LYMM Rugby Union’s remarkable season ended on a high as they defeated runners up Rossendale 37-26.
On December 1 Lymm had a record of 3 wins and 8 losses. Since then they have lost 1 and won 13 in all competitions. Bizarrely no team has been able to do the double over Lymm!
Rossendale had captured 2nd and the play off place last week in a rearranged game against Altrincham. They were also forced to play midweek against league winners Rochdale so tiredness was going to be a factor.
Lymm, however were forced into making changes. Kinsey, Calderbank, Butler and Harrison were all unavailable so Ollie Brown was switched to hooker, London based lock Darbyshire was able to return for the game, 2nds top try scorer Darren Norman was picked on the wing and 18 year-old colt Chris Griffiths made his 1st team league debut at 9. Mark Sutton was appointed captain.
The visitors play an effective one dimensional game. A mobile, aggressive back row and effective pick and go strategy. They don’t score many out wide but on 6 mins winger Dennison ran through a series of missed tackles to pop the ball up to Harrison who scored. The conversion was missed and for the 5th game in succession Lymm were behind in the first 10 mins.
On 21 mins Swetman slotted a penalty after Hughes was tackled high making it 3-5. Swetman’s kicking game has been a highlight this year but he found it hard to clear his lines in the first half. Perhaps attempting to achieve the maximum yardage instead of safety.
On 28 mins a booming 50 metre defensive kick failed to find touch and the visiting 15 piled over after good support from the Rossendale 6. Stirrup converted making it 3-12.
Yes Rossendale were tiring but Lymm came out in the second half with real purpose. Within 90 seconds of the restart a visiting skirmish in the Lymm 22, led to young Howson retrieving the ball and with a well timed pass found young Griffiths. These colts are confident, honed from playing 9 & 10 for many games at school. Griffths scampered 20 metres and returned the pass to Howson who went over from 40 metres out. Swetman converted to make it 10-12. A pulsating start to a pulsating half.
Hughes went over on 53 after a lovely chip from Jack Johnstone. Swetman missed. Lymm had the lead at 15-12.
On 55 Rossendale were awarded a penalty after some Tucker shenanigans. In front of the posts they decided, oddly, to go for the line out and not the penalty kick. Lymm turned them over on their throw and Rossendale visibly deflated.
Jack Johnstone enjoys the harder conditions and he seemed to be playing with real freedom. On 65 he dashed 60 metres, seemed to lose confidence to finish himself but found Darren Norman in a great support position to finish it off. Swetman converted to make it 22-12.
From the restart Lymm, steady on the catch all day, recycled well to Howson who, again, timed a pass to perfection to put Swetman over making it 27-12.
On 72 minutes Johnstone received a superb 20 metre pass from Hughes and went over. Swetman missed again.
Rossendale were able to claw some pride back on 75 and 79 minutes with tries for Pole and Settle and at 32-26 there was a definite suggestion the tide was turning but on the stroke of full time, Howson exploited space, dashed 25 metres and popped the ball to Ollie Higginson for the last try of the league season.
Swetman finally succeeded and the game ended at 37-26.
Director Of Rugby Richard Boundy said: “The conditions did sap Rossendale but it was their fault that they were forced to play 3 big games in a week. The young lads really stood up to the test though and we can look forward to a great future with the talent coming through from the colts and youth section”.
Lymm have one more game at New Brighton on bank holiday Monday, May 4 when they play in the Cheshire Plate final against Wilmslow.
For more pictures from the match CLICK HERE
Team: 1.Jack Warrington 2 Ollie Brown (Danny Bates 70) 3 Keith Broadbent 4. Darius Miksys (Jake Ashall 65), 5. Tom Darbyshire 6 Ollie Higginson 7 Andy Williamson 8. Mark Sutton ( c) 9 Chris Griffiths 10. Jordan Howson 11 Darren Norman 12.Tom Hughes 13 Mike Swetman 14 Jack Johnstone 15. Dave Williamson