DIRECTOR of rugby Adam Fletcher has praised the impact youngster Joe Senior has had on the Lymm RFC first team.

Saturday’s 27-15 loss at Macclesfield was the winger’s final game before he leaves for a six-month trip to New Zealand in January.

Senior was one of five players to finish Saturday’s game who were in last year’s senior colts team, and Fletcher says that shows the club’s academy is in a healthy state.

“Joe has been outstanding for us this season, scoring some excellent tries. He has developed into a top quality winger,” he said.

“I would like to thank him and wish him well for his trip. His presence in the first team will be missed.

“It was great to end the game with 5 of last year’s senior colts on the pitch. The Lymm Academy production line is very healthy.”

Lymm break for Christmas sat in sixth place in the North Premier table and will start 2020 safely ensconced in mid-table.

Unfortunately, they could not end 2019 on a high against their Cheshire neighbours, who are flying high in third.

Fletcher hailed his side’s “heroic” defending as they put themselves in a winning position before Macclesfield were able to make the most of their dominance late on.

“Macc deserved the win,” he said.

“They were dominant in the set piece and this obviously made it difficult for us to get into the game.

“We defended heroically throughout – the defence and attitude put us in a position after 60 minutes to win the game.

“Unfortunately, the lack of possession in the last 20 minutes really hurt us.”

Macclesfield were physically dominant but it took 15 minutes to turn it into points as they scored the game’s opening try from an attacking scrum.

Lymm held the ball up on their own line three times before the hosts eventually broke through again, but a Cormac Nolan penalty allowed them to narrow the deficit.

The visitors seized the initiative and when Nolan put up a steepling cross-field kick, Aaron Rasheed gobbled it up for their first try.

After the break, Lymm broke out from their own 22 and then turned the ball over close to the Macclesfield line to allow Josh Hadland to score and put them ahead.

The hosts responded with an unconverted try to level matters inside the final quarter.

Lymm were still very much in the game but a knock-on while in attacking territory denied them a crucial score, and Macclesfield accepted the invitation to take the game away from them.

Now, the long wait to put things right starts – their next game is on Saturday, January 4, when Alnwick visit Beechwood.

Lymm: Gavin Woods, Cashel Chilvers, Jordan Widdrington, Aaron Rasheed, Will Baldwin, Jake Ashall, Josh Hadland, Joe Watson; Cormac Nolan, Scott Redfern; Joe Senior, James Kimber, Steve Pilkington, Nathan Beesley, James Rooney. Subs: Harry Ratcliffe, Campbell Thomson, George Norman