Fylde welcome an in-form Tynedale squad to the Woodlands on Saturday (ko 3pm) in what is usually an exciting, high scoring game. The National Two (North) 4th placed Lancastrians will have to be at their very sharpest to tame their North Eastern visitors who are in 8th position.
Tynedale began the season hesitantly with just two victories in their first eight fixtures. But the visitors have won six of their last eight National Two (North) fixtures including a resounding 35-5 thumping of 2nd placed Chester at Tynedale Park last Saturday.
The first ever fixture between the clubs was in National Two (North) in 2003/4 and there have been seventeen games since then, initially in that division then, following promotion for both, in National One. The scorecard to date is six wins to Fylde, one draw and ten defeats. The 2006/7 match at the Woodlands resulted in a 14-all draw and ended in the most startling way. In the last minute with the scores equal, Fylde conceded a penalty more or less in front of their posts. The Tynedale goal kicker, to everyone’s astonishment, kicked the ball into touch. It transpired that he thought his side was a point ahead and that the game was won. Overall, Tyne firmly hold the whip hand, especially at Tynedale Park where Fylde have only ever won twice in nine attempts.
Tynedale earned promotion to National One in 2008/9, three seasons ahead of Fylde’s promotion year and, like Fylde, initially did extremely well, finishing in 4th, 5th and 5th again. Then, four seasons of struggling in the lower half of the table saw them eventually relegated at the end of 2014-15. This has been the fate of a number of Northern clubs including Hull Ionians, Macclesfield, Blaydon, Wharfedale and, of course, Fylde last season.
In the three seasons back in N2N, Tynedale have finished in 10th, 6th and, in the last campaign, in 3rd place, They are clearly building up a head of steam to regain a spot in National One.
Tynedale is a fine, proud club and, with a productive youth pipeline, will be trying to build on their success last season in N2N. They have had real difficulties in their beautiful location on the banks of the River Tyne with at least two instances of serious flooding which did damage not only to the pitches but also to the Clubhouse. However, their resilience has been superb and they’ve bounced back each time. In this world of climate change, ironically the river pretty much dried up there last summer!
Other changes for Tynedale came with the departure of established Director of Rugby, Scott Lawson, and the appointment of his successor this season, another well known former Newcastle Falcons star, Ben Woods. Like Fylde, they have a close relationship with their local Premiership club, the Falcons, and some young players have joined their squad this season on a dual registration (DR) basis.
These include lock Will Montgomery, flankers Tom Marshall & Rob Farrar, Fijian-born scrum-half Cameron Nordli-Kalameti & winger Morgan Passman. Passman is a particular talent who is ripping up N2N club defences, scoring 14 tries in just 10 games to date, including a hat trick v Chester, and a brace v Fylde back in September. The England U’18s squad player joined the Falcons Academy in 2015 and the former Egglescliffe School pupil made his Premiership Rugby A-League debut against Wasps at Broadstreet in September 2017.
Other newcomers this season include the influential and experienced English Counties and former Blaydon lock Chris Wearmouth, props Liam Carmichael (Morpeth) and Jed Kirkin (Colwyn Bay), Gareth Black (Berwick), Matt Woodward (Newcastle Univ), flyhalf Robbie Forbes (Northumbria Univ) and backrow Ben Beaumont (Newcastle Univ).
The leading scorer is fullback Rob Parker who currently has 97 points, with the leading try scorers Morgan Passman (14), fellow winger Guy Pike (13) and no 8 Joe Mills (7)
The Tynedale squad is: 15 Ben Beaumont, 14 Guy Pike, 13 Liam Checksfield, 12 Will Miller, 11 Morgan Passman; 10 Ben Hutton, 9 Matt Outson (c); 1 Richie Elliot, 2 Gareth Black, 3 Liam Carmichael, 4 Graham Dunn, 5 Harry Snowden, 6 Jonny Cousin, 7 Joe Richards, 8 Ben Bell.
16 Michael Hughes, 17 Dave Batey, 18 Tom Marshall, 19 Will Montgomery, 20 Cameron Kelemeti.
Fylde continue to miss injury victims David Fairbrother, Olli Parkinson, Adam Joyner, Ben Vernon, Elliot Horner and the latest addition, Harlan Corrie. On a positive note, Chris Briers and Cameron Crampton join the replacements. The only change in the starting XV sees Alex Loney return at hooker.
15 Tom Carleton; 14 Henry Hadfield, 13 Ralph Dowds, 12 Connor Wilkinson, 11 Tom Grimes; 10 Greg Smith, 9 Gus Warr; 1 Bevan Rodd, 2 Alex Loney, 3 Adam Lewis, 4 Matt Garrod, 5 Nick Ashcroft, 6 Ben O’Ryan, 7 Sam Dugdale, 8 Jacob Conner.
16 Cal Ford, 17 Ben Gregory, 18 Cameron Crampton, 19 Chris Briers, 20 Lex Botha.