Wirral Win Through to the Final
Wirral win an encounter between much-changed sides from the league game.
Firstly apologies for no match report on the Billingham game last week but the writer was recovering from surgery.
Today was the semi- final of the Cheshire Vase against Lymm following our victory against Altrincham Kersal at the beginning of the season. Both Wirral and Lymm made a number of significant changes to their respective teams as they took the chance to rest players before the league matches recommence next week.
Wirral brought in DAN HARVEY for his first game of the season, Jason Green at hooker and Jamie Thompson on his return from South Africa. 5 substitutes are allowed but Wirral only named 4 given the shortage of players for the other senior teams. Chris Speed flew in from Dubai and was drafted in as the fourth sub. Conditions were ideal for rugby and Wirral played towards the road in the first half.
From the kick off, Lymm were put under pressure and on the third penalty, the away side suffered their first yellow card after 5 minutes. From this position Wirral put pressure on the Lymm line before a weighted cross kick from Craig Harvey to the right wing saw brother, DAN, easily collect and touch down. The conversion from the touchline by James Annetts hit the left hand side upright.
Wirral were in control and making a number of breaks but were not just finishing these off but the Lymm defence was being slowly dismantled. After being held up in the Wirral 20m area, a scrum was won and picked up by Rob Pearl, who passed onto Craig Harvey before an astute inside pass to James Annetts, who crossed 10m from the posts and the same player surprisingly missed the conversion. 10-0 (19 minutes). 5 minutes later from a similar position, Craig Harvey forced his way over the line close to the posts and was duly converted by JAMES- 17-0.
Lymm came back into the game aided by penalties and from such an attacking position, the Lymm centre was sin binned. Lymm themselves were denied a try when attacking the Wirral line the ball was stolen in the tackle and Wirral were able to clear. The home side were then camped in the Lymm 20m area, whose defence held out against a number of thrusts by the Wirral forwards, the ball came out wide and a long pass to the right wing saw DAN HARVEY dive over in the corner, the conversion was missed. 22-0 at half time.
Immediately after the break, Wirral were back on the attack and from a 10m scrum, Wirral went blind and Craig Harvey scrambled over for a try wide out, the conversion was missed. 27-0. At this stage, Wirral made a number of changes, with Steve Pendergast and Chris Tyson coming on for Jack Yarker and Tom Parry with MATT DALTON moving into the back row.
Good inter-passing saw Lymm break out from their half and the try was finished off by Rhys Jones and converted by Tom Shard. Rob Pearl came off injured to be replaced by Chris Speed. At this stage the Wirral game fell apart as they were losing balls in the tackle and trying to make that extra pass instead of controlling the ball as had been the case in the first half. Lymm took advantage of this when turning over a Wirral ball after a long kick downfield, scored a further try which was converted, 27-14 after 58 minutes. To put themselves two scores ahead, Wirral took the next penalty opportunity to score 3 points through James Annetts, 30-14 (62 minutes). Keith Mahon came on for Sam Broadbent and 5 minutes later Jamie Thompson and Steve Pendergast came off to be replaced by Tom Parry and Jack Yarker.
Wirral made the game save when Ryan Higginson from 20m out received the ball and despite having a number of defenders around him stayed on his feet and progressed through these would be tacklers to touch down under the posts, converted by James Annetts to give Wirral a 37-14 lead. The kick off was caught by Wirral who were then stripped of the ball and the Lymm forward proceeded to outpace the Wirral defence to score wide out. 37-19. Almost immediately, as Wirral took their foot off the pedal Lymm scored again to reduce the deficit to 37-26 as Lymm sought an unlikely victory. With the clock ticking over 40 minutes, Wirral were awarded a penalty and went for the 5m line out. Taken by MATT DALTON and passed onto Paul Lewis who dummied the Lymm player before crossing over the whitewash, the conversion was missed and it was not Jimmy’s day for kicking. On 47 minutes of the second half the match came to the end with Wirral looking forward to their Cup Final day in May next year against Sandbach or Birkenhead Park.
There was some good play for this Wirral team today especially in the first half but need to tighten up on ball retention in the tackle and not making that extra pass instead of taking the tackle and starting the move again.
Next week Wirral are at home to Sandal and the kick off will revert to 3.00pm until the end of October.
More pictures of the game here