Harrogate vs Lymm
By Peter Kitching
Harrogate played to their strengths and ran out reasonably comfortable winners against a more than competent Lymm side.
Harrogate were the better side up front, dominated the set pieces and, though Lymm always looked to counter attack from deep, Harrogate’s well organized defence largely kept them at bay.
Before going into the match details, the game was played int poor weather conditions. This is Harrogate’s fifth season at Rudding and the heavy clay soil led to drainage problems from the onset. It’s highly likely that, as recently as last season, today’s weather would have led to this game being called off. However, Dave Oswin and his Ground team have worked wonders to effect tremendous pitch improvements. Despite the persistent rain, underfoot conditions were absolutely fine
After an even opening, a thunderous Charley Purkiss-McEndoo tackle halted an attempted Lymm attack. Harrogate’s superior scrummaging quickly led to Lymm opting for lines-out whenever possible but a Jonny Coser steal regained Harrogate possession. A driving maul followed and Purkiss-McEndoo powered over to score with Cail Cookland converting from wide out. Fellow prop, Connor Ward was the next to score. When a Harry Barnard break was eventually checked, Harrogate regained possession from the breakdown and, festooned with defenders, Ward trundled over for another converted try.
Harrogate’s forward control was the feature of the rest of the half. The old guard of CPM, Steve Maycock and Ward dominated front row exchanges with Sam Brady, James Millington and Coser ruling the lines-out and making the pack an effective, workmanlike unit.
Shortly after the restart, an astute Danny Matthews kick through led to a race for the Lymm line. Barnard outstripped the defence to score in the corner and make it 19-0. A bonus point win seemed to be on the cards but Lymm stiffened their defence and gained enough possession to make the rest of the match a serious contest. A big Maycock tackle checked a Lymm attack but they regained possession and winger, Richard Halford sprinted through for a try, converted by Cormac Nolan.
Stung by this setback, Harrogate mounted further attacks and, in the last move of the match, David Doherty found spaced on the left with a mere 60 metres to run and score. After the game, the consensus of opinion was that, five years ago, he’d have scored but it was not to be today.
Harrogate: Rosillo, Barnard, Lawson, Riddell, Doherty, Cookland, Matthews, Purkiss-McEndoo, Ward, Brady, Millington, Watts, G Coser, J Coser. Subs:- Yorke, Edes, Dodds
Lymm: Nolan, Halford, Kimber, Stasnsfield, Richards, Redfern, Shard, Woods, Chilvers, Hand, Donnelly, Rasheed, Bray, Pitcher, Sutherland. Subs:- Widdrington, Ashall, Baker
Referee: Chris Bloomfield (North)
Match report by Bill Barrack