Huddersfield YMCA turned in a pleasing performance to beat Lymm 36-19 in National III North.
With the equivalent of only a cigarette paper separating the two teams, it was always going to be an interesting encounter.
YM had a completely reshuffled back line, but the players drafted in did a fine job.
A returning Ed Barber, who has been struggling with a shoulder injury, had to play because Ritchie Hawkyard was unavailable and young Tom Wood still not fit. Barber did a fine job.
Also unavailable Chris Clarke and the injured Lloyd Bentley were covered by Tom Bulloch and James Tindall respectively.
After 23 minutes and against the run of general play, Lymm finally made the breakthrough with a good move orchestrated by the backs but finished off by hooker
Ross White, Nolan stepped up to add the extra points (0-7)
Things looked even better for the visitors when, only four minutes later, they scored again after a neat one-two between Rowley and Knowles, which saw the latter go over in the right corner. Nolan was off target but the visitors were 12 ahead.
YM are nothing if not tenacious, and their perseverance paid off a few minutes later when Barber beat the onrushing defence to create the space and pop up the pass to Bell, who dummied and went over. Stead was on target with the boot.
As half time approached the YM were again on the attack and after a well-won scrum it was Barber who was on hand to get the pass away to Adam Ryder, allowing the centre to finish and, with Stead adding the extras it was 14-12 at the break.
Into the second half and the YM forwards clearly had the beating of their opposite numbers in all departments except the line out, which they worrying lost with great regularity.
Lymm were under pressure at every scrummage and, in open play, the visiting pack didn’t have much to trouble the YM, however they did continue to look useful in the backs.
Barber got YM’s next score but the wind denied Stead’s conversion, so it remained 19-12.
Changes of personnel saw Stu Dyke and Ben Hill replaced by Mark Whitehead and Niall Murphy, the latter remaining in action only a matter of minutes before picking up a knock which caused him to leave the field and Ben Hill return.
YM looked to be gaining the upper hand and great work in the loose by the forwards, with man of the match Josh Lumb shining for the second week running, saw them score. Whitehead picked up the ball at pace and broke the cover before giving a pass to Ryder who sped away for a quality unconverted try.
Lymm were on the rack but not quite beaten when a piece of individual enterprise saw Rowley chip the YM defence and then follow up to collect the ball and claim a score to which Nolan added the extras for 24-19
That was as close as the visitors were going to get as Bulloch ran the ball out of defence, making good ground before giving the ball to Ryder who did the same before passing it on to the ever-supporting Sam Hodge, who drove for the corner only to be held up short. As the ball came free it was James Bell who scored, but Stead couldn’t add the conversion.
Housley went off with a calf injury allowing youngster Danny Dyson his first taste of rugby at this level and in the short time he had on the field he acquitted himself very well. Definitely one for the future.
As the game drew to a close the YM continued to press and were awarded a penalty try which Stead converted for a final score of 36-19.
YMCA: Stead, Bulloch, Ryder, Van Rooyen, Tindall, Barber, Wilson, Slater, Hill, Moore, Bell, Housley, Dyke, Hodge, Lumb.
Interchange; Whitehead, Dyson, Murphy.