The Vandals are back on track

Fylde Vandals 17 Blackburn 3rds 5

Fylde Vandals needed to get back to winning ways after the disappointment of their last match at Rochdale and this they did with a hard earned win against their old friends and rivals Blackburn 3rds. The EPD had gathered a strong squad of twenty-one which included no fewer than four dad and lad combinations; we three Kings, a pair of Greys, a double Swindells and a brace of Todds were all present and correct.

Damian King, Chris Cardwell and Richard Todd were on the front line with Mike Hewitson and Tom Godfrey adding the grunt. Dave Porter, Jack King and Captain Ben James had free reign from the backrow. Old Man Swindells was at 9 and Sean Whiteside was the magician at 10. The tortoise and hare on the wings were Tony Rawlinson and Adam Todd respectively, the midfield was patrolled by Jack Jones and Paul Green and Young Man Swindells was the last line of defence. Adey Grey, Alex Grey, Rob King, Stuart Satchell, Pete Acton and Sean Townsend were primed and ready to be let loose from the side lines at any given time.

If I told you there were four yellow cards and a sort of red one during the game you’d be forgiven for thinking this was a nasty game but it really wasn’t. Yes it was full on, yes it was a no nonsense affair and yes there were no prisoners taken but nasty it certainly was not. It was the usual game between two teams who play with a commitment and passion that always results in a tough and uncompromising eighty minutes of rugby.

The Vandals started well and using a strong wind on their backs to good effect, they gained good field position on plenty of occasions. The standard Vandals try ensued from one such attack. The lineout was gathered nicely and the rolling maul which generally proves unstoppable was unstoppable; Dave Porter controlled it and consequently added five more points to his tally for the season, the extras weren’t added.

The second Vandals try was made and scored by Sean Whiteside. He took the ball outside Blackburn’s 22 and darted towards the line of blue in front of him. Putting boot to ball he deftly lifted the egg over said line, he waved his magic wand and the defensive line parted like the Red Sea allowing him to gather the ball and cruise under the posts for the score, he then calmly turned five points into seven and that as they say is magic!!

Blackburn had some strong and tricky runners in their backs and their pack was going toe to toe with the Vandals big boys so they were always going to have their moment. They took their chance towards the end of the first half and cut the deficit to a converted try but the Vandals defensive effort throughout the first stanza was superb and this stalled the other chances Blackburn had. Three of the four yellow cards were brandished in the first half but, two to Blackburn and one to the Fylde boys. All were for minor misdemeanours and this didn’t detract from the effort both teams were putting in.

The Vandals dug in for the second half and continued their huge defence but the next significant situation happened quite early on as Frazer Swindells was running the ball out of defence.  Unfortunately the Blackburn winger Frazer ran at got his timing all wrong and caught the young speedster with a straight arm across the head. During the “tackle” the winger somehow managed to injure himself and started to leave the field; seeing this the referee allowed him to continue limping off adding that he couldn’t be replaced…a sort of sending off but all parties were happy with the decision and the game continued.

Young Swindells took a rest after this and this saw crowd favourite Stuart Satchell enter the fray for only his second game of the season. He’d been on the pitch no longer the two or three minutes when the ball was sent down the blind side. Paul Green linked with Adam Todd who was held up a few metres short of the line. Unfortunately young Todd had to pass it inside to the support and yes you’ve guessed the support was Satch, who cantered over the line for the try.

Rob King had already come on for Dave Porter but there was still time for the EPD to ring a few more changes so on came Adey and Alex Grey and both put in fantastic cameos with Adey stealing a couple of crucial lineouts and Alex bouncing defenders off for fun. Alex always looks dangerous with ball in hand and is an integral part of the squad when available. The Vandals evened up the yellow card numbers in the last quarter but they held out until the end and took the game 17-5.

This was a great win for the Vandals who displayed admirable and stoic defence throughout. Thanks to the entire squad for their continued efforts. Blackburn played a full part in the game and we wish them well for their last few games of the season; we look forward to next year’s encounters. We’d also like to thank the Pink Ladies of the Vandalettes who made it down to the top pitch from Ladies Day hospitality to enjoy a good chunk of the game.

Next week see’s the Vandals renew more old acquaintances as Thornton/Cleveleys 2nds make the short trip to the Woodlands so let’s be ‘avin you all for that one

Click here for Richard Mason’s photos.

Fylde Vandals – Damian King, Chris Cardwell, Richard Todd, Mike Hewitson, Tom Godfrey, Dave Porter, Jack King, Ben James (c), Phil Swindells, Sean Whiteside, Tony Rawlinson, Jack Jones, Paul Green, Adam Todd, Frazer Swindells, Adey Grey, Alex Grey, Rob King, Stuart Satchell, Pete Acton, Sean Townsend

EPD – Sean Townsend

Report – Phil Swindells

Photos – Richard Mason

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