Fun in the sun for the Vandals

Clitheroe 2nds 12 Fylde Vandals 31

The last game of the season saw the Vandals heading over to East Lancashire to take on Clitheroe 2nds. The sun was shining and the engine of the magic bus was warmed up nicely for the journey ahead. Eighteen Vandals boarded said bus along with almost as many supporters and alikadoos; all were looking forward to an exciting game and to rounding the season off in style. On arrival the Fylde contingent bagged a place at one end of the pitch, staking a claim for their little piece of terra firma with a good sized Fylde flag and a variety of picnic blankets.

As it turned out the game was a decent one with both teams playing some good stuff. Paul Green playing at 10 used his boot to great effect and managed to give the Vandals excellent field position on a good few occasions. Josh Chatfield, on the left wing, chased the kicks well hurrying the Clitheroe back 3 into mistakes and indifferent clearances. From rucks and mauls there were willing runners everywhere but it was great to see young prop Matt Clayton to the fore in all this. Josh and Matt, from the colts, were making their debuts in senior rugby and both had fine games.

The Vandals were the first to trouble the scorer as the ball was spun across the backs ending up with Frazer Swindells touching down out wide. Unfortunately the kicking tee couldn’t be located so instead of digging one, Paul Green decide to drop kick the conversion. An interesting decision but the right one as it turned out because it sailed beautifully through the sticks. Swindells the younger made it a brace soon after as he rounded off a similar move in pretty much the same position. The kick, from the tee this time, drifted wide of the posts.

The Vandals’ mastery of the choke tackle was on show as time and again Clitheroe’s runners were held up in midfield. The Vandals were also managing to get to the breakdowns quicker than their hosts with Jack King and Ben James prominent in this. Turnovers ensued allowing the Fylde boys more possession and territory. However Clitheroe’s nippy scrum half kept the visitors on their toes with some quickly taken penalties and this helped his team get back into the game with a nicely finished try in the left corner.

Clitheroe were still in this game and buoyed by their try, they began the second half in a similar fashion. Unluckily for them though the Vandals big D loomed large on the Clitheroe attacks snuffing out most of their scoring chances. All this enabled the Vandals to grab the next score as Paul Green made a great break, outpacing the Clitheroe fullback to the line.

The home team were never going to lie down and using their forwards to good effect they scored a try to the left of the posts. This however was to be their last as the Vandals grabbed the game by the scruff of its neck with two more five pointers. The pacey Josh Chatfield sprinted in for a nicely taken try and Frazer Swindells made it a hatrick as he ran round the Clitheroe defence to score under the sticks. The Vandals soaked up the last bit of Clitheroe pressure and the referee brought an end to the proceedings with the score 12-31 to the Vandals.

I would like to thank Clitheroe for the game and their hospitality afterwards. We look forward to renewing our acquaintances next season. As for the Vandals this was a great way to round off a great season. Richard Mason has been a fine skipper and has lead by example however all players have contributed massively to the team’s success; thank you one and all. I’d also like to thank our merry band of supporters, you were certainly very merry on Saturday! Thanks must also go to the EPD for his management and Sarah for her photography. Unfortunately the Vandals missed the players awards night having gone east on the magic bus but we later found out that Ben James had won the Vandals MVP award and the Vandals as a whole had won the team of the year trophy…congratulations Jamo and the boys.

Anyway as they say at the end of the cartoons “that’s all folks” I hope you all have a fantastic summer because before you know it, September will be here and it’ll be the start of just one more season!!!!

Click here for Sarah’s splendid photographs.

The team was – Stuart Livesey, Max Barrett, Matt Clayton, Mike Hewitson Adey Grey, Jack King, Ben James (c), Dave Porter, Ethan Harvey, Paul Green, Josh Chatfield, Gary Andrews, Tony Rawlinson, Sean Townsend, Fazer Swindells, Ali Atkinson, Damian King, Phil Swindells

EPD – Sean Townsend

Report – Phil Swindells

Photos – Sarah Swindells