LYMM Rugby Union Club won the North 1 West title – their first title succes sin 50 years – in a tense battle with play off contenders Liverpool St Helens.
Lymm now move into the RFU National league structure for the first time.
Having struggled in recent home games against powerful teams, such as Altrincham, Burnage and Northwich, Lymm needed the win to avoid having to win away on the last game of the season at Sandbach. LSH also had a sniff of promotion and the game had the feeling of a significant ,must win ,historic fixture.
Swetman started after benching for the last 3 weeks and Pat Roberts was asked to continue at 9, despite the return of old timer, veteran, warhorse Kinsey. Captain Fletcher was moved to the bench.
With Lymm struggling for form and LSH recording the best away defence in the league points were always tough to come by and with both teams fielding decent kickers penalties and discipline were going to be key.
Indeed LSH had the chance on 6 and 16 mins to open the scoring but the normally trustworthy boot of Smith failed. Lymm’s backs are blessed with great pace and flair and on hard ground it was hoped the pack could provide some platform. Interestingly it was a dynamic turnover by second rower Miksys that created space for Andy Roberts to exploit, finding winger Williamson. His pass to Pickles, running a superb supporting line, offloaded to Hughes and the centre went over. 5-0 to Lymm on 23 mins. Knowles missed the kick.
Similarly on 30 mins Lymm went over again. A poor pass from the LSH scrum half was dropped and Williamson collected and sprinted 40 metres for the try. Knowles converted and Lymm were comfortable at 12-0. Knowles was then given a penalty chance on 34 and he took it to take the score to 15-0.
Smith recorded his first success on 35 and it stood 15-3 at half time.
A good start from either team could have had massive impact on the game. Lymm would have been concerned to concede a penalty on 40 seconds. 15-6 and when Smith notched again on 48 mins from an Oakes high tackle the game seemed to have swung in the visitors favour.
In reality LSH looked unlikely to score a try as the home defence stood firm with Cullinane and man of the match Oakes outstanding in contact and Swetman’s boot in relief. Better discipline and a real desire to win from Lymm prevented LSH getting any more scoring chances but there was still some anxiety. When Mr Lodge’s blew the whistle after another Lymm turnover the celebrations began.
Head coach Kinsey was beaming. “Like many games this year this title winning match was built around huge defence that restricted a powerful side from just 3 scores. The lads should be proud of their achievements and for such a young side it will be massive psychological step”
Swetman summed up the feelings of the lads saying: “ It is a great feeling winning the league. Its been a long hard season and all the hard work and effort we have put in has paid off.”
Superstar Andy Davies, booked in for his knee operation this week praised the lads adding: “It has been a great season and I hope it finishes well with the Cheshire Cup final and I hope it continues into next season.”
Lymm now travel to Sandbach on 17 April and await news of the RFU national competition to be played on 24 April. The Cheshire Cup Final is at Lymm on 28 April, kick off 7pm. Lymm will entertain Sale Jets.
Team: 1.Tim Oakes 2 Scott Harrison 3 Danny Bates 4. Darius Miksys, 5. Lee Pickles 6 Mark Sutton 7 Ian Cullinane 8. Ollie Higginson 9 Pat Roberts 10. Andy Roberts 11 Dave Williamson 12 Mike Swetman 13 Tom Hughes 14 Jack Johnstone 15. Joe Knowles C .Reps Adam Fletcher, Sam Mullarkey, Jake Ashall.
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