Cheshire Cup Final New Brighton Rugby Club 5th May 2013
Macclesfield 18 Lymm 13
The Blues were crowned Cheshire Champions in their third successive final against old adversaries Lymm. As is so often the case against Lymm, it took a seventy minute concerted effort by backs and forwards alike to keep their opponents at bay until the final whistle. With a strong breeze at their backs in the first half , the Blues knew they had to go into the interval with at least a ten point lead. This they managed to do, combined with some committed scramble defence in the latter stages of the game to run out 18-13 winners.
After surviving some early pressure, the Blues gained the ascendancy and started to occupy more territory in the opposition’s half. An infringement at a ruck gave Ollie his first chance to go for the posts from thirty metres out. He duly converted the penalty, giving the Blues the early lead. Lymm came right back at the Blues. A massive tackle in the corner by Huw stopped a certain try, before Lymm equalised with a penalty of their own. An astute kick by Harry found some space behind the Lymm defence. Chris was first to the ball and made good progress into the left hand corner. A couple of darts round the fringes of the ruck kept the opposition defence interested, until Will span the ball right. Dan’s pass to Archie enabled him to cut a direct line back inside, shrugging off a tackle, he was then able to place the ball down emphatically under the posts for the first try. Ollie was accurate again with the conversion.
The half continued with some impressive defence pressing the Lymm line into hurried offloads. Huw spoilt a quick Lymm line out , forcing a knock on, leading to a scrum which started the Blues’ next scoring phase of play. Working the ball further down the field, the backs spotted a potential overlap on the right. Once the ball was in Huw’s hands on the wing, his pace and strength was good enough to see him slide over in the corner for the second try. Ollie’s tricky conversion effort slid to the right of the posts Harry then kept the Lymm defence turning with his diagonal kicks to the corners. The pack retained the ball in the opposition’s half, eventually winning another penalty within kicking range. Ollie struck it well, bisecting the posts from a fair distance. Lymm missed a chance of converting their own penalty, so the Blues went into the half time break 18-3 up.
The second half was all about defence for the Blues. Conceding an early try and conversion, after a solo scoring effort from the Lymm scrum half, the Blues dug deep to try and keep Lymm out. A committed touch line tackle by Joe hauled down the winger, hurting himself in the process. A strong run out of his own twenty two by Huw, along with a cover tackle by Chris snuffed out some promising attacks by Lymm. A cute kick by Tom R out of defence relieved further pressure. With five minutes on the clock, the forwards, joined by Dan, mauled their way into the Lymm twenty two. Staying there until the last play, it looked like the Blues had closed the game out, until Lymm were awarded a penalty. Not retreating quickly enough, Lymm managed to move into the Blues’ twenty two. Ben and Adam managed to get the ball back, followed by an ugly but very effective kick to touch by Christian sealed the win.
Putting last year’s narrow defeat behind them, the Blues were fired up for this performance and to a man were fearless and committed. Victories in the earlier rounds by other squad members must also be remembered.
Thanks also to the first aiders who helped stabilise Joe after his injury. There’s a medal waiting for you.
Scorers: Ollie Aston – penalty, Archie Thorneycroft – try, Ollie Aston – conversion, Huw Ravenscroft – try, Ollie Aston – penalty
Squad: Scott Greenway, Christian Taylor, Ben Hadfield, Adam Grindrod, Tom Lucas, Charlie Davies, George Hodkinson, Archie Thorneycroft , Will Gregory, Harry Jackson, Jonny Jones, Joe Hale, Dan Greer, Huw Ravenscroft, Ollie Aston, Jonny Hammill, Rob Davies, Jack Pearce, Joe Stubbs, Junaid Athar, Tom Roberts, Harry Grant.