Report by Neil Allen
LYMM welcomed Billingham to Beechwood for the first home game of the season and celebrated in rainy conditions with a 28-7 win.
There was celebration in the air before kick off as new club President David Newton hosted a 100 person, pre-match marquee buffet, to mark the start of the new season, with Faisal Rashid MP in attendance to lend his welcome support to the club.
With a large crowd and the pitch looking resplendent, despite the heavy rain, the scene was set for a great game. After last week’s bonus point win, Lymm kept largely the same side, with Joe Denman coming in for the injured Tom Bray, after a strong showing for the second team. Coach Adam Fletcher resisted the temptation to bring back the front five big guns, opting to stick with those in possession of the shirt. There is now a real depth in the squad and a meritocracy emerging, which can only be good for the long term strength of the club.
The game got underway with both sides probing and running the ball but failing to break the gain line. Billingham started to get the upper-hand and the penalty count against Lymm was beginning to rack up. Eventually on 10-minutes the pressure told and the Billingham number 10 ran unchallenged under the posts to go 7-0 up. The party bubble was pricked and things began to look ominous for Lymm.
Lymm however started to grow into the game and on 20 minutes struck back with a great team try. Scott Redfern made an initial looping break from fly-half, James Kimber then ran a great line, eventually off-loading to Oli Higginson who fed Adam Bray to crash over. Cormac Nolan converting, 7-7.
Lymm now had the ascendancy and on 30-minutes scored again, this time via a penalty try, a rare sighting at Lymm but a vindication for Coach Fletcher and a sign of the value of new front row recruit Gav Woods.
On the stroke of half-time Lymm again scored, this time by more conventional means although Wood was again involved, flicking the ball on in another great sweeping team score, finished off by Kimber to make it 21-7.
The second half was peppered with heavy storms and rain, whilst both sides did remarkably well to continue to play rugby, the game became a wrestling match. Billingham had the lion’s share of possession, which Lymm happily absorbed without any major scares. With 5-minute to go, Lymm were awarded a scrum on the 22 metre line. Lymm put the shove on and the Billingham scrum disintegrated, Lymm No 8 Higginson picked up before passing inside to Adam Bray to run in under the sticks, Nolan converting. The final act of the game saw Billingham frustration finally boil over and a red card issued for a knee drop on the ubiquitous Woods.
A bonus point win and an excellent team performance. Back in the clubhouse the infamous beam welcomed a number of home debutants and one playing his final game for Lymm. Ross White, who has played for 3 or 4 seasons with great distinction at Lymm, is moving out of the area with work and the club wish him well for the future.
This week Lymm travel to Sandal KO3pm.
Team: 1) Gav Woods, 2) Adam Bray ©, 3) Kieran O’Callaghan, 4) Joe McGrail, 5) Joe Watson, 6) Sam Mullarkey, 7) Ali Sutherland, 8) Oli Higginson, 9) Andy Davies, 10) Scott Redfern, 11) Joe Denman, 12) James Kimber, 13) Richard McEvoy, 14) Lucas Titherington, 15) Cormac Nolan,
16) Ross White, 17) Matty Hand, 18) Will Titherington.