Fylde U13 vs Bolton U13
First Lancashire Cup match of the New Year and both teams played a very fine brand of rugby. A clear sunny day, and 30 odd lads keen to have a run around. After a frantic 5 minutes on the full first XV pitch some of the Fylde pack had raised their heart rate somewhat, fortunately for us the Bolton pack were huge and perhaps not suited to the vast expanses.
Bolton had the clear nudge in the scrums and dominated the tight exchanges and with a couple of good runners up front and a very dangerous centre the Fylde boys would have to dig deep. This was especially the case as even before kick-off we had lost the attacking threat of O’Hara and Godfrey, up front we had lost the tenacious play of Thompson to a broken thumb – this meant we gave away 27 fewer penalties mind you.
At least this gave the remainder of the squad a bit more game time and it wasn’t long before Fylde recognised the need to move the ball. The first series of quick rucks put Stacey into space for the first try. Murray followed this up with excellent support running and a good barge over the line. Stacey doubled his tally as once again quick ball from Greenwood and a well-timed pass from McIntyre created space.
Bolton came back with a well-deserved score using their big pack and elusive runners out wide. By this time Fylde realised that moving it early to Henderson on the wing was a sensible tactic. A couple of belting passes from Rae and Stacey sent the rangy runner deep into Bolton’s half and created a couple of good scores.
Bolton recorded another couple of well-deserved scores making the game in the balance at halftime.
All we needed to focus on at half time was the pack to target quick rucks, and to be fair to the lads they came out steaming for the first 10 minutes. Cowburn had his longest run ever and threw in a couple of outrageous dummies for good measure. Amr found himself offering great support out wide and bringing his effective passing game.
Senior carried on from last week no nonsense tackling then running up the middle like Roger Uttley. Facey and Foulds started to win rucks and Kondo-Duthie followed his mates with a couple of close runs. Shaw got his step going in front of the knowledgeable crowd but he didn’t get his trademark barge in as he was well marked all game. Bolton worked another worthy score and the next try could be crucial.
Fifteen minutes to go and the much smaller Fylde pack dug deep into their fitness levels. Mihell continued to tackle everything and secure front foot ball. Tomlinson and Gut were beginning to enjoy the extra space, Gut scoring 2 tries and Tomlinson 1.
They also set up further tries for Murray, Stacey and Henderson. The big winger then came off and immediately seized up, it was a 4 man lift to get him into the clubhouse.
By this time both sets of teams had the waft of chips and gravy and were grateful for Godfrey (snr.) to blow the whistle. Full time and a proper match – if we had played Bolton on a smaller pitch the result could well have been different – however a fine game played by all making their debut on the full sizer.