Lymm 33 Longton 11
WITH one foot too deeply immersed in the mire of relegation Lymm need every point they can get.
Happily they saw plenty in this crucial tie against a team who thumped them in the earlier meeting of the two.
The home side started very brightly but it was Longton who opened the scoring with a penalty.
Lymm responded quickly with a catch and drive from a line out being finished by Jordan Widdrington to gain a 5-3 lead.
Lymm then put together possibly their most consistent period of quality rugby of the season.
With everyone committing fully in defence the visitors were unable to make use of their superior size and speedy back line.
A number of potential attacks failed as Lymm's hustling defence forced knock-ons.
In attack Lymm were retaining ball, running sound support lines and making ground repeatedly.
A nicely-worked move down the Longton right wing saw Lymm cross the line but the try had benefitted from a forward pass and was disallowed.
Not to be thwarted Lymm attacked again and a patient offence saw Andy Rowley take an Adam Bray off load from just yards out to run in an easy score.
Cormac Nolan converted and Lymm lead 12-3.
The scoring was far from done for the first half though.
A clearing kick by Baker was retrieved excellently by the lively Dave Williamson; his break fed Sam Mullarkey (on one of his numerous support runs) who then put Dugdale in for another try under the posts.
Nolan converted again, 19-3.
Longton continued to try and put their attack together but had to settle for a well-taken penalty from the half way line.
Lymm secured the try bonus point with time still left in the first half.
With the team benefiting from Joe Knowles' short passing game Adam Bray made a strong break, and the ball was moved crisply via Knowles to Dugdale whose smart side step saw another five points under the posts.
An easy conversion from Nolan saw Lymm lead 26-6 at the half.
The second half started with an astute kick from Rowley taking Lymm to Longton's five-metre line.
The Staffs side secured their line out and cleared the threat.
However the very strong wind was hampering the visitors’ attempts to get out of their own half, with a number of kicks being blown back by the wind.
Lymm were unable to capitalise on their numerous chances until Sion Williams took a high ball in a similar manner to Williamson in the first half.
His powerful drive and dish to James Yates saw the latter race past Longton's defence and bundle over for a fine score.
Nolan converted again 33-6.
Nolan had earlier produced an exciting piece of rugby when he flicked a catch to the wing back into play before collecting it and breaking the attempted tackle to set up Bray and Mullarkey.
A knock-on scuppered the attack.
An injury to prop Widdrington followed by a yellow card for his front row colleague Ashton saw the visitors able to assert themselves a little more and with a period of play at last in the Lymm half they finished the days scoring with a well-taken try in the wing from a scrum.
Lymm took a well-deserved five points but were unable to move up in the table as the teams around them all produced crucial wins of their own.
Two matches against relegation rivals loom, alongside two contests against top four.
This level of commitment in defence and control in attack must be replicated to lift Lymm out of the drop zone.
Team: Widdrington, A Bray, Ashton, Yates, S Williams, Mullarkey, Oakes, Higginson, Baker, Knowles, T Bray, Dugdale, Williamson, Nolan, Rowley.
Subs: K Williams, McEvoy, Darbyshire.
Wirral 32 Lymm 28 IN an entertaining but error-strewn game Lymm lost this game in the last five minutes when they looked to have got themselves in a winning position.
In dry conditions and on a firm pitch for the first time in months Lymm started brightly and after slick handling and recycling of possession Jack Worton scooted over in the corner for the opening try.
Wirral hit back almost immediately and weak tackling allowed them to get close to the Lymm line.
Lymm repelled the first scrum but it was reset for Wirral to drive over for an unconverted try.
Lymm tried to attack but kept losing possession and from a turnover Wirral handled the along the line for their winger to score.
Lymm had a stroke of luck when a penalty kick hit the post and the ever alert Mark Sutton recovered the ball near the touchline evaded a tackle and offloaded to Steve Mahon who ran through three people to score an excellent try.
However as before Wirral struck back with a try by their winger after concerted pressure on Lymm's line making the score 15-10.
The last 10 minutes of the half belong to Lymm and good forward pressure resulted in two penalties from Rhys Jones to make the half time score 16-15 to Lymm.
The second started with Lymm having the strong slightly to their advantage.
However in the first ten minutes they made numerous errors which kept Wirral in the game.
However after a good scrum and recycling close to the Wirral line a long pass from Rhys Jones allowed Matthew Barnes Smith to get on the outside of his man and use his pace and strength to score and Rhys Jones converted.
But as before Wirral didn't give up and from a turnover they raced 50 metres to score a converted try.
Lymm continued to make errors but were dominating territory and after a rare passage of continuous play they created an overlap from which Ben Sherlock put the evergreen Mark Sutton in for a try.
At this stage 28-22 up and dominating territory Lymm should have gone on to win but Wirral had other ideas.
When loose play and weak tackling allowed the Wirral full back to break away from near his line and has they had done all afternoon they supported it well and ended up scoring a conversion to take the lead.
To rub salt into the wound Wirral finished the scoring with a penalty.
This was a very close game with Wirral playing good open rugby but Lymm could have won if they had controlled the ball better and made less mistakes.
It should be a lesson this young side learn from and take into the Cup game against Warrington next Saturday.
Team: O Askew, D Horton, H McCormack, A Halford, J Cartwright, B Sherlock, J Harper, M Sutton, J Worton, R Jones, S Mahon, M Barnes-Smith, J Millington, S Norman, J Lawson, P Griffiths.