The Vandals Leigh’ve a trail of grit, heart and determination

Leigh 3rds 31 Fylde Vandals 5

Last year’s league/cup doubleheader was the start of something incredible for Fylde Vandals as they went on to win the LBS plate and also cement themselves up at the top of the North 5 league for most of the season. This year was a different story. Promoted up to North 4, they are rapidly finding there are no easy games in this league and so it was on Saturday.

The Vandals came up against a Leigh 3rd team who were determined and committed to the final whistle, they also had a full team and about 6 or 7 on the bench too, which helps. Unfortunately, the EPD had several late cry-offs and Tom Hodgkins was taken up to the Saracens, meaning we turned up and played the whole game with 14. To add to it, Alex Grey aggravated an ankle injury half way through the first. He soldiered on but it was pretty much 13 v 15 for 20 minutes up to halftime. Leigh kindly offered us a player for the second half and ‘Sam’ pulled on a Fylde shirt and set up shop in the midfield – thanks for that fellas!

Gary Andrews who was working, had tried to make it to Leigh but understandably the job comes first and he wasn’t able to make it. However, we thought he may have got there and on walking down the lane to the pitch he may have noticed Leigh Bowling Club and just couldn’t walk past without inspecting the green and having a roll or two.

The game was a whole hearted affair from both sides. Leigh had the most scoring chances and took 4 or 5 them adding a few kicks for good measure. The Vandals however were tremendous in defeat. The pack put in an incredible shift, using pick and go’s and rolling mauls to great effect. The skipper Richard Mason lead from the front and bagged the Vandals only try but there were other notable performances from Stefan Kuhn, Tim Barrett and Ali Atkinson, whose experience was invaluable on the day. The backs didn’t have too many opportunities to run the ball but they worked hard to get over the gain line whenever they could. The defence from both forwards and backs was tremendous and there were several last gasp tackles made from a number of players. However the pressure told and Leigh took the game away from the visitors with a final score of 31-5.

Thanks to Leigh for a good afternoon’s rugby and for lending us Sam. We wish them all the best for their league and cup campaign. A massive thanks goes to the Vandals players who can take a lot of positives from a game which on paper looks like a heavy defeat. We may not be fighting for promotion come the end of the season but if we play week in week out with the sort of commitment and heart we showed on Saturday, it should be an enjoyable and competitive season. Well done boys!

Next week is another tough one as Orrell 2s visit the Woodlands. See you all for that.

The team was: Damian King, Chris Cardwell, Tim Barrett, Ali Atkinson, Mike Hewitson, Alex Grey, Stefan Kuhn, Richard Mason (c), Ethan Harvey, Phil Swindells, Tony Rawlison, Pete Acton, Sean Townsend, Frazer Swindells.

Playing EPD: Sean Townsend

Report: Phil Swindells

Photos: Tom Godfrey. Click here for his photographs.