Fylde 47 Peterborough Lions 7
Fylde bounced back from last week’s heavy defeat at Tynedale by inflicting a similar outcome on newly promoted Peterborough, playing some attractive free flowing rugby and running in seven tries to halt their two game losing sequence and get back to winning ways.
This was newly promoted Peterborough’s first trip to the Woodlands and they were made warmly welcome after their long 200 mile road trip, everywhere but on the pitch that is. The visitors have taken some time to adjust to the step up in level but had ruined Chester’s 100% record in their last match and would have fancied their chances given Fylde’s most recent result. Fylde knew a fast start and a more resolute defence would be required to stifle the opposition’s ambitions.
Fylde started with a strong wind at their backs and protecting possession was likely to be the challenge after heavy downpours all day. With Dave Fairbrother out injured Fylde were fortunate to have Sam Dugdale available and he started early on in his role as one of the main ball carriers with a fine break and offload to skipper for the day Chris Briers. Peterborough were penalised for not rolling away at the tackle and the kick to touch immediately put Fylde close to the opposition line. A fine take by Matt Garrod at the line out created the platform for phased play until a knock on in the tackle halted the attack.
Fylde were soon back on the attack after Tom Grimes made inroads and a Peterborough knock on gave Fylde a scrum on the opposition 22. A set move in the backs was executed to perfection creating room for Tom Carleton to join the line at pace and slice through close to the posts to get the scoreboard going. Greg Smith converted and with 6 minutes gone Fylde were 7-0 to the good.
Peterborough then had their best spell of the game. With their nippy Argentinian scrum half Franco Perticaro marshalling his industrious forwards and hard running centres well they built a sustained period of possession. A penalty in the 15th minute gave them their first chance of points but stand off Ben Young pulled his penalty kick wide in the windy conditions. Fylde hammered the resulting 22 drop out long and then forced a knock on giving them a scrum 20 metres out. A strong run by Connor Wilkinson and quickly recycled ball got Dugdale on the front foot and his strength carried him over the line in the tackle. Smith converted and it was 14-0 after 18 minutes.
Fylde continued to press but knock-ons and an occasionally misfiring lineout allowed Peterborough to clear their lines and with the strong wind at their backs Fylde knew they needed to get a healthy advantage before the break. Up stepped Dugdale again as the catalyst with a powerful surge creating quick ball, a wonderful miss pass by the old head of the back line Chris Briers again put that silky runner Carleton in space and the result was inevitable as he left two defenders floundering in his wake and swallow dived in for his second try. This was again converted by Smith and the lead was now looking very healthy at 21-0. Tom Grimes then failed to gather the ball from a chip through by Connor Wilkinson with a free run to the line at his mercy but was given a second chance on 39 minutes after another intelligent chip though by scrum half Cameron Crampton and this time he made no mistake and with Smith 100% from the tee so far Fylde went to the sheds 28-0 up at the break.
The second half gave Peterborough their chance to use the elements meaning Fylde often had to start from deep and do the hard yards knowing any turnovers would be punished with those yards easily lost by use of the boot. The defence was solid and the approach to working upfield was composed and consistent. In the 51st minute the work paid off when Olli Parkinson pierced the gain line and with the defence on the back foot the strong running Henry Hadfield forced his way over, Smith again converting and it was 35-0. That was nearly improved on 2 minutes later with yet another dazzling line break and chip ahead by Carleton but just when it looked like hat-trick time a last ditch tackle as he was gathering the ball forced the knock on.
Coach Warren Spragg began to make use of the bench with young Ewan Ashman making his home debut at hooker for Ben Gregory and Adam Lanigan replacing Crampton at scrum half. Crampton had directed his troops very well for 55 minutes on his comeback from injury.
On 62 minutes a neat move in the backs led to the next score with first a dummy scissors bamboozling the defence then a second scissors to Grimes who burst through on half way, angled away from the defence and outstripped all chasers to score in the corner. In the strong wind Smith had little chance from wide out and missed his only kick of the day, 40-0 to Fylde.
More changes were made with Luke Fowden and Nick Ashcroft on for Carleton and Parkinson and with the game in the bag it was perhaps no surprise that the game entered a bit of a mad last 10 minutes with players relaxing their standards and some off the cuff play resulted. On 70 minutes a speculative kick by Peterborough was misjudged by the Fylde defender and dropped into the hands of Peterborough’s man of the match Nico Defeo who strolled over and the away team were finally on the board with Young converting to make it 40-7. Fylde still had time to bag the last score with Tom Grimes making another incisive break and offloading to Fowden to dot down, Smith nailing the difficult conversion to make the final score 47-7.
This was a solid all round performance from Fylde with everyone playing their part. The defence was organised and mean spirited for the majority of the game and whilst it would be hard to begrudge the hardworking away team their score to nil them would have been pleasing after allowing Tynedale to run amok last week. Ben O’Ryan who tackled like a man possessed was deservedly named Fylde’s man of the match but credit must go to the whole pack. What they lack in years and experience they make up for with effort and application, all punching above their weight and providing ample opportunity for a very talented set of backs to show how good they can be with ball in hand.
Mention should be made of the referee Nathan Howarth, only 20, a student at Durham University hailing from Gloucester. He showed great fitness in keeping up with play and also maturity beyond his years with a calm, composed and authoritative approach but with enough empathy for the players to facilitate an open flowing game of rugby in pretty poor conditions, evidenced by a low penalty count of 10 to 6 in Fylde’s favour. Credit also goes to the groundsman Patrick Townsend for a pitch that held up very well despite the deluge of rain on the day
Fylde Head Coach Warren Spragg said: “I was pleased with the effort today. The weather this morning looked like it might ruin the game for both teams but, in fact, the conditions weren’t too bad. I think we used the conditions pretty well tactically. We had the wind behind us in the 1st half and put pressure on the Lions with accurate kicking, particularly by Cam Crampton.
“In the 2nd half, when we didn’t have the ball, I thought we played intelligently. Our defence was OK although I was disappointed that we conceded Peterborough’s try. We coughed the ball up three times in the same move. But, generally, we didn’t look under great pressure from their attack and overall I was happy with the performance.”
15 T. Carleton, 14 H. Hadfield, 13 C. Briers, 12 C. Wilkinson, 11 T.Grimes, 10 G. Smith, 9 C. Crampton, 8 S. Dugdale , 7 B. O’Ryan, 6 H. Corrie, 5 O. Parkinson, 4 M. Garrod, 3 C. Ford, 2 B. Gregory, 1 E. Horner
Replacements: C. Joyner, E. Ashman, N. Ashcroft, A. Lanigan, L. Fowden
15 E. Starling, 14 S. Meyers, 13 S. Ma’asi, 12 N. Defeo, 11. A. Carr, 10 B. Young, 9 F. Perticaro, 8 J. Carter, 7 C. Gracey, 6 F. Lea, 5 W. Nankivell, 4 T. Lewis, 3 A. Ioannou, 2 J. Lewis, 1 J. Waller
Replacements: W. Moore, J. Askham, C. Cutts, M. Andrijauskas, C. Edbrooke
Report by Simon Taylor
Photos below from Chris Farrow