Leigh 3rds 21 Fylde Vandals 26
The EPC had fairly limited resources for the Vandals latest league encounter away to an always tricky Leigh 3rds. However they still managed to field a decent 18 strong squad, which included many of the usual suspects and returnees Paul Green, Ben Hall and Jack King.
It was a beautiful day for a run around, with bright wintery sun bursting through the clouds. The Vandals made early inroads into Leigh territory, utilising their weapon of mass destruction, the rolling maul from a lineout, to good effect. In fact one of these proved to be very decisive as the Fylde boys heaved themselves over the Leigh line and Jon Whitby dropped down with ball in hand. Paul Green added the subsequent extras.
Sam Watson continued his rich vein of form with another all action display and he was the next Vandal over the try line but this time the follow up kick sailed past the posts. Paul Green was making good breaks from the midfield and from one of these telling efforts, he managed to out sprint two Leigh defenders to score out on the wide left hand side; while he was catching his breath Phil Swindells slotted the kick.
Jack King was also having a fine game. The Leigh defence found him almost impossible to stop as he burst through attempted tackle after attempted tackle. He did just that for his try, leaving a couple of black and yellow players in a mess on the ground before going under the posts for his score. Phil Swindells was successful with the two pointer.
The first half was drawing to a close but the Vandals took their foot of the pedal a little too early allowing Leigh to register a score a minute or so before the happy whistle blower could call time on what was still a very productive forty minutes of rugby for the Fylde team. The halftime score was Leigh 7 Vandals 26.
It seems Leigh were given the hairdryer treatment at halftime, as they came out all guns blazing in the second period. The Vandals gave away far too many silly penalties as well which gave Leigh the chance to clear their lines or gain good territorial advantage and it wasn’t long before the Vandals lead had been cut to a mere five points and they knew they had to dig deep to stem the tide.
Changes had been made by Vandals team handler Mark Worsley with Damian King replacing Liam Sheedy and joining his lad Rob in the front row. Gary Andrews replaced Tony Rawlinson in the backline and Rafael Laverde came on for Sam Watson who had to retire from the proceedings after taking a particularly heavy knock.
The Vandals did indeed dig deep and defended like their lives depended on it, in fact they almost increased their lead with a couple of Paul Green penalty attempts after Leigh had tried a little too hard to steal the points. The referee eventually decided enough was enough and blew for full time with the score Leigh 21 Vandals 26. It had been a hard fought contest with both teams fully committed to their cause but there could be only one winner and in my opinion the Vandals were more than worthy of the accolade.
Paul Green was a deserved Vandals MoM but was pushed very hard for it by a rampaging Jack King, a resurgent Jon Whitby and a rumbustious Sam Watson. Ben Hall, Adam Todd, Rob King and Jack Worsley all get a mention in dispatches and it should also be noted that the rest of the squad contributed massively to the final outcome of this very enjoyable afternoon out.
Thanks very much to Leigh for the game; we wish them all the best for the rest of the season. It’s a week off for the boys next Saturday but February 1st sees the Vandals on the road yet again as they visit Ormskirk RUFC to take on their 2nds, see you there.
Fylde Vandals – Liam Sheedy, Jack Worsley, Rob King, Ali Atkinson (c), Mike Hewitson, Richard Todd, Sam Watson, Jon Whitby, Phil Swindells, Ben Hall, Cecil Holland, Jack King, Paul Green, Tony Rawlinson, Adam Todd, Gary Andrews, Damian King, Rafael Laverde
Vandals Management – the EPC
Team Handler – Mark Worsley
Report – Phil Swindells
(sorry no photos this week)