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Lymm's challenge was not enough

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CHESTER deserved their 29 to 17 point win, but Lymm could have won this match.
With ten minutes to go, Lymm’s winger Matthew Barnes-Smith powered over in the corner, following a forceful line-breaking run by flanker Jake Ashall, to bring the score to: Chester 22 – Lymm 17. Lymm had dominated territory and possession in the second half and a 24 – 22 win to Lymm looked on. To Chester’s credit their forwards mustered enough strength and used their experience to advance upon Lymm’s line until they were rewarded with a 5 metre scrum, from which their No. 8 forced his way over the line to close out the match. The reaction of their players and spectators showed just how relieved they were to get back on the winning trail, having lost to lowly Morley the previous week.
Lymm showed, once again, that they can compete with the best in this league. A win away at Chester, following last week’s home win against table-topping Darlington, would have given them the confidence to go for a play-off place as they enter the second half of the season, but today it was not to be. The match was lost in the first half. Playing into a very strong wind and into the sun, Lymm did not need to place even more pressure on themselves by giving away penalties and not clearing their lines. Their masochistic tendencies, which have been in evidence each week, presented Chester the opportunity to go ahead on 11 minutes from a well taken, wind-assisted kick from the halfway line. Chester 3 – Lymm 0.
Chester scored a good, converted, try under Lymm’s posts on 15 minutes, but were very fortunate to be given another opportunity to extend their lead on 22 minutes when Lymm allowed Chester’s forwards to counter-ruck them off the ball, moments after Lymm had turned over the ball in their favour. It was even more frustrating to Lymm’s players and spectators when the Chester No. 9 was allowed to take a quick tap penalty from only a couple of metres out to dive under the posts. The score was now: Chester 17 – Lymm 0.
A quickly taken, legitimate, free-kick on 25 minutes gave Lymm the opportunity to show their attacking flair. Another good run by Jake Ashall, who is playing particularly well at the moment in both attack and defence, opened up the line for Oli Higginson and winger Jack Johnstone to exploit. Jack stepped inside the cover defence to score a try that was converted from the touch-line by Luke Emmitt. Chester 17 – Lymm 7.
Lymm threatened Chester’s line for the next ten minutes. Dave Williamson, playing at fullback in place of skipper Joe Knowles, on sevens duty in Dubai, made good ground down the left wing before moving the ball inside for Adam Bray to make one of his unstoppable drives up the middle of the pitch. Chester were on the back-foot and looked vulnerable. Chester were let off the hook when a decision for crossing in the centre allowed them to boot the ball 40 metres back down the park.
Lymm were fortunate not to go further behind when the ball was knocked on over the line by their scrum-half. Maybe it was justice for the one he was allowed to score earlier?
Justice was not served just before half-time when the Chester winger was adjudged to have scored in the corner. The referee was immediately crossed off of the Christmas card list of the two Lymm players who were underneath the ball as they tackled the Chester player into touch. So, 22 points to 7 down at the break, but with the wind behind their backs in the second half, Lymm looked forward to the challenge that lie ahead.
It took until the 57th minute before Lymm’s domination of play saw prop Jordan Widdrington drive over from close quarters. A potentially crucial conversion was missed, but there was every reason to believe that another chance to kick some points would be secured. Chester had been struggling to get out of their 22 metre area and all that was needed was for a Lymm player to finish off the several try scoring opportunities that were created.
An up-and-under from Luke Emmitt put Chester under pressure on 70 minutes. Luke chased down his kick and set up the barnstorming run from Jake Ashall that set up Barnes-Smith for his try in the corner. He got the ball down for sure, but did he step into touch ? This time the referee ruled in Lymm’s favour. Luke nearly made amends for his earlier miss, with a tremendous kick from the touchline that hit the cross-bar, but bounced the wrong way for the Lymm contingent.
Full marks go to Chester for clinically closing out the match by 29 points to 17. Head Coach Kinsey said: “As much as we might like to challenge some of the refereeing decisions, we have to reflect on poor decisions of our own and our inability to finish the many match winning opportunities we created.”
Lymm finish the first half of the season in a commendable 4th place, but with Rossendale losing at Beverley, how good would it have been if we had knocked the proverbial `monkey of our back’ and beaten Chester away. They were there for the taking. We will just have to settle for beating them at home!
Team: 15: Williamson 14: Barnes-Smith 13: Fletcher 12; Emmitt 11: Johnstone 10: Roberts 9: Baker 8 Bray (A) 7: Ashall 6: Higginson 5: Williams 4: Bennett 3: Widdrington 2: Allen 1: Harrison Replacements: Ashton, Connelly, Bellis.

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About Author

Experienced journalist for more than 35 years. Managing Director of magazine publishing group with six in-house titles and on-line daily newspaper for Warrington. Experienced writer, photographer, PR consultant and media expert having written for local, regional and national newspapers. Specialties: PR, media, social networking, photographer, networking, advertising, sales, media crisis management. Patron Tim Parry Johnathan Ball Foundation for Peace. Trustee Warrington Disability Partnership. Former Chairman of Warrington Town FC.

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