Lymm outgunned on Humberside


FOLLOWING a narrow victory by the odd point in November between these two sides, Lymm headed to Humberside on Saturday hoping to add to their league points tally.

With both these sides sitting at the wrong end of the table, league points in the 7 remaining fixtures would likely be vital in their quest for survival in the National Leagues.

Lymm made two changes in personnel from the squad that secured a narrow win against Otley last time out, with the unavailable Ralph McEachran and the injured Josh Hadland being replaced by Andy Rowley and the returning Cash Chilvers. Changes to the starting line-up had the experienced Gav Woods and Oli Higginson promoted from the bench.

Glorious weather, little wind and a fine-looking pitch nestled alongside Ionians’ impressive clubhouse greeted the players. The early exchanges were very even in terms of possession, but the play was mostly in Lymm’s territory as they found it challenging to break down Ionians’ well drilled defence and were often on the back foot as the Yorkshiremen’s attack just seemed to have that extra ounce of bite. It was in trying to give the ball width to breakdown Ionians’ defence that Lymm gifted the first score to their opponents. On 12 minutes, and just inside their own half, Lymm moved the ball across their backline towards the left flank, but a pass was intercepted by, of all people, the Ionians tight-head prop Euan Walker, who showed an impressive turn of pace to bear down on the Lymm tryline. Although hauled down just short of the line, support was on hand from winger Samuel Wilson to pick up the recycled ball and dot down next to the uprights, giving full-back Lewis Minikin a simple conversion. 7-0
Five minutes later, Lymm made their first serious foray into the Ionians’ 22 when centre James Kimber made an excellent break through the defensive line but, unfortunately, his deft “out of the back of the hand” offload to winger Paddy Jennings just failed to come off and Lymm’s progress stalled.

On 23 minutes, Ionians registered their second try, an individual effort from winger Wilson. A booming clearance kick from Lymm was collected by Minikin who fed Wilson on his own 10m line. Lymm players were quickly on hand to bring the winger down, which it appeared they had, however Wilson somehow wriggled free and, faced with acres of grass in front of him, turned on the after burners to score under the posts for a try converted by Minikin. 14-0
Having contributed in some way to Ionians’ two tries, Lymm needed to bounce back, and this they did on 26 minutes. Collecting a chip kick in their own half Lymm made good yards through the Ionians’ defence, with Higginson and Kimber to the fore. Rhys Lilly then made a telling break into the 22 and with Ste Pilkington for support was able to draw the last defender and put his centre in for a try 15m in from the right-hand touchline. Tom Shard was unable to add the extras. 14-5
In the dying moments of the first half, Lymm were awarded a penalty. A kick to touch gave Lymm a line-out just inside their hosts’ 22, from which a potent driving maul headed purposefully towards the Yorkshiremen’s tryline. It looked for all money that the forwards would cross the line, but the maul went to ground agonisingly short. Scrum-half Cal Morris gathered the ball but, in his efforts to dot the ball down, lost control and Ionians were able to kick the ball off the park to bring the half to a close. It felt at the time that this was an important moment in the match as it had an impact both on the scoreboard and momentum.

Half Time: HULL IONIANS 14 – LYMM 5.

Early in the second half Ionians lost the services of influential Number 8, Allan Hudson, to a nasty looking ankle injury but this didn’t seem to dent their confidence as, on 45 minutes they added to their try tally. From a scrum 10m from the Lymm line the ball was moved to the right where Minikin stretch out to score, 10m in from the right-hand touchline for an unconverted try. 19-5
Back came Lymm with a period of sustained pressure in the Ionians’22. Lymm seemed to be knocking at the tryline door for an age – probably 30 plus phases of possession. The Ionians defensive organisation was impressive, making Lymm work exceptionally hard for every inch of territory. In the end a chink appeared in their defensive armour and, on 52 minutes, Chilvers was able to force his way over by the posts. Shard added the conversion. 19-12
The Lymm camp was now hoping that this signalled a change in momentum, but unfortunately a bad 7-minute spell followed as Ionians registered a further 2 tries. The first by flanker James Sanderson crowning an excellent phase of powerful forward surges; and the second a well worked score by fly-half Charlie Kirk who was on hand to support a run down the left flank by winger Alfredo Celella. With one try converted, the score moved to 31-12 after 60 minutes.
With the prospects of securing a win fading, Lymm’s efforts were now really focused on registering a try or losing bonus point or both. The opportunities certainly seemed to be there as the game became looser and players tired, but errors – both forced and unforced – continued to thwart Lymm’s purposeful efforts. On 69 minutes, a third try did follow. Again, concerted pressure in the Ionians “red zone” was met with resolute defending which was only breached when Morris threw a long pass out to the right wing which Nathan Beesley collected, stepping inside his man to score from 5m. Jack Reynolds added the conversion. 31-19.
Lymm now upped the ante as they strove for the try which would reap 2 league points. On 73 minutes Reynolds made an outstanding break from inside his own half, scything through the Ionians defence. As he bore down on the Ionians line, he worked to link with his supporting players for what looked a certain try, only for the last Ionians defender to get in the way of his pass and frustrate the move. Lymm came close again from the last play, when an attacking 5m lineout promised much but failed to deliver as the ball was secured in scrappy fashion and subsequently lost in contact. A frustrating end to an entertaining match.

Full Time: HULL IONIANS 31 – LYMM 19

Whilst Lymm didn’t quite seem to have brought their A game with them all credit must go to Ionians who were excellent – indeed, unfortunately for Lymm, the Ionians spectators said that this had been their best performance of the season.
Director of Rugby Adam Fletcher, commented: “We didn’t match Ionians’ energy and intensity. I thought they defended extremely well and took their chances well. We were a little bit off in all areas and at this level you get punished. I was happy with how we rallied in the last 10 minutes but, ultimately, we left ourselves with too much to do.
“We will review and recover and I’m sure we will be better when we face Hull at home in 2 weeks’ time, on Sat March 9th”.

Gav Woods (126); Rob Makin* (58); Matty Hand* (101); Ben Thompson (26); James Yates* (c) (116); Rhys Lilly* (49); Harry Martin (49); Oli Higginson* (257); Callum Morris (32); Tom Shard* (130); Paddy Jennings* (46); Ste Pilkington* (61); James Kimber* (105); Nathan Beesley* (64); Jack Reynolds (17). Bench – James Pitcher* (61); Jordan Widdrington* (238); Cashel Chilvers (21); Andy Rowley* (70); Alfie Simpson* (25).
( ) = number of Lymm First XV League appearances
* Former Lymm Academy/M&J player


About Author

Experienced journalist for more than 40 years. Managing Director of magazine publishing group with three 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. Chair of Warrington Healthwatch Director Warrington Chamber of Commerce Patron Tim Parry Johnathan Ball Foundation for Peace. Trustee Warrington Disability Partnership. Former Chairman of Warrington Town FC.

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