Fylde RFC have confirmed two weekends of friendly fixtures against North Premier’s Blackburn Rugby Club in May, including the first matches at the Woodlands in almost 15 months.
Fixtures will be played on the Saturdays of May 22 and 29 at both the Woodlands and the Ramsgreave Drive base of Northern Premier club Blackburn.
The first Saturday will see a team made up of Fylde first and second XV players take on their Blackburn counterparts in east Lancashire, while a combined Fylde Saracens/Vandals side take on Blackburn Thirds at the Woodlands.
The fixtures are reversed on the second Saturday, when the senior teams play at Fylde and the Saracens/Vandals head to Blackburn. All these matches will start at 3pm and under-12 curtain-raisers are also planned.
Blackburn RFC compete in the North Premier division, level five in the RFU league hierarchy, one below Fylde.
Its another major step down the road to recovery for Fylde, whose chairman Mike Brennand told The Gazette: “We are open again as a club, we’re serving outside and it’s going amazingly well.
“The membership are really supporting the club. We’ve had some fantastic takings and we are financially stable this year. That’s down to excellent management from the team led by Mike Davies and Andy Dowds, who have done an amazing job maximising grant funding, reducing costs and sorting the club out so well after some challenging times. We are making the most of our opportunities and we have regular income again.”
The May friendlies will be played under adapted laws, meaning no scrums or mauls, and are likely to be contested over four quarters.
Should the government’s easing of Covid restrictions continue as planned with the next stage on May 17, these matches can be played in front of a limited number of spectators.