Sunday 17th March 2019
HALBRO Snr Colts Conference ‘A’ League
BIRKENHEAD PARK U18’s 21 – 23 LYMM U18’s
Report by Matt Rooney
Lymm approached Birkenhead in trepidation on Sunday for our season defining show down with our arch rivals. The weather had played in to our opponents hands so much so that we anticipated a mud bath with lots of ‘grunt’ and very little opportunity for running rugby that our colts side are famous for. How wrong we were! The pitch was in excellent condition considering the appalling weather we had experienced. We had had the boost we required. Game on!
BP won the toss and elected to play with the strong wind in the first half. Lymm kicked off with Alfie Simpson, (1st XV for the last 2 matches), cleverly using the breeze to hang the ball in the air and allow our forwards to make their mark on the opposition immediately. A crunching tackle from Austin Carr set the tone for the game. BP struggled to get out of their own half and a penalty to Lymm on the 22 ensued. Alfie dispatched the kick and Lymm were on a roll…or so we thought.
Birkenhead are an excellent team who always respond to a score with a frenzy of passion and skill. It was Lymm’s turn to try and stem the tide of the red and white shirts. Lymm managed to restrict BP to a penalty. 3 – 3.
Lymm once again did their best to keep BP in their own half with some hard work around the fringes especially from Joe Johnson, a recent 1st XV debutant who had an outstanding game. Unfortunately any team that has the newly signed Caldy scrum half in their ranks will struggle against a strong wind. The ball was kicked repeatedly behind the Lymm back 3 until eventually a try was awarded despite the referee signalling that the ball was held up but he was overruled by his touch judge. A superb kick meant that a 10-3 lead had tested Lymm’s mettle. More was to follow with a driving maul from a line out. Lymm had to stop the penalty count and restrict the BP half backs space and time. 15 – 3.
Lymm punched their way up the field with some awesome carries by the boys in green, in particular Josh Hadland who was a warrior throughout the afternoon. A gap eventually appeared and with some quick hands another 1st team debutant this season, Joe senior flew under the posts for a crucial try. 15-8. A BP penalty followed so the half time score was 18-8.
HT 18 – 8
Lymm had an uphill climb but they were confident in their abilities despite the linesman claiming a phantom try had been scored. Thankfully the Lymm team manager Mick Norman had been keeping score and the referee concurred.
Lymm went about their business in the second half with controlled aggression, pace, skill and determination. There were some brutal collisions that were necessary to create the gaps for the Lymm backs. All Lymm forwards put in heroic shifts putting their bodies on the line. These resulted in the loss of Harry Ratcliffe and Josh Hadland to bad injuries. Lymm had to play with 14 men for much of the half but still they would not be beaten. A penalty was earned and coolly dispatched from distance by Rhys Price. 18-11.
Lymm had the momentum. George Norman, yet another recent 1st team debutant, found. He glided through the BP defence as if it did not exist. George is a Rolls Royce when in top gear. It was an outstanding try which was converted, 18- 18.
Birkenhead fought back as they always do. Their strength is formidable. Lymm were forced to pull down yet another rolling maul. 21-18. Lymm had to strike back fast!
Alfie Simpson orchestrated the clincher with his dancing feet and sharp awareness. Joe Senior flew on to his pass and hurtled under the posts for his second try. Unfortunately the ball fell off the tee as Rhys was about to strike the conversion. Could this be crucial? 21- 23
BP threw everything at Lymm and were camped on our line. A penalty was awarded deep in to injury time in a very kickable position. Lymm hearts sank. Amazingly BP went for the corner! Lymm’s guts and sheer will saw them through and a turnover on the line won the game for the boys in green. Champions for the second year running!
An outstanding achievement after losing over half the team to representative rugby for most of the season and their skipper, James Rooney succumbing to a season ending injury playing for the 1st XV in October. This really was a squad triumph, including the help and support of Kerry Anderson and his Junior Colts squad. Hats off to David Simpson and his coaches for maintaining the team spirit and organisation that pulled the team through some difficult times but resulted in the glory that they deserved. On top of this, 5 members of the squad have represented the 1st XV and many more for the 2nd team. Now for a Cheshire Cup tie on Friday 29th March, again v Birkenhead Park and finally the League Cup Final.
Squad: Ratcliffe (c), Hadland, Peers, Carr, Bushell, Johnson, Yates, McCauley, Aird, Simpson, Brown, Norman, Price, Inman, Senior, Wadsworth, Heaton, Dickenson, Smith, Hopkinson.
Halbro Colts League – Presentation Evening
Conference ‘A’ League Champions – Lymm U18 Senior Colts