DISCIPLINE proved Lymm’s downfall in their defeat to Wirral on Saturday.

Two of the home side’s three tries were scored while Adam Fletcher’s men were down to 13 men, with both Steve Pilkington and Jordan Widdrington in the sin bin.

It formed part of a costly spell either side of half time for Lymm, who were heavily penalised by the referee as he took a dim view of their work at the breakdown.

Tries from Gav Woods and Campbell Thomson put them within a whisker of rescuing the game, but they had to settle for a losing bonus point in a 21-18 loss.

They are back on home soil on Saturday as their perfect record on Beechwood’s new artificial surface faces its biggest test to date, with league leaders Billingham the visitors.

“We lost the game between 20 and 40 minutes,” director of rugby Fletcher said of the Wirral defeat.

“We lost our discipline and didn’t adapt to the ref’s interpretation of the breakdown.

“Wirral are a tough team to chase down. They play a simple but effective brand and it was hard to get a foothold back in the game.

“I was really happy with how we responded to the challenge and got back in the game. Unfortunately, we couldn’t convert our final chance.

“I was happy with how we started the game. We looked threatening and controlled the opening exchanges.

“We probably left a few points out there during the first 15 minutes and this gave Wirral a bit of confidence.”

Two Cormac Nolan penalties was all Lymm had to show for a dominant opening quarter before Pilkington was yellow-carded for offside.

Widdrington quickly followed him for dissent and Wirral exploited the gaps in the Lymm defence to score twice in the final five minutes of the first half.

With the wind favouring them after the break, the hosts set up camp in Lymm territory and a third converted try left the visitors with an uphill struggle.

With a full compliment of players back on the field, however, they set about their task and Wood’s try from a well-worked rolling maul raised spirits.

With 20 minutes left, Lymm put the ball through hands for Thomson to crash over, with Nolan’s conversion bringing them to within three points.

Lymm went for the kill and got to within five metres of the Wirral line in their pursuit of a decisive score but were adjudged to have infringed and their chance was gone.

Lymm: Gav Woods, Adam Bray, Jordan Widdrington, Joe Watson, Will Baldwin, Josh Hadland, James Lewis, Oli Higginson; Cormac Nolan, Tom Bray; Nathan Beesley, Ben Stansfield, Steve Pilkington, Alfie Simpson, James Kimber. Subs: Matty Hand, James Yates, Campbell Thomson

Meanwhile, two tries from Nick Ashton allowed Lymm’s seconds to kick off 2020 in winning fashion as they were 28-24 victors at Macclesfield.

Rory Riddell continued his rich vein of form by scoring another try while Harry Ratcliffe crossed for the first time at senior level, with Richie McEvoy kicking a conversion and two penalties.

Lymm 2nd squad: James Hamer, Reece Forrest, Rory Riddell, Richard McEvoy, Josh Reynolds, Will Leach, Tom Baker, Cashell Chilvers, Jake Ashall, John Long, Matty Connelly, Henry Baldwin, Nick Ashton, James Pitcher, Harry Ratcliffe, Manny Effiom, Joe Dowdeswell