NEWLY promoted Lymm kick started the new season in National league three with a tense, hard-fought 27-26 win over Middlesborough.
Coach Kinsey had targeted a win to continue on from last season’s fine promotion campaign. Selection was fiercely competitive but last minute injuries threatened the plans. However Lymm started the game at almost full strength. League debuts were handed to new forwards coach, Alex Bennett, new back rower, Jonny Bishop and exiting winger Andy Rowley. Chris Griffiths started at 9 after 8 months down under.
The flexible Scott Harrison started at prop alongside new skipper Tim Oakes at 2.
In front of a large, expectant crowd Lymm exploded into life. A typical Griffiths dash into space found Ollie Higginson, now in his preferred back row position, for the first try after just 90 seconds. Rowley, showing no sign of nerves, slotted the conversion. 7-0. Poor defensive alignment was penalized on 7 mins and the visiting 10 hit the penalty. 7-3. The 10, O Farrell, looked a very able kicker and he produced a top drawer drop goal on 16 to make it 7-6.
Lymm may have buckled at this stage but some familiar pace and skill from Knowles let last season’s top scorer in the corner. High pace and lovely pace from Rowley and the home full back slicing the visiting defence apart. Rowley again converted making it 14-6.
Rowley excelled again with 2 difficult penalties on 33 and 40 to give Lymm a 20-9 lead at half time Middlesborough decided to play a tighter game and started to exert some pressure at the ruck. Swetman went over after a patient 5 phase Lymm attack on 46. Again Rowley notched the extras. 27-9. The home fans started to think about bonus points but the visitors had different ideas. A penalty on 49 and a try from the Middlesborough 9 took the score to 27-19 and when influential big man Bennett was binned on 62 mins it seemed the away team could snatch an unlikely win. Excellent 14 man defence was only punctured once, on 68, to take the score to 27-26. Excellent defence in midfield from Williamson and Knowles preventing probable scores in the dying minutes.
Captain Oakes was overjoyed saying: “ It was really pleasing to win on such a big day for the club. There are things to work out but it was a very positive start”. Coach Kinsey was a relieved man “we produced periods of fluency, structure and pace which saw us put points on the board.Contrastingly we lacked composure at times and gave away momentum at the collision. That said, a great result and springboard for us to move forward.”
Director or Rugby Richard Boundy summed things up adding: “It was a good day. The new pitch was outstanding and a decent crowd. Its always nice to field a team of predominantly local lads and the man of the match, on his debut, Rowley is a former colt and Lymm Hs lad. Of the 18 in the squad only 5 or 6 didn’t play for the colts and this is how we will sustain at this level. It was a proud day for the club.”
Lymm entertain Beverley next week at home kick off 3pm and will welcome back scrum half Baker and former captain Fletcher to the squad.
15 Joe Knowles 14 Jack Johnstone 13 Dave Williamson 12 Mike Swetman 11 Andy Rowley 10 Andy Roberts 9 Chris Griffiths 1 Scott Harrison 2 Tim Oakes C 3 Jordan Widdrington 4 Alex Bennett 5 Sion Williams 6 Ollie Higginson 7 Jonny Bishop 8 Lee Pickles 16 Chris Kinsey 17 Sam Mullarkey 18 Mark Sutton