Welcome to the Ferens Ground for today’s league fixture against our visitors from Cheshire, Lymm RFC.
Lymm RFC were founded in 1960, they won the Cheshire Cup in 1989 and at the end of season 2009-10 they were Champions of North West Division One and were promoted to the old National Three Division North. They have held that status since then although they were placed in the National Three Division Midlands for one season on a geographical re-location.
Hull RUFC only met up with them in season 2015-16 in the National Three North. In the years since then the two clubs have met on seven occasions with Hull winning six of those games. Lymm’s only win, strangely enough, was at the Ferens Ground in season 2017-18 when they won by 28-19.
This season Lymm have been able to mainly hold amid-table position but at the moment they are in eleventh position in the league table having won seven, drawn two and lost twelve of their games so far. However, they are twelve points clear of twelfth-placed Kendal and look a good bet to retain their league status. In the corresponding game at Crouchley Lane Hull won by 56-10.
It is a pleasure to welcome the players, officials and supporters of Lymm RFC to our ground this afternoon.
Last Saturday our side were at home to our Yorkshire rivals Ilkley RFC, who over the four seasons we have been playing them have usually given us a very hard game. This match was no different as they took an early 6-0 lead courtesy of two penalty goals from Charles Ramsay. It was a short-lived lead however as Hull hit back with a Ben Boothman try followed by a penalty try and then a searing break by Lee Birch bought a third. Simon Humberstone converted both tries and Hull turned round 21-6 ahead. The second half was equally tough for both sides and six minutes from tine Blake Elliott scored an unconverted try for the visitors. With Hull now seeking the bonus point they got their reward when a slick reverse pass from Humberstone put Steve Hihetah through to race 60 metres for a try beneath the posts which Humberstone had no trouble in converting.
Elsewhere in the division second-placed Billingham were far too strong for struggling Kendal, posting a very convincing 55-10 away win; Harrogate filled their boots in a 69-14 home win over another struggling side in Vale of Lune and today’s visitors had a surprisingly big win over visitors Alnwick. Rossendale entertained bottom side Wilmslow and won comfortably by 36-17; Sandal had a very good home win over Kirkby Lonsdale by 52-17 and finally third-placed Blaydon made the long trip to Wirral and kept up their challenge for second place with a resounding 55-20 victory.
After all these games the situation, as it was last week, leaves the placings at the top and bottom of the table totally unchanged.
Hull are now on 98 points at the top and now need just another seven points to clinch the title. Billingham are in second place with 79 points and Blaydon are third with 76. Harrogate are fourth on 75 points and ready to take advantage of any slip-up by the two sides immediately above them.
Down in the nether regions it is looking ever more likely that the present bottom three sides are likely to be relegated. Wilmslow have only 10 points, Vale of Lune have 25 and Kendal have 28. Lymm have improved their hopes with their big win over Alnwick and are now 12 points clear of Kendal and it is highly unlikely that they will be able to close that gap.
Today’s fixtures bring up some interesting games beginning with the Alnwick v Harrogate game where Alnwick will be keen to erase the memory of their 52-13 defeat at the hands of Lymm last week.
Alnwick were without three of their main ball-carrying forwards last week, plus a back-rower making his senior debut and if they can field a full pack this week they can give ‘Gate a run for their money.
Ilkley at home to Blaydon should see an away win if Blaydon are to keep up their challenge on Billingham but the Dalesmen have a good record at Stacks Field and could give Blaydon a stern test. Kendal v Rossendale could go either way as Kendal desperately need the points and with Rossendale a shadow of their former selves they could be in for a shock. Billingham at Kirkby Lonsdale should be no problem for the Tees-siders but the Cumbrian weather may have a say in deciding by how big the win will be.
The bottom two sides in the division are both at home today with Vale of Lune hosting Sandal and Wilmslow entertaining Wirral. Both visiting sides are in the top six of the table and I see no other results than two away wins.
Next weekend is a blank day for the division but on March 23rd our side are away to fourth-placed Harrogate. In the corresponding game last November we beat ‘Gate by 20-14 after a very close and hard game and as ‘Gate are still in with a chance of the second place play-off spot it could be even closer and harder. On the other hand, if we win today we will go into the game needing just two points to be Champions so our incentive is just as great.
The referee for today’s game is Mr. Thomas Doig who is making his first appearance of the season at the Ferens ground. We wish him a warm welcome and hope that he enjoys his afternoon with us.