Andy Moore, Sports Editor of the Blackpool Gazette, caught up with Warren Spragg in mid-week. Reproduced courtesy of the Gazette.
Fylde RFC may be licking their wounds after their first defeat of the season, but head coach Warren Spragg says their performance against conquerors Caldy will give his side extra belief for their next meeting … and for tomorrow’s home clash with Loughborough students.
Spragg had tipped Caldy as title favourites but Fylde went toe-to-toe with them on the Wirral. And despite losing 25-18, the visitors still lead National Two North by a point after restricting Caldy to three tries and earning a bonus point themselves.
Spragg told The Gazette: “Yes, we were competitive and put them under a lot of pressure but we conceded tries too easily.
“They were better than us at the mauls close to the line. They stopped us driving over but when they had similar opportunities at the other end they scored.
“That was frustrating but there was not much between the sides. It was a contrast in styles as we were looking to move the ball wide and they were strong in the set-piece.
“We expected them to be noticeably better than any side we had played previously this season and they were a bit of an unknown quantity for us, but the lads came out of the game with a lot of belief and we will have plenty of confidence when we play them at home later in the season.
“The result is not a disaster in terms of the league table and we move on to a very different challenge against Loughborough.”
Fylde’s Woodland encounters with the Students are traditionally high-scoring and the hosts won’t need reminding that Loughborough topped 80 points on their last visit two seasons ago. And although Loughborough are only just in the top half of the table this season after relegation, they have won four of their last five and most recently toppled a Sedgley Park side who stood third at the time.
Spragg added: “They are in good form and are probably the best ball-handlers in the league, along with ourselves, so it should be a good contest.
“Both teams will be looking to move the ball into wide channels and history tells us to expect a high-scoring contest, though both clubs are in a different place to last time they came here.”
Spragg hopes to welcome back key packman Hal Chapman, who missed the Caldy game through injury, and winger Tom Roebuck, who made a try-scoring debut against Chester a fortnight ago on a dual-registration deal from Sale Sharks.
Two other Sale players featured for Fylde at Caldy, debutant full-back Joe Carpenter and forward Sam Dugdale, who Fylde followers will recall from last season.
Spragg added: “They are both good lads. To be honest, Sam was not supposed to be here this season but he needed game-time and we had Hal injured, so it made sense last weekend.
“Joe had played half an adult game before he played the full game on Saturday. He made mistakes but he sets high standards for himself and will be looking for a great response.”
Spragg reports some “battered and bruised bodies” after the Caldy game but is hopeful everyone involved will have made a full recovery.
“We didn’t train on Tuesday, so hopefully everyone is refreshed after enjoying the fireworks with their families instead of listening to me moaning,” he said.