Vandals kick 2020 off in fine style

Fylde Vandals 38 Clitheroe 2nds 19

With three teams at home, Saturday was a busy day at the club, consequently the Vandals were on the little patch of greenery alongside the club’s main pitch but at least that meant the old boys didn’t have to walk too far for their first game of 2020. Their rivals on the day were Clitheroe 2nds and it’s always an exciting and competitive affair when these two teams lock horns; Saturday turned out to be no different.

The EPC had put together a decent squad of 22, including new boy James Freeman and returnees Tom Benstead and Frazer Swindells, who were having their first runouts of the season.

The Vandals started very strongly and one third of the EPC triumvirate was first over the try line as Tony Rawlinson found a hole in the Clitheroe defence and touched down near the posts. Forwards and backs were linking well and the next two scores were almost identical in their making. From scrums in the Vandals’ half, number 8 Jon Whitby picked up from the base and broke blind, he fed the ball to old man Swindells who after drawing the winger sent the ball to young man Swindells and Frazer did the rest, outpacing the Clitheroe fullback on both occasions for his brace of scores.

Fairly new boy Sam Watson, who had a tremendous game, was next to add a five pointer. He found himself in the midfield and gladly accepted the ball, breaking through a tackle for his score. Sean Whiteside was directing things well from the number 10 slot and had obviously been watching some Premiership rugby recently as he attempted the now common place kick pass to one of his wide receivers on the left flank. It didn’t go quite as the Vandals’ own Danny Cipriani might have wanted but after a wicked bounce, which totally outfoxed the Clitheroe winger, Stephan Kuhn scooped up the ball and fell over the line for the score.

Clitheroe to their credit never took a backward step even though they were now 31 points behind and managed to add a try before the end of the half as their pacey young scrumhalf stepped through the Vandals defence to score under the posts.

At the start of the second half the Vandals found their lead cut by a further 7 points as Clitheroe bagged another converted try and this was quickly followed by another one out wide, only this time the kick sailed past the posts. There were now less than two scores in the game and it looked like it could go either way but the Vandals gathered their defensive thoughts and collectively put a stranglehold on the game crushing Clitheroe’s attempt to take the points.

The game was signed, sealed and delivered for the Vandals when Sam Watson, after one of these concerted defensive efforts, took the ball in his own half and burst through a couple of tackles. He then sprinted for the line only to be tackled a couple of meters short, however he had enough momentum to dive forward for the score; a great end to a great game. With Sean Whiteside kicking four out of six conversions, the game finished 38-19 to the Fylde boys.

This was an excellent start to 2020 for the Vandals who, to a man, worked hard for the win but Sam Watson deservedly took the Vandals MoM for his excellent performance on the day. I’d like to thank Clitheroe for the game; they played a massive part in the afternoon’s entertainment. Good luck to them for the rest of the season, their league position rather belies the quality of the rugby they play.

Thanks to the entire Vandals squad, but a special mention goes to the Vandals’ front row of Liam Sheedy, Chris Cardwell, Rob King and Damian King, who even though being up against a much bigger and more experienced unit, gave their all for the cause. Finally as always a huge thanks goes to our support both old and new, as I’m sure some of the regular 1st team watchers were looking over their shoulders to see how we were doing.

Next week see’s the Vandals taking a trip down the M55 to Lightfoot lane for the most local of local derby’s against Preston Grasshoppers’ 4th team so I’ll see you all for that one.

Click here for Sarah’s match photographs.

Fylde Vandals – Liam Sheedy, Chris Cardwell, Rob King, Ali Atkinson (c), Mike Hewitson, Richard Todd, Sam Watson, Jon Whitby, Phil Swindells, Sean Whiteside, Sam Smith, Stephan Kuhn, Tony Rawlinson, Frazer Swindells, Adam Todd, Iain Hollingsworth, Gary Andrews, Damian King, Tom Benstead, Max Barrett, James Freeman, Jack Worsley

Management – The EPC
Report – Phil Swindells
Photos – Sarah Swindells

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