WITH a victory scoreline of 46-10 the final score suggests Lymm had an easy day against Wirral, when in reality this was a tough challenge, against determined opposition.
Coach Adam Fletcher had a few changes to make to his matchday roster, and gave a home league debut to young prop James Sherlock. Scott Redfern continued to deputise for full-back Cormac Nolan.
From the kick-off Wirral put Lymm under pressure, twice being tackled into touch just feet from the try line. Lymm eventually found front foot with Adam Bray making good yards down the middle of the pitch but his pass was knocked on 15 metres out. This was to be the pattern for much of the game.
A penalty to Lymm came next allowing them to set up a line out inside Wirral’s 22 metre line. Oil Higginson made the first of his many line breaks before slipping a well-timed pass to Hooker Rob Makin who crossed the try line but was held up.
Next Scott Redfern attacked, creating space for himself with a dummy. Again his pass was knocked on in the tackle.
Finally, Lymm got a reward for their crisp offloading and strong support play with Redfern kicking a penalty from in front of the posts to make it 3 -0.
Higginson and centre Steve Pilkington both initiated further Lymm attacks, both running out of space as the scrambling Wirral defence hauled them down, and Lymm were dominating possession. The visitors though capitalised on the opportunity that came their way after Lymm were penalised in Wirral territory. They kicked for a line out in Lymm’s 22, and after some deft handling were able to score from close range. The conversion was missed, 3 v 5.
Lymm’s response was immediate. With a counter-attack that ignites faster than a Wythenshawe alehouse they found space on the right-wing and Pilkington fed winger Sam Wadsworth who finished well, 8 v 5. Conversion missed.
From the restart Wirral worked their way back into Lymm’s red zone, and Lymm were soon down to 14 men with James Sherlock yellow carded for a high tackle. Lymm defended bravely and Wirral were unable to gain from the penalty and trouble the broken scoreboard. Half time 8 v 5.
After the interval, Wirral twice came close. A dangerous break was interrupted by Tom Brays covering tackle, but the second attack saw Lymm penalised for the umpteenth time and Wirral patiently take advantage to score a try very similar to their first one and take the lead 8 v 10. Again the conversion was missed. Their lead was to be short-lasting however.
Prop Kurt Riley bludgeoned his way through the middle of the Wirral defensive line to give the home side a good position to attack from. More offloads and crisp passing ensued and finally Tom Bray was able to twist his way to score, and with Redfern’s conversion Lymm lead 15 v 10.
Further Lymm breaks from Ben Stansfield and Tom Bray were yet again knocked on with the try line calling. The second effort seemed a certain try but came unstuck at the last moment.
A clash of heads between two Wirral players brought things to a halt for some time, thankfully those involved were able to walk away in the end. When play resumed so did the pattern of Lymm not capitalising on the opportunities they created.
Wirral were still in the game at this point, and won a penalty for Lymm offside when in possession of the ball. The Lymm support were expressing their nervousness at this point and ruminating on whether the chances dropped might prove decisive in the end. The kick was missed.
The arrival on the pitch of veteran prop Gav Woods seemed to bring some composure to Lymm’s attack and the onslaught began.
Scintillating attacks saw first Gregor Watson and then Paddy Jennings crossed the line, with Redfern converting both, taking Lymm’s lead to 29 v 10, and securing the try bonus point.
Watson got a second try soon after, with Wadsworth’s break and miss pass putting him in plenty of space. Redfern again converted, 36 v 10.
Wirral now looked tired and unable to cope with Lymm’s pace and ball movement, and now the passes were sticking for Lymm. The irrepressible Oli Higginson tore through the Merseysider’s failing defence and Watson finished for his hattrick to make it 4310.
With seconds left on the clock Redfern kicked a simple penalty and took the final score to 46 v 10.
This was a hugely impressive performance by Adam Fletcher’s boys. For much of the game their adventurous approach was not bearing fruit but they stuck with it and were rewarded in spades. In fact it seems clear that this engaging style of rugby is in the DNA of every member of the largely homegrown squad.
TEAM: Kurt Riley, Rob Makin, James Sherlock, James Yates, Matt Connolly, Adam Bray, Harry Martin, Oli Higginson, Gregor Watson, Tom Bray, Sam Wadsworth, Liam Connolly, Ste Pilkington, Ben Stansfield, Scott Redfern, Gav Woods, plus 2 not on sheet