Whitchurch 2nds 64 – 7 Lymm Eagles
Eagles Team Match Report | Saturday January 22 2022
Lymm Eagles Struggle Against On Form Whitchurch 2nds
Lymm Eagles were faced with another long 80 mile round trip this week to face opponents Whitchurch. With an exciting win against a strong Sandbach side the previous week, and having edged Whitchurch 17-14 at their last encounter, hopes were high for a competitive game. Lymm had to make several changes to their team from the previous week due to unavailability’s and with Captain Ollie Brown together with Ben Polec, drafted in to support the 2s. But had Alex Reay making a very welcome return to the front row and Johnny Cartwright swapping his whistle for a place in the back row. Overall, quite a bit of juggling was required to adequately cover the field with little available in reserve.
The first half was a fairly balanced affair, but Lymm struggled to make it out of their half and were well contained by the Whitchurch defence. With youth and fitness (who he?) on their side, Whitchurch threatened whenever they had the ball and Lymm were fortunate that unforced handling errors prevented tries being scored. Any momentum that Lymm tried to build was swiftly halted either by their own mistakes or the whistle of the referee, who seemed to not enjoy the way Lymm were interpreting the breakdown. A few of the vets were concerned that the Ref (who was miked up for formal assessment during the match) might suffer from a sore arm due to the number of times he raised it for advantages and penalties to Whitchurch, some of which defied explanation. In fairness, even an international referee wouldn’t have rescued Lymm from this performance. Whitchurch managed 3 tries in the first half, with Lymm scoreless.
The 2nd half did not improve, with Lymm seeming very despondent at times. Missed tackles, moaning, bickering and lacklustre performance led to several more Whitchurch tries. Captain Chris Kinsey set Lymm the target of getting on the score sheet, and excellent runs from Reay, Halford and Hill got Lymm close to the line. Fly half Roberts believed he then got the ball down but the Referee deemed it held up. However, a quick tap from an earlier infringement saw scrum half Kinsey dive over in a great solo effort, which the Referee awarded as a penalty try due to a high tackle on the line. However, this score still failed to raise the team’s spirits with many of the players seeming to settle for having avoided a whitewash. Whitchurch continued to hammer home their advantage resulting in a one sided 64-7 score line.
Whilst the final score was not great, there were some notable performances. Alex Reay ruled the scrum with a powerful display, and with Dave Coon moving sideways to Hooker and support from prop Aldin Zilic, enabled Lymm to win several scrums against the head. Adam Halford was immense in the loose around the pitch and the pairing of Hill and Rogers brought plenty of energy in the back row. The backs performed well but struggled behind a tiring pack and with the speed and youthfulness of the opposition.
In the end, this was well deserved victory by Whitchurch, who were well drilled, fast, strong and clinical from start to finish. However, the one-sided score line was compounded by mistakes and errors from Lymm due to team changes and not having regularly played together, rather than any difference in ability levels between the two teams. This kind of result shows how difficult playing this level of rugby can be. Undaunted, the Vets will shrug off this defeat and return in good spirits next week when they make the even longer journey to meet Oswestry 2XV.
On a final note, it was disappointing that on arrival at Whitchurch, each Lymm car was accosted by an over exuberant gate man, trying to charge each player or supporter £5 for entry as there was a 1XV match on. Comments such as “I’ll come and check if you’re all playing” or “there can’t be 30 of you playing” was not a great welcome. Whilst £5 is relatively not a lot of money and clubs up and down the country are struggling for finance, this is the first club in 15 years of following the Lymm 3’s that has charged for attending lower-level rugby. Would this charge have been extracted if the 1XV were not at home, who knows? It did leave a slightly bitter taste in the mouth, although the after-match burger and chips and a couple of pints did clear that up.
Team: 1) Aldin Zilic 2) Dave Coon 3) Alex Reay 4) Adam Halford 5) Ollie Chesworth 6) Joe Rogers 7) Johnny Cartwright 8) Matt Hill 9) Chris Kinsey (C) 10) Andy Roberts 11) Craig Woolvine 12) Alan Reddicliff 13) Dave P 14) Liam Kirkham 15) Simon Beards. Reps: 16) Matt P 17) Jim France
Match Report:Peter & David Coon