LYMM Rugby Club's newly promoted first XV were squeezed out 22-21 by Wharfedale as the new season kicked off at Beechwood in National League 2 North in glorious sunshine in front of a big crowd.

The win was snatched out of Lymm's hands in the dying moments by old adversaries from Grassington in Yorkshire.

It proved to be, once again, a tough encounter, especially as Wharfedale had experienced playing at Level 4 for some years.

While the line-outs were evenly contested, Lymm struggled throughout the afternoon at scrum time, against a larger pack.

Following a series of rolling mauls during the second half Wharfedale were thwarted time and again, being held up over the line as Lymm defended strongly.

The visitors also employed a very effective team-wide skill of offloading in the tackle which gave Lymm all sorts of problems but the defence was resolute, if scrambling in parts.

But Lymm were holding on to a six-point lead going into the closing minutes.

Director of rugby Adam Fletcher was optimistic following such a tight battle.

"There are so many positives we can take from the game and also some really good learning points. Wharfedale punished our errors where last season we would have got away with them," said Fletcher.

"Obviously gutted not to get the win. At 21-15 with a few minutes remaining the game was there to close out.

"I think, overall, the boys will take great confidence from the performance but what a day! I’ve never seen the club so busy, the atmosphere was superb."

> READ: Two Lymm players achieve milestones in Wharfedale defeat

The early exchanges were all about Lymm pressing hard and taking the lead with a successful penalty from full back, Cormac Nolan, 3 – 0 after 3 mins.

And then a try-scoring opportunity from a rolling maul from Lymm, after an attacking line-out was not taken, and this proved critical as the game played out.

Wharfedale had no intention of letting their rolling maul, from a similar position, not succeed and scored a try wide out from an attacking line-out, 3 – 5 after 15 mins.

Warrington Guardian: Winger Paddy Jennings makes a breakWinger Paddy Jennings makes a break (Image: Contributed)

But Lymm were not to be overawed by the gritty and experienced Yorkshire team, cleverly scoring a try in the left corner from a training ground move from another attacking line-out.

Second row and skipper James Yates took the ball high in the line-out and passed it to flanker Ali Sutherland on the short side, who fed hooker James Pitcher to scuttle over, 8 – 5 after 20 mins.

A further penalty from Nolan stretched Lymm’s lead to 11 - 5 after 27 mins but once more, Wharfedale responded.

Slick hands in the middle released the centre, resulting in a try for the visitors and the lead following the successful conversion, 11 – 12 after 30 mins.

Wharfedale’s confidence took a huge leap at this point and looked full of enterprise with Rob Baldwin at No 8 being particularly prominent.

A penalty in front of the posts gave the visitors an extended lead of 11 – 15 on 38 mins but Lymm were not taking this lying down.

The re-start following the penalty was dropped and a scrum for Lymm 25m out saw scrum half Cal Morris dummy his way past the defenders, with some clever inter-passing, for a well worked try, and the lead once more for the hosts, 18 – 15 with Nolan’s conversion, as the half time whistle went.

Warrington Guardian: Scrum half Cal Morris goes over for his tryScrum half Cal Morris goes over for his try (Image: Contributed)

A period of domination followed when Wharfedale should have extended their lead with three consecutive penalties, none of which found their target.

From one in particular Lymm counter-attacked from behind their own line with Lymm’s No8 Rhys Lilly making a surging run up field, beating several would-be tacklers.

With ball-in-hand Lymm looked dangerous, but for the next 20 mins they were starved of possession as Wharfedale took a grip of the game.

Against the run of play Nolan succeeded with another penalty making it 21-15 after 28 mins.

Lymm came more into the game now but could not shake off the persistent opposition.

In the dying minutes, and in some desperation, Wharfedale, after several forward surges, burst over the line near the posts to break the home hearts.

The successful conversion put the visitors in the lead for a tight victory.

Lymm: 1. Gav Woods (Prop), 2. James Pitcher (Hooker), 3. Ben Thomson (Prop), 4. James Yates (2nd Row) – Captain, 5. Ali Sutherland (2nd Row), 6. Sean Callender (Flanker), 7. Harry Martin (Flanker), 8. Rhys Lilly (No.8), 9. Cal Morris (Scrum Half), 10. Jack Reynolds (Fly Half), 11. Paddy Jennings (Winger), 12. James Kimber (Centre), 13. Ste Pilkington (Centre), 14. Joe Senior (Winger), 15. Cormac Nolan (Full Back). Replacements: 16. Nick Ashton, 17. Joe Higgins, 18. Alex Stewart, 19. Andy Williams, 20. Tom Shard.