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After starting the season with six wins from six and strolling to a 40 – 0 victory at the weekend, you would think that life couldn’t be easier for coaches Fletcher and Millington at the moment. The old guard of Higginson, Mullarkey and the Brays look sharp, players like Nolan, McEvoy, Kimber, Horton and Connelly have matured into the outstanding talents that we all knew they could be and the more recent acquisitions of Davies, Redfern and Woods are directing the team from the front with great skill and intelligence. So surely there are no issues to worry about as we head into a cup semi-final weekend?
Lymm RFC haven’t tasted cup success since a Cheshire Cup Plate Final victory over Wilmslow back in the 2009. They came close to adding to that success when they narrowly lost out to Sale in the Cheshire Cup Final of 2010, but nobody could really argue that Sale were the better side on the day. However this year, Lymm have already proved that they are the best team in the vase competition, they have already dismantled Wirral and the two remaining teams in the competition are a Sandbach team currently struggling in 9th place in the Midlands league, and Birkenhead Park who were completely outclassed at Beechwood last weekend. So, is it full steam ahead to cup success or is it time to rest some of our star players ahead of a very long season?
Fletcher had decided on what they would do if this dilemma arose well before the season had started, “We had always planned on using the Cheshire Vase as an opportunity to rest players and give the lads in the 2nd team a chance to impress. It is imperative that we have competition for places and Saturday will hopefully increase that competition. We also spoke in the summer about resting players when we get the chance. We lost momentum last season due to a long injury list and we were not able to look after the health of our players to the extent that we wanted to. The Northern Premier is a physically demanding league and we can’t just expect the lads to keep putting on their boots with total disregard for their bodies. It is our job as coaches to protect them when needed”.
It is clear that Fletcher is prioritising the league campaign but that doesn’t mean that he isn’t dreaming of cup success. ”We fully believe that the squad picked for Saturday will be very competitive. I am not disrespecting the competition by resting players. We want to win it and I believe that the squad has the depth to do so”. Woods, Higginson, the Brays, Mullarkey, Sutherland, Horton, Davies, Nolan and Kimber are all rested for the weekend but it shows the strength in depth that Lymm have nowadays as they are heading down to Wirral with a very talented and experienced squad that includes the likes of Auden, Widdrington, Ashall, McEvoy and Kerr.
In the league, Wirral are sitting down in 9th place and a title charge looks to be out of reach already. Surely they will be targeting the Cheshire Vase as their only chance of silverware this season and Lymm will need to be on top form to gain victory. However, with so many of Lymm’s star players rested, it is a massive opportunity for the so called second string to put a marker down, and what a marker that will be if they beat one of the leagues strongest teams away from home. Good luck lads.


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