Village Spartans 1sts 0 – 85 Lymm Eagles

Eagles Team Match Report | Saturday September 23 2023

Eagles Fabulous in Victory  

Lymm Eagles managed a rather one sided victory against Manchester Village Spartans this week to complete a fantastic day for the club, where all three Lymm teams achieved victory.  This was a game played in a good spirit and the Spartans should be highly commended for keeping going right until the end.

The first couple of weeks of the season have been tough on some of the older bodies in the Eagles squad.  This has meant stretching the resources and captain Olly Brown having to call in favours and players from all over the place.  From last week’s squad, notable absences included number 8 Ben Lloyd, who had suffered broken ribs from a malicious kick at the bottom of a ruck, delivered, unfortunately, by one of his own teammates.  I’m sure it didn’t Macca……sorry matter who it was that kicked him (recycling jokes now).  2nd row Jez Ure was attending some event to do with old people and a long service dinner, which seemed a posh way of describing meals on wheels.  Jez’s absence also meant son Max was not able to play, as Max is not allowed to talk to strangers without his Dad there (you were both sorely missed!!!).  Finally regular scrum half Chris Kinsey had also made himself unavailable for this game, due to a requirement to attend a diversity and sensitivity course entitled “How to deal with difficult people”.  We still haven’t heard if he has passed or not or if he was actually the difficult person in question?

Lymm were able to give first starts of the season to 2nd row Ben Stroud, winger Tom Coghill and full back Tom Harle, who re- joins the team after having a season off last year.  Debuts were also made by young players Joe Stewart, Chris Mundy, and Taron Soni, whilst George Harrison was enjoying his first rugby game for a number of years having recently moved into Lymm village.

On arriving at the pitch, located over the road from the very smart newly built Sale Sports Centre, Lymm were presented with what appeared to be a huge, almost square playing field that seemed almost as wide as it was long. Things were not helped by the virtual absence of pitch and sideline markings and as your scribe was, as usual, also appointed touch judge (by default) for the match, it was clear that the players on both sides were likely to have a lot to say about any touch decisions (which they certainly did).

Spartans kicked off the game, but for some reason Lymm struggled to get going, with several knock ons stopping any attacking moves developing. As the Society Referee was being assessed and clearly understood and applied the new tackling laws, Lymm also conceded quite a few penalties for high tackles.  It would appear that most of our players are still unable to locate the position of their nipples! However, it didn’t take long for Lymm to click and a wayward clearance kick from Spartans on 10mins found winger Coghill, who with his trademark turn of speed. sprinted almost half the length of the pitch for the first try, converted by McEvoy (0-7).

This was followed on 17 mins, when 2nd row Ben Stroud managed to spoil a Spartans lineout and got the ball to Jack Harper, who powered into the Spartans 22 and offloaded in the tackle to hooker Joe Stewart who dived over for an unconverted try (0-12).  The Lymm backs were really putting good moves together and the Lymm forwards were making yards with every carry, carefully marshalled by scrum half Simon Beards.  On 21 minutes, the ball made it to centre McEvoy, who dropped his shoulder and shrugged off despairing tackles for another self-converted try (0-19).  Not to be outdone by his colleague, outside centre Reece Forrest demanded the ball and slalomed through the Spartans defence to power over for a superb individual try (he was never going to pass!!) on 30 minutes, converted by McEvoy (0-26).

With no signs of letting up on the pressure, just 3 minutes later, an accurate cross-field kick from fly half Alan Reddecliff was expertly collected by Coghill to dot down for another converted try (0-33).  This may sound like the game was entirely one way traffic….and to some extent it was, but due credit must be given to Spartans, who put in some good tackles and caused havoc with some clever kick offs from which where they were able to recover the ball several times.  Although as one Eagles player uncharitably whispered, “they must get a lot of practice at kick offs!!”  A final attack on the stroke of half time saw Reece Forrest held up over the line where once again his aversion to passing meant one of his many supporting teammates were ignored.  Don’t worry Reece, we still like you!

