In June 2020 Fylde announced the arrival of half-back Matt Sturgess who joined the Club from Sale Sharks.
The former Hutton Grammar School, Tarleton RUFC, Preston Grasshoppers and Lancashire junior came through the Sharks Academy system via Myerscough College’s AASE programme. He established himself at scrum-half in the Sharks U’18s squad before earning a full time professional contract in 2017. He became a regular in the Sale Jets line-up, and replacement appearances in the Sharks European Challenge Cup, LV Cup and Premiership Rugby Cup tournaments as well as dual registered appearances for Sale FC in the National Leagues.
What of Matt’s experiences during the past frustrating year?
Matt says: “The first lockdown was difficult as I had an operation on my knee and wasn’t able to rehab it the way I wanted to: gym, physio etc. I managed to get my hands on some gym equipment so was able to continue weight training and also played plenty of PlayStation!
“The most recent lockdown was loads better for myself personally. I work in a school now and was able to continue going to work to teach key workers children. The school also has a good fitness room which I had access to every day.
“Training at Fylde has been excellent so far, I’m loving it. Each session has been challenging (in a good way) both mentally and physically. I’ve been super impressed by the skill levels of the group as a whole – especially after such a long break. I’m looking forward to the next few weeks and hopefully getting stuck into some matches.”
Fylde RFC is also delighted to welcome newcomer Pan Stylianou to its 1st XV squad. The young hooker developed his rugby career at Cheadle Hulme School in Manchester whilst also playing in Sale FC’s junior ranks from the age of five.
Pan earned representative honours for Cheshire in their U’16s & U’18s squads and made the North of England squad at U’18s level as well as playing for Sale Sharks U’18s. Beyond that, he has been capped by Cyprus at both rugby 7s and 15s – the youngest ever player for both teams.
Since leaving school in 2020 Pan has been studying at Lancaster University.
We asked Pan about his experience in the last 12 months during the pandemic. “In terms of managing during the last year, it has been difficult, especially coming into a new environment at Lancaster university and having all lectures online which was definitely a struggle.
“With regards to rugby stopping, I definitely took a hit physically and mentally as it’s a definite outlet for having fun and competing so without it there was a definite void. However, that being said, I’ve still been keeping fit, doing as much as I can with the little weights I had to spare which were enough to help me tick me over and now I’m very thankful we are back playing.”
Welcome to Fylde Matt and Pan!