For Brendan... A Win Over 2nd-Placed Lymm
Brendan our linesman, who is now recovering well in hospital after a lengthy operation on Tuesday, would have welcomed the style of this win at The Memorial Ground on Saturday.
For the home game against promotion seeking Lymm, Wirral made a number of changes from the game against Harrogate: Jack Yarker
and Matt Dowler
came in for Steve Pendergast
and James Reeve
respectively who were now on the subs bench. DAN HARVEY pulled out with an ankle injury so Mark Williams
moved into the centre with Mark Gidman
on the wing. Ryan Stead
was the third member of the subs bench.
Wirral were keen to avenge the defeat at Lymm earlier in the season when they had 3 injuries during the game to key players which thwarted any chance of winning the game. It was Wirral playing against the wind towards the clubhouse who started the game the stronger containing play to midfield as Lymm looked to use the wind to make ground.
After 11 mins Lymm had the chance to take the lead with a penalty from virtually in front of the posts from 30m but the kick from Cormac Nolan hit the post and Wirral cleared. Wirral were looking to play an expansive game but a wild pass in midfield enabled Lymm to collect the ball and move the ball down the right through several pairs of hands which ended with Nolan scoring in the corner, he also missed the conversion. (0-5 19 mins). 8 minutes later a Lymm attack was broken up when Paul Lewis
intercepted the pass and was “flying” down the wing before off-loading to Mark Gidman
who ran in from 20m to score wide out, great conversion from James Annetts
to give Wirral the lead, 7-5.
In the period before half-time, Wirral extended their lead to 10-5 with a 30m penalty from James Annetts
but in the 47th minute of the first half, Rob Pearl
was sin binned for deliberately holding up play and a simple penalty from Nolan gave a half-time score of 10-8.
Immediately after half time, Lymm took the lead with an easy penalty for Nolan 10-11. On 46 mins James Annetts
had a penalty kick from 50 m which just missed the upright but 3 minutes later he restored Wirral’s lead with a penalty from 40m, after the penalty had been reversed in Wirral’s favour. At this stage there were a number of injuries to players and this was all being taken into account by the referee, who incidentally was the same as we had at Harrogate last week and it was also his last game of refereeing as he was emigrating to Australia the following day.
Both teams were kicking tactically for territory, Wirral with long kicks downfield with Lymm putting in grubber kicks to put the ball behind the Wirral defence and make them turn. On 24 mins the Lymm scrumhalf made a defence splitting break of some 40m before being tackled but the ball was controlled and Wirral contained the situation only to give a penalty away under the sticks which Nolan easily converted to give Lymm a 13-14 lead.
It was not until the 65th minute that Wirral made their first changes with Ryan Stead
and JAMES REEVES coming on for Paul Lewis
and Matt Dowler
, the latter having a good first starting game. The kicking game came into play as Wirral made good ground and pressure resulted in Lymm not clearing far downfield. Wirral controlled the ball well and edged forward as they looked for a weakness in the Lymm defence and after a number of passes the ball went wide where Keith Mahon
took the ball and crashed over the whitewash with two would be tacklers hanging on to touch down, 7 metres from the corner flag. Another great conversion from James Annetts
increased the Wirral lead to 20-14 with a presumed 8 minutes to go. Steve Pendergast
came on for Chris Hughes
Play was back down in the Lymm 20m area where Wirral were looking to play out time and contain Lymm but a break by the fly half took play down to the other end of the field, where the game was played out for 8 more agonising minutes. Lymm ploughed in knowing a converted try would give them the lead but the Wirral defence held. Still the referee played on as Lymm retained possession and the Wirral defence made solid, the ball came loose and Chris Hughes
(on for Jack Yarker
) dived on the ball only for Lymm to win back, an agonising minute later the ball was recovered by Rob Pearl
and taken by Josh Stead
who booted the ball into touch to end the game after another 48 minute half.
It was a good contest between two equal teams with Wirral perhaps just shading it in the kicking stakes. Wirral remain in 6th place and next week are away at Morley, for details of travelling see noticeboard for the time the coach leaves.