Hinckley and Fylde fought out a very tough, physical battle at the host’s Leicester Road ground and the National Two (North) 2nd placed club edged home by 16-5 over the Lancastrians in the first ever league game between the two clubs. Despite Fylde taking an early lead, Hinckley kicked their way to a 6-5 advantage at half time. When Fylde were reduced to 14 players after Henry Hadfield’s straight red card just after the interval, it was always going to be hard work for the visitors. And so it proved.
Fylde began the game in dominating form and they opened the scoring in the 4th minute. From a lineout inside the Hinckley 22m line, they set up a rolling maul and tighthead prop Adam Joyner drove over to claim his first 1st XV try for his local club. In only his second senior starting appearance, the former Kirkham Grammar student is proving to be a reliable front rower with a sound scrummaging technique. Fly-half Greg Smith’s attempted conversion was off target but Fylde had a 0-5 lead.
As Fylde continued to press, a Hinckley forward offended in the 11th minute and Greg Smith opted to go for goal but unfortunately the kick drifted wide. It was Hinckley’s turn to win a penalty a few minutes later but their fullback Joe Wilson’s kick was no more successful than Smith’s. However, when he had a second chance in the 21st minute, he made no mistake and reduced the deficit to 3-5.
Fylde had plenty of possession and territory but were unable to exploit their chances to extend their lead. In the 35th minute Wilson had a third penalty opportunity and was successful in putting the home side ahead at 6-5. And so it stayed as the half-time whistle blew.
The 2nd half started with the same fierce struggle for possession and the physicality was intense. In the 42nd minute, home lock James Moreton was sent to the sinbin.
Fylde pressed hard on the Hinckley line, with several phases of possession as they drove forward. They believed that lock Matt Garrod had got the touch down but the referee disagreed. Fylde’s numerical advantage was brief and the crucial moment in the game proved to be a couple of minutes later when Fylde winger Henry Hadfield was shown a red card for foul play. From the ensuing penalty, the Hornets pressed inside the Fylde half and hooker Jack Dickinson burst clear to score a good try. This was converted by Wilson and Hinckley were clear at 13-5.
Fylde’s 14 men continued to battle hard but things didn’t run their way and their usually potent attack was blunted by Hinckley’s determined defence. By the 60th minute, Head Coach Spragg threw his replacements into the action with prop Cal Ford, lock Nick Ashcroft, centre Luke Fowden and scrum-half Cameron Crampton replacing Adam Joyner, Sam Dugdale, Connor Wilkinson and Gus Warr who was making his debut for the Club.
The final blow inflicted by the home side was a third Joe Wilson penalty in the 65th minute. Fylde didn’t give up but just couldn’t narrow the deficit as Hinckley ran down the clock.
Hinckley Head Coach George Chuter said: “That was a closely contested game and all credit to Fylde. Both sides really gave it everything for 80 minutes.”
Fylde’s Warren Spragg said: “We had enough opportunities to win that game and I think when the lads look back at the video they’ll realise how close we were! Unfortunately, we broke through three times and could have scored but didn’t get that final pass away.
“We lost our way for a five minute period after having a try disallowed and losing Hadfield to a red card. Both incidents were frustrating and could easily have been given the other way, but these things happen and we just have to move on from them. We’ll have a look at the referee’s report and the video, and hopefully we won’t lose him for any games.”
Fylde slip one place to 7th in National Two (North).
FYLDE: 15 Tom Carleton; 14 Henry Hadfield, 13 Chris Briers (c), 12 Connor Wilkinson (Luke Fowden 60), 11 Tom Grimes; 10 Greg Smith, 9 Gus Warr (Cameron Crampton 60); 1 Elliot Horner, 2 Alex Loney, 3 Adam Joyner (Cal Ford 58), 4 Matt Garrod, 5 Olli Parkinson (Ben Gregory 71), 6 Harlan Corrie, 7 Ben O’Ryan, 8 Sam Dugdale (Nick Ashcroft 58).[Photos courtesy of Ian Garrod]