We face another new challenge today in the shape of Bishop’s Stortford who have made an impressive start, playing some ambitious rugby which is enjoyable to watch and producing some great results. I would like to welcome players, officials and supporters to the Woodlands for the first time today and hope they enjoy their long journey north. The obvious big name in their squad is Dan Leo, a formidable player on the pitch who is currently doing some incredible work to support Pacific Island rugby. Dan should be commended for this work and raising awareness about the issues faced by many players and I hope the work he has started continues to gain momentum and support from those at the top end of the game.

Looking back at last week, I got Esher completely wrong. I genuinely thought we were going to win but we were miles off! If I’ve learned something from this season so far, it is that rugby is never predictable and that players need to be prepared to adapt in all areas. We lost one player the night before the game, his replacement before 7 o’clock the next morning, and his replacement was still in bed when the train was leaving Preston! Add a delayed train change at Crewe and a two hour coach journey across London to Esher into the mix and I probably should’ve predicted that it wasn’t going to be our day! Credit should go to Tom Carleton and Alex Dolly who stepped up at 9 and 10 and, if you’ve not watched Tom’s try yet, I would recommend checking it out. Definitely a highlight of an otherwise forgettable day out.

We now have three out of the next four games at home and this will form a crucial part of the season. Players are aware of the task at hand and must be willing to put all hands on deck and the team first. I firmly believe we are capable of stringing a run of wins together but the players need to keep clarity of thinking alongside massive physical efforts if we are to achieve this.

Finally, it is great to see that Blackpool 6th Form are playing fixtures at the club during the week. As a club we need to nurture relationships with our key stakeholders in the area. We have a consistent stream of players who grow up playing at AKS and Kirkham Grammar when juniors at Fylde, and more recently coming in from Myerscough as well. Many of the current Senior squads are from these schools and colleges. It is important for the wellbeing of the wider game that school, club and college Rugby can work together in order to keep local players in the game during their formative years and be able to transition into Senior Rugby when they leave. I hope that by working with the club we will encourage more local players to be part of the Fylde family.

Back to this afternoon’s fixture, I hope the lads give you a performance and result to be proud of. Enjoy the game!

Warren Spragg