Saturday 9th February 2019
RFU NORTH PREMIER LEAGUE
LYMM 17 – 34 KIRKBY LONSDALE
Report by David Fernyhough
A sense of apprehension surrounded Crouchley Lane ahead of this contest between 5th and 4th bottom. Recent Lymm performances had been disappointing and the hope was that coach Fletchers lads could summon up the self-belief to draw clear of the relegation zone.
The early stages saw both sides sparring without landing any blows. Lymm’s defence which has been so different to the “all for one”, high intensity model employed last season, seemed to look more solid, with all Kirkby Lonsdale attacks being pushed back. The breakthrough however came as the home side switched off and gifted their opponents an easy score. A break down the right wing had been excellently stopped by full back Scott Redfern. However the referee brought KL back to 15 metres directly in front of Lymm’s posts for an infringement in the build-up. The visitors ran to the ref to take a quick tap and go. Lymm however seemed to stay where they were and watched the try being scored. This was easily converted, 0 – 7.
Lymm responded, and showed that they can put attacks together still. However they were victim of relentless penalties at the ruck, and every opportunity fizzled out with the referees whistle.
Scott Redfern makes a break
However it would be a penalty against the visitors that would allow Lymm to open their account. Following a fine break by Scott Redfern, a penalty was awarded to Lymm when a KL prop was yellow carded. Tom Shard kicked the penalty and took the score to 3 – 7.
Being a man up, Lymm began to have the better of possession but the relentless sound of the referees whistle ensured nothing would come of it, despite a very elaborate Jordan Widdrington off load that allowed Giles Dugdale to threaten. Lymm built on this field position, and patiently built pressure near KLs line. Then came the refs whistle again and Lymm were punished for running into their own man.
Joe Watson on the attack
The visitors kicked long and recovered their own kick on half way. A line out went their way, and once more Lymm seemed to switch off allowing the right winger to attack the end of the line out and run from half way to score. Again the extra points were good, 3 – 14.
Another yellow card was brandished for a high tackle by KL, and Lymm took advantage this time. From the scrum James Kimber hit a good line and raced into space to score and bring Lymm back into the game. Shard converted, 10 – 14.
James Kimber crosses for Lymm
The half petered out with no additional scoring, although there was one of the most time consuming scrums in living memory to thrill the crowd.
Lymm started the second half with some brisk attacks but penalties at the breakdown continued to thwart them. KL were not suffering the same fate and enjoyed taking advantage of Lymm’s offences. A 10m line out maul was apparently brought down and Adam Bray was the next player to be yellowed. They then capitalised on their possession with a simple enough score from a ruck. Again their awareness and quick thinking maybe contrasting with the home side’s sluggishness. 10 – 21. Tom Bray probably expressed this contrast best when he exhorted his team mates to “stop bloomin watching” (although he didn’t say bloomin).
Wonky line outs, knock-ons, risky off-loads, more penalties, yet more yellow cards (Jake Ashall for a high tackle, and Gav Woods for playing rugby) and poor kicking, conspired to keep 13 man Lymm away from any semblance of coming back into the game. Until a bit of class from old stager, Tom Baker. Fielding a dangerous KL kick into Lymm’s in goal area, Baker spun away from the opposition and made yards before a deep kick. His moment of confidence and focus woke up his team mates and Lymm were back in the opposing 22m for the first time in many minutes. A penalty to Lymm in midfield was taken quickly by Aaron Rasheed who fed Matty Hands who barged his way over the line to bring Lymm into losing bonus point range. Tom Shard’s excellent conversion did just that, 17 – 24.
The breath of life Bakers intervention had breathed into the team did not last long and KL responded with a try scored right through the middle of Lymm’s defensive line, 17 – 31. Lymm did manage one more attack to try and wrestle that bonus point back but, despite the pea in the ref’s whistle being almost eroded away through the friction caused by constantly rattling around, there was still enough of it left to shrilly end Lymm’s hopes.
Final score, 17 – 31.
Kirkby Lonsdale were worthy winners. They were more aggressive, more alert, and more composed. Lymm’s young team looked demoralised and frustrated. The individuals are talented enough to be being better, but as so often happens to teams under stress they sometimes seem so focused on not failing as individuals that they forget their role in ensuring they don’t fail as a team.
In the club house everyone had words of advice and support for any coach or player they happened upon, but it will be the players themselves who will discover how to get back to winning ways and enjoying playing alongside their talented mates.
The bottom three teams all lost, so Lymm remain 4th from bottom, (3 go down). Next week it is onward to 2nd from bottom, Vale of Lune, KO 2.15pm. Supporters must bring their own medication – heart pills, smelling salts and nurses etc., these will not be provided by the club.
Team: 1) Gav Woods, 2) Adam Bray (c), 3) Jordan Widdrington, 4) Matty Connolly, 5) Aaron Rasheed, 6) Jake Ashall, 7) James Pitcher, 8) Joe Watson, 9) Tom Shard, 10) Tom Bray, 11) Giles Dugdale, 12) James Kimber, 13) Ben Stansfield, 14) Luke Richards, 15) Scott Redfern, 16) Rob Makin, 17) Matty Hand, 18) Tom Baker.