A hard day’s night for the Vandals

Hawcoat Park A team 33 Fylde Vandals 7

Yesterday saw The Vandals take the long and winding road to the South Lakes Peninsulas for their 4 North league encounter against Hawcoat Park A team (2nds). Unfortunately due to injuries and unavailabilities the EPD only had a squad/team of fifteen to call upon but this was just another day in the life of your hardy Vandals troopers. The weather wasn’t unusual for this neck of the woods and at one point in the first half day turned to night as the storm clouds gathered and the rain/hail lashed it down, luckily this did move on and the conditions improved somewhat but it was never going to be a day for open running rugby. The players however just let it be and got on with the game…

Both teams slugged it out for the first quarter but Hawcoat did manage to grab a couple of tries and open up a lead. Mistakes were littering the game but from me to you this was understandable as the conditions were pretty horrendous, however the Vandals with the help of a strong tailwind gained good field position from the boots of Jack Jones and Tom Hodgkins. Lineouts were always going to be a lottery but with a little help from my friends up front enough ball was won and this put the Fylde boys on the front foot on numerous occasions.

Rob King, who is getting better with every outing, was a terrier all afternoon and turned ball over for fun. The rest of the pack worked tremendously hard too with Tom Godfrey and Ben James prominent in much of the go forward stuff. The Vandals only try came from some great forward play and Rob King was on hand to storm over the line for the score. The extras were added by the very safe boot of Tom Hodgkins. Hawcoat had some strong runners and were playing some pretty decent rugby considering the conditions and they duly grabbed a couple more tries.

The skipper’s message at the break was that we can work it out if we come together and pressurise the home team on to the backfoot. The Vandals answered their leader’s call as they tackled hard to stem the Hawcoat attacks and ran hard out of defence at every given opportunity. Tom Hodgkins at fullback covered every blade of grass and was more than a handful in attack. The EPD had damaged his knee in the first half and left the field of play at the break but Hawcoat Park kindly lent us a player and he was very much involved in the Vandals good work in the second half.

There were no more shouts of “Here comes the sun!” and in the gathering gloom and after Hawcoat had amounted an unassailable lead the referee blew for full time; 33-7 to the boys from Barrow.

Despite the weather this was a hugely enjoyable outing and we’d like to thank Hawcoat Park for the game and wish them all the best for the rest of the season. The Vandals boys worked hard all afternoon and it was like there were eight days a week with the amount of effort they put in! Tom Hodgkins was quite rightly nominated as MoM but having got a ticket to ride earlier he missed out on a 4-way boatrace with the MoM’s from the other three teams that had played on the day. Rob King stepped up to the plate and didn’t disgrace himself coming a solid third.

Nathan Bagshaw from the colts made his Vandals debut and put in a cracking performance. The rest of the team showed great spirit and determination for the whole game but at the end of the day Hawcoat deserved the win. A final thanks goes to Tom Hodgkins and Rupert Cobain from the Saracens who answered a late call for extra players and Jon Whitby for his support from the touchline.

Next week the Vandals continue their helter skelter of league games and round off the year at Bolton. See you all for that one and lets hopefully a better number for it!!

Fylde Vandals – Rupert Cobain, Chris Cardwell, Damian King, Tom Godfrey, Richard Todd, Nathan Bagshaw, Ben James (c), Phil Swindells, Jack Jones, Tony Rawlinson, Gary Andrews, Pete Acton. Sean Townsend, Tom Hodgkins

EPD – Sean Townsend

Paperback writer – Phil Swindells

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