Fylde Vandals 46 Hawcoat Park A team 7
Unfortunately the Hawks game had been cancelled so the sweeping plains of the main pitch were beckoning Fylde’s Vandals as it turned out they were the only team at home. Good for the spectators as they didn’t need to put wellies on and it was a hop,skip and a jump to re-fill any empty pint pots, but bad for most of the Vandals as the older generation would probably prefer a smaller playing area to ply their trade. However there were a few younger lads in the team so at least they were looking forward to the space to stretch their legs.
The squad was a big one but the EPD settled on the now established front row of Damian King, Chris Cardwell and Richard Todd. The engines were going to be stoked by Ali Atkinson and Tom Godfrey and the back row was made up of Rob King, Dave Porter and the skipper Ben James. Phil Swindells and Sean Whiteside were the half backs, Paul Green and Pete Acton patrolled the midfield, the outriders were Ethan Harvey and Adam Todd and the last man standing was Jack Jones. There was youth and experience on the bench with Mike Hewitson, Jack King, Hakan “Hak Attack” Ilhan, Iain Hollingsworth, Frazer Swindells, Cecil Holland and Nathan Bagshaw ready to answer the EPD’s call at any time.
Paul Green and the skipper ran a pre-game defensive masterclass as it had been noted that recently more than a few tries had been leaked and a tweak here and there would probably shore up the lines. Everyone responded brilliantly to this and from the start of the game the Vandals were intent on giving Hawcoat no time to launch any meaningful attacks.
The first points of the day were from the boot of Sean Whiteside as he slotted a penalty from in front of the posts but the first try was a Vandals classic with the forwards taking good ball and setting up the usual rolling maul. As it collapsed over the line the last man up was Tom Godfrey and this was the start of a pretty successful afternoon for the big man. Unfortunately the kick was missed.
Out wide youth and pace was rolled in to one as Adam Todd, after a couple of good early runs, was the next scorer. The ball was sent left then cleverly recycled right ending up in the hands of the young speedster who easily outpaced his opposite number for his first score in a Vandals shirt. There were no extras this time either. There were rampaging runs a plenty from the Vandals and Dave Porter epitomised this as he took the ball at pace and ghosted through the Hawcoat defence to go under the sticks. There was time for one more score in the first half as Paul Green sprinted past the Hawcoat wing and full back to dive over the try line for a very nice score. Sean Whiteside bagged the conversions for these last two tries to make it a very tidy score line of 27-0 at halftime.
The EPD made a few changes at the break but it didn’t really disrupt the way the Vandals played in the second half. The forwards were putting in a very strong shift, looking totally at ease in the scrums and winning most of their lineouts and quite a few of Hawcoats’ too. The backs always looked dangerous with ball in hand and Sean Whiteside was controlling it all nicely from 10.
Tom Godfrey grabbed his brace and soon after made it a hat trick with two good scores. One was mainly due to the rest of the forwards trundling it up to the line and the other was a surprise burst up the blind side which totally caught the Hawcoat boys off guard. Sean Whiteside again added the extras.
With plenty on the bench a few more changes were made and despite every effort being made to keep Hawcoat from scoring, it was probably inevitable that they were going to have their moment and this came from their strong and quite pacey centre as for once the home defence was split and he dotted down under the posts. The Vandals reacted well though and it was fitting that the skipper, Ben James, was the person to add the last five points to the final score of 46-7 to the Vandals.
This was a very strong performance from the Vandals who were excellent in attack scoring some very nice tries and committed in defence keeping Hawcoat at bay for almost the whole game. The entire squad contributed massively to this and everyone should be proud of their performances. Tom Godfrey stole the show with his hat trick but Dave Porter, Rob King, Jack Jones and Adam Todd all had games to remember.
Thanks to all the Vandals who turned out for this one. I think the decent number of spectators on the side-lines were royally entertained for the whole eighty minutes. Hawcoat Park played their part in the game; they are a great bunch of lads who, even though it’s a pretty long way back to Barrow, stayed on for a good length of time enjoying a pint and bit of banter with the Fylde boys. Good luck to them for the rest of the season.
Next week it’s back on the road for the Vandals as they embark on a trip to Rochdale to take on their third team. Let’s build on the great win against Hawcoat and we can hopefully set ourselves up for a good run in to the end of the season. Cheers and see you at Rochdale
Fylde Vandals – Damian King, Chris Cardwell, Richard Todd, Tom Godfrey, Ali Atkinson, Dave Porter, Rob King, Ben James (c), Phil Swindells, Sean Whiteside, Ethan Harvey, Paul Green, Pete Acton, Adam Todd, Jack Jones, Mike Hewitson, Jack King, Hakan “Hak Attack” Ilhan, Iain Hollingsworth, Frazer Swindells, Cecil Holland, Nathan Bagshaw
EPD – Sean Townsend
Report – Phil Swindells
Photos – Sarah Swindells