23 mins, 5 – 8. Another penalty gave Lymm an attacking line out 15m out and hooker James Pitcher threw himself down the middle of the pitch towards the posts. This momentum was maintained and the ball was moved swiftly along the backs to the right, followed by a well-timed pass from centre Ste Pilkington to Andy Williams who crooned over in the corner, 5 – 13 after 29 mins.
Now very much on the front foot, Ben Simpson was giving the opposition all sorts to think about as he made another half break towards the line and fed flanker Harry Martin who scored wide out, 5 – 18 after 35 mins.
Tynedale’s issues were also compounded by their passing game which, seemingly, had deserted them. With 5 minutes of the half left on the clock this looked like a very promising position for the visitors especially with an attacking line-out for Lymm 30m out.
However, the ball was overthrown and Tynedale seized on the opportunity, moving the ball through the hands with the centre breaking through and racing 60 yards up the pitch for a try by fly half Josh Leslie, in the right hand corner. The conversion was missed but suddenly the momentum swing was underway.
Half time: Tynedale 10 – 18 Lymm
The self-belief was palpable especially when Tynedale emptied the bench in the second half with an array of fresh talent taking on the men from Cheshire, on such a heavy pitch. A scrum penalty to Tynedale, which up to this point had not occurred for either side, created an attacking line-out 10m from the Lymm line. Replacement second row Henry Wainwright, in a scene reminiscent of ‘The Vikings’, handed off one then another as he charged over the line near the posts. 17 – 18 after 43 mins.
Lymm renewed that lacklustre look and, despite an attacking line-out 10m from the try line, and the subsequent scrum, the ball was spilt at the base and the opportunity to wrestle the initiative was gone.
Tynedale then had a period of domination, led by the skipper Chris Wearmouth who had been held back till half time and clearly had a point to prove. Lymm started making silly mistakes and seemed to go off the boil completely. From an attacking scrum the Tynedale No 8 picked the ball up and fed his right winger Oliver, who scored in the corner 22 – 18 and the lead, after 55mins.
Josh Leslie the fly half, who had looked a class act all afternoon, then scored between the posts following a number of surges to the line. His conversion took the score to 29 – 18 on the hour mark and Lymm were staring down the barrel.
Seeking the fourth try bonus point, one opportunity fell to Lymm’s second row Ben Thompson who touched the ball down following a charge-down but was deemed offside by the ref, after consulting his linesman.
One more converted try from Tynedale replacement wing Oliver, following a wide kick to the corner by that fly half, rubbed salt in the wound on 68mins taking the final score to 36 – 18.
An interception by replacement left winger Jack Stride in the last minute, nearly gave Lymm the try they sought but he was caught 15m from the line. A series of surges towards the Tyendale line, by Lymm, came to nought as the final whistle went.
Full time: Tynedale 36 – 18 Lymm
Tynedale’s players gave Lymm’s ‘Man of the Match’ deservedly to scrum half Ben Simpson who also nearly won the subsequent beer pint downing race.
‘A tough day at the office,’ commented Director of Rugby Adam Fletcher. ‘After a slow start we managed to get into the game and go 18-5 up. The try they scored just before halftime was a huge blow and changed the momentum of the game.
‘Tynedale also had some real fire power from the bench which really helped them kick on in the second half.
‘It feels like we left some points out there for the second week running but we will re-group and get excited about Fylde,’ he concluded.
Team: 1.Gav Woods, 2.James Pitcher, 3.Matty Hand, 4.Ben Thompson, 5.James Yates, 6.Rob Makin, 7.Harry Martin, 8.Oli Higginson, 9.Ben Simpson, 10.Tom Shard, 11.Paddy Jennings, 12.James Kimber, 13.Ste Pilkington, 14.Andy Williams, 15. Nathan Beesley
Replacements: 16.Joe Higgins, 17.Nick Ashton, 18.Jack Stride, 19. Max Caldwell
Jack Stride breaking away
Ben Simpson scoring the first try
Andy Williams crooning over for his try
Harry Martin scoring his try
Ben Thompson’s try was disallowed
Match Report: Simon Plumb