Wirral 12 – 32 Lymm

1st Team Match Report | Saturday November 5 2022

Blistering Beesley treble leads Lymm triumph

Lymm arrived at an overcast, grey Wirral on the back of a record 118-3 home victory against an overmatched Kirkby Lonsdale side. Lymm and Wirral have a deep, somewhat chequered, history at this level and matches between the two sides are characteristically physical, tight and abrasive affairs. Lymm’s starting team bore some changes from the previous week: Ben Simpson returned at scrum half; in the absence of the injured Oli Higginson, Rhys Lilly continued at number 8 with Joe Watson switching to the back row and Sam Dickenson starting in the second row. James Kimber and Steven Pilkington made up a potent centre combination. For Wirral, flanker Rob Pearl was making his 300th appearance for the club; a fantastic achievement for a player who has caused Lymm problems over the years with his physicality and breakdown nous.

Lymm opened in the game in fluent form and were ahead within two minutes via a well-executed set play. A Dickenson lineout win was carried forward powerfully by Lilly, the recycled ball quickly shifted through the hands of Woods and Shard eventually ending in the hands of stand-in captain Nathan Beesley. The league’s top try scorer is in scintillating form and the fend-off, flash of pace and finish was inevitable. 5-0 Lymm with Cormac Nolan’s touchline conversion missed. The majority of the rest of the 1st quarter was less exciting than the opening minutes: stout defence, turnovers and plenty of tactical kicking as the weather worsened dramatically. Amidst the downpour and howling wind, Wirral responded with a patient rolling maul try to level the scores after 20 minutes. 5-5.

Entering the 2nd quarter of the game, Lymm, playing down the slight hill with the wind at their backs, began to dominate both possession and territory. Nolan produced an excellent 50-22 kick to reverse field position and several Lymm mauls were stopped illegally. Lymm continued to batter away in the Wirral red-zone but the home side’s defence held resolutely and, with handling difficult in the greasy conditions, some handling errors and poor decisions halted promising Lymm attacks. This attritional pattern continued until a moment of individual brilliance from Lymm full back, Nolan just before half time.

Fielding a clearance kick in his own half, Nolan faded to his right before stepping back left and carving through the Wirral kick chase. He kicked ahead, pursued his own well-weighted nudge and, when Wirral’s covering back row failed to gather cleanly, was there to put down for the score, which he duly converted from out left. An important try in the flow of the game and a significant milestone for Nolan himself; his 66th try for Lymm making him their leading try scorer at this level to go along with his leading points scorer record. Two amazing achievements for a club stalwart and outstanding goal kicker. Lymm 12 Wirral 5 at half time.

Turning round with only a 7-point lead to show for 40 minutes in which they had dominated the majority of possession and territory could have been regarded as somewhat of a disappointment and, with the weather brightening, Wirral began the 2nd half strongly. They got the best of the kicking battle and forced several 5m scrums one of which required an excellent tackle from Paddy Jennings to prevent a score. Heartened by their defensive efforts, 15 minutes into the 2nd half, Lymm extended their lead. Multiple powerful carries in the Wirral 22 eventually ended in the ball being worked out the back to the waiting Shard. His pass faded but James Kimber gathered brilliantly, moved on to Nolan and finally the waiting Beesley who, as usual, finished clinically. Conversion missed. Lymm 17 Wirral 5.

Minutes later and Lymm were in again but this try was based more on the ferocity of their defence than the fluency of their attack. Phase after phase of Wirral attacks were hammered backwards, with Murphy, Hand and Lilly prominent, much to the delight of coaches Davies and Bray. Eventually, another thunderous shot resulted in a turnover and the ball was quickly shifted to Shard who intelligently kicked behind the Wirral defence. Beesley shot off in pursuit and tackled the covering winger, Kimber powerfully counter rucked and, with the ball appearing on the Lymm’s side, Ben Simpson passed to the relentless Rhys Lilly who battered his way over through three defenders. A game breaking score and one made with pure hard work, energy and effort. Lymm 22 Wirral 5.

The momentum was now all with Lymm and their attack began to click: one beautiful, multi-phase counter attack from deep was only halted by an unfortunate handling error in midfield as their attacking ‘shape’ came to the fore. With ten minutes to go, further Lymm pressure led to another Lymm score and yet another Beesley hat-trick. Hand, Jennings, Lilly and Murphy all carried forcefully within the Wirral 22 and, as the ball was shifted to the edge, Beesley chose power over pace this time and thundered between two defenders for his third of the day and 36th try for Lymm in 39 appearances. Lymm 27 Wirral 5.

Straight from the kick off, they were at it again. Sam Dickenson gathered the kick and immediately broke, finding Lilly in support on his inside. With the Wirral defence scrambling, the ball was worked to Shard who, half-scragged, pirouetted and offloaded to the marauding Pilkington who carried deep into Wirral 22. Pilkington’s offload from the floor found Scott Redfern who, outrageously, flicked a further offload to Cormac Nolan to finish acrobatically in the corner. Nolan, having a very rare off day with the boot, again missed the conversion. Lymm 32 Wirral 5 and the game and 5 league points were in the bag. Minutes before the final whistle, Wirral scored a try of their own through their scrum half Crowley but it had little bearing on the final result. Final Score Lymm 32 Wirral 12.

A delighted DoR Adam Fletcher commented after the game “Huge win. It’s never easy to get 5 points at Wirral. I think we might have only achieved maximum points here on 2 previous occasions. The 1st half was scrappy. In the 2nd half, our defence got on top, which allowed us to control territory and the tempo of the game. There were some great performances on show but I was so happy to see Matty Hand back to his bulldozing best.”

Next week, Lymm travel to Macclesfield.

Team: 1. Gavin Woods (94) 2. James Pitcher*(38) 3. Matty Hand*(74) 4. Sam Dickenson*(3) 5. Joe Murphy*(10) 6. Joe Watson (91) 7. Ed Morris (24) 8. Rhys Lilly*(19) 9. Ben Simpson*(7) 10. Tom Shard*(96) 11. Paddy Jennings*(14) 12. James Kimber*(75) 13. Steven Pilkington*(40) 14. Nathan Beesley*(39) 15. Cormac Nolan*(197) 16. Ben Thompson (3) 17. Matty Connelly*(105) 18. Scott Redfern (95)

*Product of Lymm M&Js/Colts Academy

() Career 1st XV appearances for Lymm

Match Report: Adam Bray


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