Fylde will begin the 2020-21 season, whenever that is to be, with a new 1st XV skipper following the retirement of prop forward Adam Lewis announced in March. Succeeding him will be a very tough challenge given Adam’s presence, durability, loyalty, technical ability and leadership at the Club over so many years.
He’s the player in the existing squad with the highest number of 1st team appearances for the Club – 241 – and he has skippered the team in the last two seasons. Adam, 33, was a mini-junior at the Club and a prominent player at Kirkham Grammar School as well as earning caps for England U’18s. He also played representative rugby for Welsh Exiles U’16s & U’18s as well as spending periods in the Leeds & Sale Sharks Academies.
Adam joined the Fylde senior squad in the 2006-7 season and made his 1st team debut on 21st October 2006, coming on as a replacement against Leicester Lions at the Woodlands. He left to join Sedgley Tigers in 2010, making 50 appearances for the Park Lane club in National One before returning to the Woodlands in 2013.
He earned senior representative honours for England Counties in 2014 and has been a regular part of the successful Lancashire squad over recent seasons including leading the squad in their triumphant 2018 cup-winning Twickenham Final victory.
Head Coach Warren Spragg said: “I’ve avoided writing this for ages and I’ve realised it’s because I don’t want to write it. But I can’t put it off any longer so here we go!
“We’re going to miss Adam’s presence massively at the club and there are some important voids to fill in his retirement. He has grown into the role of captain over the past few seasons, leading by example as an 80 minute prop making crunching tackles, dominating at scrum time and stepping in at fly half with his distribution skills. He has built positive relationships with match officials as a respectful and honest leader who is on the pitch to play, not to talk! He has been the resident changing room DJ during this period, meticulously preparing playlists for each game, and I know there is some concern about who will step up to take on this massive task after Adams retirement!
“However, these gaps can all be filled to some extent by the lads at the Club. We’ll appoint a new captain who will develop their own leadership style and we’ll get a new DJ. But we’ll miss Adam. For me he has been part of the fabric of the club during the whole time I have been involved.
“He’s competitive, caring, genuine, proud and passionate. He has been a great role model to our young players who are now the core of our squad, showing how to balance your commitments as a semi-professional player with the responsibilities of raising a family and working in the real world. He is always there if anyone needs an arm round their shoulder or to be told that they aren’t pulling their weight.
“I am sure that Adam will look back at his time as Fylde captain with immense pride, as he should with the rest of his life so far in rugby. Over 200 national league games and captaining Lancashire to a County Championship victory at Twickenham in 2018 is impressive, and he has done it all with a humility that has earned the respect of anyone who knows him. He’s a great friend, team mate and captain, and will always be welcome to come and sit alongside the coaches on a Saturday afternoon at the Woodlands.
Adam Lewis said: “It will be a strange time for me, as rugby has been a major part of my life growing up but I’ll be unable give the necessary commitment the 1st XV deserves with my new career.
“I first put on a Fylde Jersey in the Under 7s for a year or so and then returned at around 17 to play for the 2nd XV before getting my chance for the 1st XV in 2006. I managed a few minutes before getting a yellow card for fighting after a scrum. Walking off, I was worried my coach Stuart Connell would be disappointed as I hadn’t backed down from the prop who hit me. As I walked off he smiled at me and said ‘good lad, well done’. I’ll never forget him calling me up very early on the morning of a derby game against Preston to see if I was ready for the battle – what a guy, I loved the intensity and passion for the club, a quality I’ve tried to maintain myself.
“All I wanted to do after that first season was start regularly (a big task with Darren Clarke and Sam Simpson playing prop), play long enough that I could bring my child to the game and be captain, inspired by team mate Sam Beaumont receiving the honour who was a similar age.
“I’ve played with some fantastic players over the last 13 years, too many to mention but it would be hard to think of a classier player than Richard Kenyon. He is easily the best player I’ve ever played with. I honestly think he could still walk in to the 1st XV and do a job. A great player and even better bloke.
“There are some fantastic people in the Club that I’ve had the pleasure of getting know, but as a player, Matt Filipo helped me enormously as a young prop. It was important i listened to his guidance and sought advice when I needed it. Its something I would encourage all props to do.
“From being an 18 year old sharing a changing room with Roger Banks, Nick King, Dylan O’Grady, Dan Bowman etc to leading the team for 2 years and making life-long friends both on and off the pitch, it has been an absolute honour. I hope I have done my team mates, my family, the captaincy and the club proud.
“I’m looking forward to my new career and spending time with my family. Whilst not living locally anymore, i hope to watch as many games as possible and hopefully get an invite to the Old Boys Lunch and who knows, maybe a run out for the Vandals in time!
“It’s a shame the season has ended the way it has, both for the club and myself. I think i had a few more seasons left in me, but I am prioritising my career and family for now. I’ve accrued lots of injuries over the last few years and had no time to recover properly, but if Spraggy finds himself in dire straits at any point I will always help out, even if its carrying the water! There is a fantastic squad at the moment and I know they are capable of great things – so good luck and do the Fylde jersey proud!”
Adam has been sponsored in recent seasons by The Rivington Brewing Company.