Hinckley v Fylde: Lancastrians 4th successive away win

HINCKLEY 7 FYLDE 43

Fylde secured their fourth successive away victory with a decisive performance at Hinckley and remain breathing down the necks of National Two (North) leaders Caldy. Six tries to one was a measure of the gap between the two teams on a good pitch in initially dry conditions but which deteriorated to heavy rain in the 2nd half.

Fylde established control early on and this was rarely threatened by a nevertheless gritty Hornets squad. In the 2nd minute, a Hinckley defender offended and Fylde fly-half Greg Smith stepped up to convert the penalty from 35m out straight on to the posts. Smith, the division’s leading points scorer had another productive day, finishing eventually with a personal haul of 18 points.

Fylde have a practice of scoring a series of tries in very quick time, taking games beyond their shell shocked opponents. In the 16th minute with Fylde pressing in the Hinckley half, a quick tap penalty led to their backs moving right as fullback Tom Carleton came into the line and found a sufficient gap in the defence to dive over for the opening try. Smith’s conversion attempt was wide of the posts, his only failure in the match.

Three minutes later centre Connor Wilkinson standing at first receiver at a ruck well inside his own half made a superb 35m centre field break before passing to his fast supporting scrum-half Adam Lanigan who raced clear to score near the posts. This was local boy Lanigan’s debut try for his home club in what is proving a fine season for the young player. Smith converted for a 0-15 lead.

From the restart Fylde launched their third blow when man of the match contender Jacob Conner made an incisive 30m break from inside the Fylde half before giving a delicious offload to Greg Smith who sprinted clear from 40m out through a startled Hornets defence. He converted his own try for a 0-22 score line.

It was time for Hinckley to stir and camp inside the Fylde half. The visitors had possession at a ruck 10m out from their line but a spilled ball allowed the Hornets open side flanker Jamie Skerritt to hack the ball over the line and win the race for the touchdown. Scrum-half Joe Glover added the extras to reduce the deficit to 7-22.

Minutes later Fylde re-established control with neat passing between backs and forwards as they attacked down their right. They worked an overlap and centre Scott Rawlings put Tom Carleton clear and the speedster raced clear to score under the posts. Smith converted this for a 7-29 lead which they maintained until the half-time interval.

The 2nd half was more of an arm wrestle as the weather deteriorated and heavy rain poured down. Fylde replaced hooker Ben Gregory with Alex Loney but didn’t sit back on their substantial lead. In the 51st minute from a ruck 10m out from the Hinckley line a quick, short pass from Lanigan found Rawlings who powered over for the touch down.

With a 7-36 lead, Head Coach Warren Spragg was able to bring on replacements, with George Brookes, David Fairbrother and Tom Forster on for Tom Grimes, Ben Vernon and Scott Rawlings. Hinckley fought gamely and put the visitors under pressure but the Fylde defence held firm despite Tom Forster being sinbinned for a technical offence.

As the final minutes played out, 14 man Fylde were back deep in the home half. From a scrum 20m out, Lanigan went on the blind side and found Lex Botha who stepped off his left foot to cut inside to make the try line. Smith converted well to finish his and his side’s excellent afternoon’s work.

With Caldy also recording a big win, 50-12 at home to Otley, the two leading clubs are within a single point of each other as they set the place in National Two (North).

Head Coach Warren Spragg was quick to laud his side’s tight game primarily. “This was another excellent win for us on the road” commented Spragg.

“I was delighted with our physicality up front and our scrum was dominant throughout. Our ability to spot space in the wider channels was also something that was really pleasing for us.

He picked out man of the match Jacob Conner for praise. “I was particularly impressed by Jacob’s work rate around the park. He carried well for us all game which allowed us to win the battle at the gain line.”

HINCKLEY: 1 Stephen Harvey, 2 Luke Coltman (Adam Johnson 52), 3 David Peck (Sam Greening 41), 4 Matthew Fearn (Henry Povoas 30), 5 Alex Branson, 6 Oliver Ashworth, 7 Jamie Skerritt, 8 Alex Tansley (Matthew Fearn 72); 9 Joe Glover, 10 Evan Mitchell (Ben Pointon 52); 11 Leo Gilliland, 12 Adam Nunney, 13 Mitchell Lamb (Evan Mitchell 68), 14 Josh Smith (Joe Wilson 50), 15 Rory Vowles

FYLDE: 1 Elliot Horner, 2 Ben Gregory (Alex Loney 41), 3 Adam Lewis (c) (Matt Ashcroft 66), 4 Nick Ashcroft, 5 Olli Parkinson, 6 Jacob Conner, 7 Ben Vernon (David Fairbrother 52), 8 Hallam Chapman; 9 Adam Lanigan, 10 Greg Smith; 11 Tom Grimes (George Brookes 52), 12 Scott Rawlings (Tom Forster 56), 13 Connor Wilkinson, 14 Lex Botha; 15 Tom Carleton.

Excellent photo of Adam Lanigan scoring his try, courtesy of The Rugby Paper (20th October, 2019) and photographer Phil Hutchinson. For more of Phil’s photographs from yesterday’s game, available for purchase, click here http://bit.ly/35PpUxr

Click here for Hinckley video coverage of the game’s seven tries.

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