Lymm 6 Rossendale 6
IN a spirited team performance Lymm Rugby Union Club battled out an impressive 6-6 draw with Rossendale finishing the game stronger a pushing for an unlikely win.
Recent form suggested an away win, but it was Rossendale who were hanging on in the final few minutes of this match when Lymm went through several phases of attacking play and threatened to score what would have been a winning try.
Rossendale had dominated territory and possession in the second half, but dogged defence by Lymm kept them out. In a game that was spoiled by a strong cross-wind, no-one could deny Lymm their 2 points for a hard-fought draw that Luke Emmitt secured when he kicked the penalty to level the score with the final kick of the match.
Lymm made several changes to the team that had lost at Altrincham Kersal.
Oli Higginson returned at flanker; Tim Oakes was switched to hooker to rest Pete Allen; Pat Roberts was brought in at scrum-half and Matthew Barnes-Smith moved to full-back to allow Skipper Joe Knowles leave of duty to have a run-out in the Sevens in Dubai. Joe would have been delighted to see his team playing with so much spirit. For several minutes, early on, Rossendale were camped on Lymm’s line and tried hard to execute their normal game plan of picking and driving forward from close quarters, but time and time again Lymm knocked them back with some ferocious team tackling. Very few teams would have kept Rossendale out under such persistent pressure. The collective determination to defend their try line was truly magnificent.
The penalty kick that Luke Emmitt converted on 40 minutes was pretty good too ! It was the only point scoring opportunity for Lymm in the first half, but it was excellently executed from all of 40 metres out. Few players in this league have the power and ability to kick a penalty from this distance in such testing conditions. The half-time score was Lymm 3 – Rossendale 0.
Rossendale levelled the score at 3-3 on 45 minutes when Lymm were penalised for being offside in the middle of the park. Lymm struggled to get out of their half, but they came closest to scoring a try on 54 minutes when an unexpected knock-on by the Rossendale full-back was hacked on by Adam Bray, who was just beaten to the touch-down in the chase to the line.
For the next 13 minutes the teams were locked in combat in the middle of the pitch, periodically resorting to football tennis to clear their lines or to make ground. Rossendale looked like the team mostly likely to score, but they will be disappointed that they were not able to create a clear try-scoring opportunity. They did edge ahead, 3 points to 6, on 67 minutes when Lymm conceded another penalty for offside in the middle of the pitch, 30 metres out.
By far the best moves of the match came from Lymm, with three minutes to go. This was Lymm at their best, with forceful forward drives from Adam Bray, Jake Ashall and Alex Bennett opening up the Rossendale defence for the Lymm backs to exploit. Lymm must have gone through 8 or 9 phases of play, skilfully retaining possession and showing composure as they purposefully advanced up the pitch. The referee indicated at least three penalties to Lymm during these passages of play, the most critical one being awarded 15 metres out, directly in front of the Rossendale posts. The three points were never in doubt as Emmitt stepped up to kick the penalty to make the final score 6 points all.
Lymm will take much confidence from this performance into their next match away at Sandal. The win away from home at Sandal last year was a defining moment in Lymm’s season. It signalled the end of Lymm’s perennial mid-season dip in form. Let us hope for the same result and impact next Saturday !
Team: 15 Barnes-Smith 14: McEvoy 13: Bray (T) 12; Ferguson 11: Bellis 10: Emmitt 9: Roberts 8 Bray (A) 7: Ashall 6: Higginson 5: Williams 4: Bennett 3: Widdrington 2: Oakes (c ) 1: Ashton. Replacements: Connelly (57 mins for Bellis)