Half Time: Village Spartans 1sts 0 – 33 Lymm Eagles

A great first half for the scoreline, but also a half that was littered with knock-ons, unforced errors, and the Eagles favourite past time of trying flamboyant or downright ridiculous passes, when simplicity and hard work would probably be better rewarded.  Olly’s message at half time was simple.  “We do not concede this half, defence first, then the attack will come”

The second half kicked off and immediately, powerful runs from George Smith and George Harrison laid a platform to attack from.  After only 5 minutes, McEvoy broke through for another self-converted try (0-40).  Then came one of our favourite moves of the day.  On 50 mins, a clearing Spartans kick was fielded on the Lymm 22 by 2nd row Stroud.  Ben managed to sidestep the onrushing defenders and sprinted clear with no one in front of him.  With his team mates cheering him on, Ben sprinted for the line, although the sprint became a fast jog and then a slow trot as he desperately looked for someone to pass to.  Fortunately the try line arrived to rescue him before his lungs collapsed and the Spartans caught up him, for a fantastic, converted try (0-47).

If Ben was hoping for some rest, he wasn’t allowed as Spartans continued to land almost every kick off on him.  Strong returning runs again by Ben Stroud, George Harrison (whilst singing My Sweet Lord), Dave Coon and Jack Harper got Lymm back in the 22 and a final pass found Taron Soni with the job of scoring the next converted try (0-54).  The tries kept on coming and in order to try to keep this report to it normal brief, and very concise standard length, the next two tries were scored by McEvoy to bring up his hat-trick on 56 mins (0-61) and another converted try for Forrest on 61 mins (0-68).  Both were excellent individual efforts, so we won’t talk further about them for fear of over inflating their already massive egos! Despite the ever increasing scoreline, the Spartans continued to play their part and did it with smile on their faces and with an infectious level of enthusiasm.  Our favourite part was their full back joining in with our berating of Macca after yet another knock on with a chorus of….”Yeah Macca ya shithouse!!”  Great sportsmanship.

The Lymm forwards continued their hard work, and this was typified by strong carries from Jim France, Kieran Williams, and George Smith.  It was George who got on the score sheet next as he ran on to a quick reverse pass from scrum half Beards to power over for another an unconverted try (bloody hell Macca, every point counts!!) (0-73).  On 72 mins, with energy levels starting to run low, Lymm looked to youth and got the ball into the hands of young winger Chris Mundy, who broke clear to the halfway line and fed fly half Reddecliff, who sold an outrageous dummy to glide through for a converted try (0-80) on 72mins.  This was a well-deserved try for Alan, who was also part of many of the tries today and his efforts sometimes go unnoticed (not really, he just asked me to say that).

After dismantling yet another scrum, the Spartans then asked for uncontested scrums, at which point stalwart prop Dave Coon promptly subbed himself off the pitch after another solid day’s work in the scrum.  With guaranteed ball, Spartans had several last ditch attempts to score a try, but it was testament to the rugged determination of Lymm that these were repelled, with a fair few last ditch tackles on the try line.  On 80 minutes, Lymm managed to storm back down the field and despite the backs screaming for the ball to grab more glory, the Lymm forwards kept it tight and eventually flanker Jim France crashed over for a well-deserved try out wide on 80 minutes.  Winger Tom Coghill was given the kicking opportunity to convert the try, but kindly pushed the kick wide, as he said he didn’t want the scoreline to seem too one sided. (0-85).

Full Time: Village Spartans 1sts 0 – 85 Lymm Eagles

A great result for the Eagles, but made even more so by the fact that we didn’t concede a single point.  It won’t be that type of scoreline every week, so the real test will be to back this up next week.  A massive well done to the Spartans for never giving up at any point in this match and for the general level of enthusiasm you bought to this fixture.  We wish you luck for the rest of the season and look forward to welcoming you to Crouchley Lane.

There were plenty of options for man of the match this week.  It was a real pleasure seeing some of the younger lads interacting and fitting in so well with the veterans.  On another day, either of the 2nd rows in Ben Stroud and George Harrison would have been man of the match for their tireless work around the pitch and in the set piece.  It was decided though that No.8 George Smith had just edged it with the fact that he popped up pretty much everywhere on the pitch and his defensive work meant that we came away having not conceded.  Well done George, many people could be heard walking off the pitch whispering “Max who?” (We love you Max!!).

Lymm Eagles are at home next week as they take on Macclesfield 3s in a league and cup double, 3pm kick off.  As always, all welcome. This week’s match attendance for Lymm totalled 6, almost a record!

Team: 1) Olly Brown (C) 2) Joe Stewart 3) David Coon 4) Ben Stroud 5) George Harrison 6) Kieran Williams 7) Jack Harper 8) George Smith 9) Simon Beards 10) Alan Reddecliff 11) Josh McKean 12) Rick McEvoy 13) Reece Forrest 14) Tom Coghill 15) Tom Harle  REP 16) Jim France 17) Taron Soni 18) Chris Mundy

Report by: Pete & David Coon


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