Fylde welcome old friends and rivals Hull Ionians to the Woodlands for a pre-season game this Saturday, 31st August (ko 15.00), a week before the opening of the National Two (North) season.
Ionians were deserved champions of N2N last season and are now preparing for their return to National One. Their Head Coach who led the promotion campaign, Martyn Wood, has moved on to head up Yorkshire Carnegie. In his place, Ionians have appointed the very experienced former Samoan international, Rotherham Premiership player-coach, and Coventry and Nuneaton coach Mike Umaga. Umaga’s day job is as Director of Rugby at Bishop Burton College, a land-based and sports college near Beverley in Yorkshire, rather like Myerscough.
Ionians media release on the appoinment said: “Last season saw Martyn Wood work closely with Mike [Umaga]. This relationship resulted a number of Bishop Burton College RU players playing for Hull Ionians and being heavily involved in the Club achieving promotion from National League 2 North to National League 1, the 3rd tier of English Rugby Union.
“Mike has already started putting the lads through their paces at summer training. Early signs are promising but Mike and all involved at the Club are well aware of the challenges to come from playing in National 1.”
Fylde will be keen to do rather better on 31st August than in their two games agant Ionians lst season – a 29-41 defeat at the Woodlands and a 22-34 loss at Brantingham Park.
Fylde name a strong squad which features new signings centre Scott Rawlings (ex-Longton, Fylde & Sale FC), backrow Hal Chapman (formerly Sedgley Park) and utility backs George Brookes (back at the Club following a year in Australia) and Will Lockhart (ex-KGS and Loughborough University).
1 Elliot Horner, 2 Ben Gregory/Alex Loney, 3 Adam Lewis/Jonny Wild, 4 Nick Ashcroft/Matt Garrod, 5 Jacob Conner, 6 Hal Chapman, 7 Ben O’Ryan/Ben Vernon, 8 David Fairbrother/James Torkington; 9 Adam Lanigan/Ben Gould, 10 Greg Smith; 11 George Brookes/Will Lockhart, 12 Scott Rawlings/Tom Forster, 13 Connor Wilkinson, 14 Lex Botha; 15 Tom Carleton.
The Ionians squad is:
Forwards: David Laverick, Josh Peace, Ben Bell, Will Booth, Ben Stephenson, Adam Brown, Edward Falkingham, Joe Makin, Ben Whyte, George Mewburn, Alex Torkington & Eddie Brown.
Backs: Joe Green, Sam Crane, Luke Thundercliffe, James Tincknell, William Hardy, Alfie Beadle, Tim Waqadau, Marco Fuomo & James Magee.
On a busy day at the Woodlands, two other pre-season games will precede the centre piece of Fylde v Ionians.
A Fylde Hawks/Saracens XV will entertain Garstang RUFC’s 1st XV, whilst the Vandals will take on Garstang’s 2nd team. Both kick off at 12.00.
Please come early, support the players and have a great rugby afternoon.