Report by Tony Halford
TABLE topping Hull proved far too strong for a Lymm side which had three senior Colts in their squad, two making their first team debuts, as they went down 54-5.
Apart from their first match of the season where they lost away to Rossendale by the narrowest of margins 28-29, Hull have won all their next 20 matches, and sit top-of-the-table and almost assured automatic promotion to National 2 North.
This week saw seven changes to the squad that comfortably beat Alnwick 52-13, with the unavailability of forwards Gav Woods, Jordan Widdrington, Joe Watson, Cashel Chilvers; and backs Giles Dugdale, Richard McEvoy and Rick Halford.
In came forwards Rob Makin, Nick Ashton, colt Joe Johnson for his 1st team debut, and Zak Lythgoe who had supposedly “hung up” his boots several months ago; and backs Tom Baker, colt George Norman for his 1st team debut, and the welcome return of Andy Davies after many months injury.
Lymm kicked off with the advantage of the strong wind, however the first 20 mins was virtually spent in their own half with Hull dominating most of the possession. This resulted in their prop, Boothman, forcing himself over the line from a quick tap penalty after 3 mins and an easy conversion – 7-0. Then after 14mins, their speedy left winger Hihetah raced in at the corner after quick hands from a Hull scrum – 12-0.
Unfortunately, loose head prop, Dan Horton had to retire after 20 mins. Zak Lythgoe came on into the second row with versatile, Matty Connelly moving to prop. The next 10 mins saw Lymm pressurise the Hull defence, but unfortunately to no avail. A break on 30 minutes by Hihetah, weaving across the pitch to release full-back Birch to score a converted try – 19-0.
Hull continued their dominance into the final 5 mins of the half and further converted tries were scored by right wing Adlard and left wing Hihetah – 33-0.
On the stroke of half-time Tom Shard was yellow carded for a deliberate “knock-on” interfering in a Hull passing move. The key feature of the first half was the speed Hull moved the ball across the pitch to release their pacemen.
Hull restarted the 2nd half with the wind in their favour. Lymm moved Tom Baker to scrum-half in the enforced absence of Tom Shard, Tom Bray to fly-half, and Scott Redman to full-back. Despite being down to 14 men and playing against the wind, Lymm enjoyed decent levels of possession and territory advantage in the next 20 mins, during which saw the return of Tom Shard to full-back, Alfie Simpson moving to fly-half and the introduction of Andy Davies to scrum-half.
After 60 mins Hull again quickly moved the ball across the pitch to their right winger Adlard who ran in his second try ably converted – 40-0.
Lymm responded on 65 mins with Andy Davies emulating Hull’s quick ball tactics from scrums, moving the ball quickly across the backs for Tom Shard to join the attacking line and score from the half-way line, weaving past two defenders. This unaccustomed “burst of speed” and against a strong wind, unfortunately affected his conversion attempt, which under normal circumstances he would have made!! – 40-5.
In the final 10 mins Hull added 2 more tries from back-rower O’Donnell after a quick tap-penalty, and the paceman Hihetah for his 3rd try, both of which were converted – 54-5
“Although the score-line reflects a convincing win for Hull, Lymm can take positives from this match.” Commented Coach Fletcher.
“To play Hull with such a young side was always going to be tough but the boys committed themselves for the full 80 mins.
“The three Senior Colts making their 1st XV debut starts, Alfie Simpson, George Norman and Joe Johnson stepped up to the mark and were excellent, they didn’t look out of place, I hope that they enjoyed the experience. The Academy conveyor belt rolls on. It was also pleasing to see Andy Davies back on the pitch again.
“Fingers crossed, we will have a few more players back from injury this week, which should make selection for the Ilkley game interesting.”
Lymm have 4 matches left for the season starting with a home match against Ilkley on 23rd March, and with both Kendal and Vale of Lune losing this week are 12 points ahead of Kendal who currently are in the third relegation position.
Squad: 1) Dan Horton, 2) Adam Bray (C), 3) Nick Ashton, 4) Matty Connelly, 5) Aaron Rasheed, 6) Jake Ashall, 7) James Pitcher, 8) Joe Johnson, 9) Tom Shard, 10) Scott Redfern, 11) Tom Baker, 12) Ben Stansfield, 13) Tom Bray, 14) George Norman, 15) Alfie Simpson, 16) Andy Davies, 17) Zak Lythgoe, 18) Rob Makin