Report by Neil Allen
LYMM welcomed Carlisle to Beechwood for the last home game before Christmas, running out victors by 50-32 following an impressive first half performance.
It was well over twenty-years since the clubs last met. Over the years the various club fortunes have fluctuated but they met with only two league places separating them and with Carlisle coming off the back of an excellent home victory against Harrogate.
Lymm’s form was also good and they were in confident mood, looking to preserve their proud unbeaten record on the new 4G pitch.
Notable team changes saw the return of Captain Adam Bray from injury. His brother Tom was passed to play, following his red card and Steve Pilkington continued his successful centre partnership with James Kimber.
Lymm started brightly with forwards and backs combining in phases across the pitch, probing the Carlisle defensive line. The visitor’s defence stood firm and Lymm, in the urgency to find a way through, threw an intercepted pass, giving the Carlisle winger a free run in under the posts. A few minutes later and Lymm were penalised for a high tackle. 5 minutes in and 8-0 down, this was not what was planned.
Lymm however were not deterred and this is a team that have a clear confidence in their game plan of open fast paced rugby, particularly on the 4G pitch. After 10-minutes, Lymm secured a turn-over at the line out. Joe Senior on the far left wing immediately called a move and in the blink of an eye Steve Pilkington and Senior had combined to send Nathan Beesley over, breath-taking stuff, which was to be the hors d’oeuvre for what was to come later in the half. Cormac Nolan converted the score and indeed kicked superbly all day, 7-8.
Carlisle came back at Lymm and at this point it was their turn to test Lymm’s defence. One such sojourn was stopped by a thundering tackle from James Lewis, who tackled superbly all day. The tackle forced a penalty which Nolan duly slotted to take it to 10-8 to Lymm. Things remained tight, with playing flowing from end to end. Carlisle then received a penalty, which their equally reliable kicker Jason Isreal slotted to make it 10-11.
It seemed it was going to be nip and tuck all day, then on the half-hour everything changed. Firstly, Aaron Rasheed led a break-out making excellent yards up the field, just bring held short of the line. Then various close-quarter surges ended with Cash Chilvers going over from close range, Nolan adding the extras, Lymm now had their noses in front at 17-11.
Worse was to follow for Carlisle who received a yellow card for a high-tackle. Sensing an opportunity Lymm turned on the pace and the last few minutes of the half witnessed some of the best scores seen at Beechwood for a long-time. First Joe Senior squeezed over through an improbable touch-line gap, his dancing feet leaving the Carlisle defenders in his wake. Next a flowing backs move executed at devastating pace saw Senior flying over for his second score. Not to be out done by his wing partner, immediately from the re-start Lymm put it through the hands again and it was Beesley’s turn to race over with Carlisle left chasing air. In the blink of an eye Lymm were now 36-11 at half-time up with the bonus point in the bag.
The second half began and it was evident that Carlisle were not going to lie down and let Lymm run riot. Seven minutes in and Carlisle were rewarded with a try to make it 36-18. This woke Lymm up and Tom Bray laid off a superb inside ball for Nathan Beesley to scamper over and complete his hat-trick. With play pretty even, James Kimber finally found some space and fed James Lewis who was stopped agonisingly short of the line. A deserved try sadly eluded James, who had been superb all day, Steve Pilkington was however on hand to pick up the recycled ball and with Nolan converting both ties, bring up Lymm’s half century, 50-18.
For the rest of the game Lymm took their foot of the gas (literally) and rang the changes, emptying the bench. Carlisle who kept coming at Lymm all day finished stronger, led by their excellent scrum-half, they were rewarded with two-further tries and a deserved bonus point. Final score 50-32.
This was an excellent performance and result for Lymm, as make no mistake Carlisle were very good but for certain periods they could simply not live with the pace and precision of the Lymm back-line and the flying wing twins. Roll on Macclesfield away next week for the last game before Christmas. Lymm will be travelling to their Cheshire neighbours more optimistically than they may have done a few weeks ago. Hopefully there will be a good turn-out to support the boys.
With Lymm 2nd team also recording a 78 -14 win over Rossendale 2’s and moving into second place in the Cotton Traders Premiership, DoR and Head Coach, Adam Fletcher, was highly satisfied with the overall strength of his frontline playing squad. Unlike this time last season, when the injury list was growing alarmingly.
“We still have a number of key players on the injury list but hopefully they will be fit to play in the early New Year,” he commented.
“There is still a lot more to be seen from these boys, who are getting used to the pitch now and starting to use it to our advantage. The tries that we scored in the first half were exceptional. Although at 50 – 18, we had the game won but took our foot off the gas and conceded a couple of late tries. We must learn from this to retain our concentration and defensive discipline through to the final whistle. But overall, really happy with the win against a very good Carlisle side.
“The final test of the first half of the season is away to Macclesfield next Saturday. We are looking forward to the challenge and hopefully we can secure the points before 19 year old Joe Senior leaves for a 6 months stay in New Zealand in January.”
1. Gavin Woods, 2. Cashel Chilvers, 3. Jordan Widdrington, 4. Aaron Rasheed, 4. Will Baldwin, 6. Adam Bray (C), 7. James Lewis, 8. Joe Watson, 9. Cormac Nolan, 10. Scott Redfern, 11. Joe Senior, 12. James Kimber, 13. Steve Pilkington, 14. Nathan Beesley, 15. Tom Bray, 16. Matty Hand, 17. Josh Hadland, 18. Ben Stansfield.