Kirkby Lonsdale RFC has a much longer history than Fylde, being formed in 1877. The Lancastrians’ 1st XV will make their first ever visit to Underley Park for a competitive fixture on Saturday (ko 3pm) in a pre-season run-out. In fact, it will be a double header as KL’s 2nd XV will take on a Fylde Hawks squad at the same time.
Whilst the great majority of the Fylde squad remain from last season, there will be a few new faces making their debut in the claret & gold. Lancashire U’20s prop Elliot Horner will make a speedy return to Underley Park after a season with the home club. Scrum-half Cameron Crampton, formerly with Sandbach, back rower Ben O’Ryan (ex-Ballymena) and winger Lex Botha (formerly Leipzig) are all involved. There’s a welcome return to action for centre Ralph Dowds who missed the whole of last season through injury and another local player, utility back Tom Forster, has returned to the Club following a spell at Preston Grasshoppers. Other newcomers include two young Sale Sharks Academy talents – backrower Sam Dugdale and prop Cal Ford.
15 Tom Carleton; 14 Lewis Pattison, 13 Ralph Dowds, 12 Connor Wilkinson, 11 Lex Botha; 10 Greg Smith, 9 Cameron Crampton; 1 Elliot Horner, 2 Ben Gregory, 3 Adam Lewis, 4 Matt Garrod, 5 Nick Ashcroft, 6 Sam Dugdale, 7 Ben Vernon, 8 David Fairbrother.
16 Adam Joyner, 17 Tom Burtonwood, 18 Cal Ford, 19 Tom Forster, 20 Chris Briers, 21 Ben O’Ryan, 22 Luke Fowden, 23 Olli Parkinson, 24 Harlan Corrie, 25 Alex Loney.
It is expected that some of above players will also feature for the Hawks who play simultaneously on an adjoining pitch against KL 2nds. The home team play in the NOWIRUL Division One alongside Fylde 3rds, the Saracens. The roster of Hawks players include:
Forwards: Matthew Ashcroft, Harry Atkinson, Tom Fox, Tom Burtonwood/Ben Gregory, Adam Joyner, Oliver Parkinson, Jamie Griffin, Will Atkinson, Ben O’Ryan, Tom Steer, Jack McCutcheon, James Torkington, Craig Whalley-Hunter.
Backs: Charlie Cadley, Adam Lanigan, Brett Whitehead, Ryan Evans, Luke Fowden, Jake Foster, Tom Hodgkins, Josh Moreau, Sam Fisher.
Fylde’s final pre-season preparation sees former National One rivals Ampthill & District bring two squads to the Woodlands on Saturday, 25th August.
The Fylde coaches and rugby management hope that the experienced gained by their young players in National One last season will prepare them well for their National Two (North) campaign ahead which opens up with a home fixture against Otley at the Woodlands on Saturday, September 1st.
Kirkby Lonsdale have slowly climbed the RFU league structure and now compete in the North Premier Division, level five, one below Fylde, their highest ever status. They become the highest placed Cumbrian club when they finished 8th last season, two places above great county rivals Kendal. They have an award winning Mini-Junior Section, one of the great strengths of the Club.
KL appointed a new coaching team in the summer when former Fylde winger Scott Armstrong became Head Coach, assisted by another former Fylde (and Kendal) favourite, lock Gareth Gore.
KL have a typically strong Cumbrian pack and a fluent backline. The playmaker is usually the very experienced former Penrith & Cumbria County fly-half Dave Barton. LRGS product and Lancashire U’20s back Matthew Bargh joined Fylde at the beginning of last season, played for the Hawks but found the travelling too much. He then made the KL 1st XV squad with some impressive performances and scored a 50m try against Wharfedale last Saturday in a preseason game. The Cumbrians showed their pedigree by running N2N ‘Dale close before eventually losing by 18-24.
They will provide excellent opposition for Fylde as both squads prepare for imminent league rugby.