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Home > News > Nuneaton 36 - Fylde 53
Your News Nuneaton 36 - Fylde 53

Fylde displayed their best and worst faces in an extraordinary, high scoring 53-36 win at Nuneaton at Liberty Way. Despite missing Jason Robinson, free scoring winger Oli Brennand and influential backrower Steve McGinnis from their ranks, they raced out of their blocks and established a 17-0 lead after just 12 minutes, seemingly scoring at will.

A brave and determined Nuns squad came back to reduce the deficit to 17-22 just before half-time with the help of some slack play by the visitors. Fylde then re-established their dominance to stretch away to 53-24 by the 70th minute before a couple of late converted tries showed the depth of Nuns spirit and Fylde's cavalier defending. But despite the headaches for the defensive coaches of both teams, this was great entertainment for the small crowd.

The game was played on Nuns' second pitch, outside the main Liberty Way stadium, as Nuneaton FC have primacy of tenure when fixtures clash as they did on this occasion. This isn't ideal for anyone as the standard of the pitch leaves something to be desired and it doesn't give the best impression of national league rugby.

Still smarting from their last minute defeat by Leicester Lions at the Woodlands a week ago, Fylde started the game in the best possible way. In the first minute a straightforward backs move led to centre Mike Waywell bursting through the Nuns defence to score a smart try. His attempted conversion into the stiff breeze drifted wide but Fylde had a 5-0 lead.

Four minutes later, flanker Dan Waller peeled off a scrum and made ground before being dragged down. From the ensuing rucks, the ball was re-cycled and scrum-half Craig Aikman squirmed over the line for the try. Waywell converted and his side had a 12-0 advantage.

In the 12th minute, Fylde attacked once more with a dashing break from Aikman. He kicked on and his half-back partner Richard Kenyon followed up to win the race to the touchdown and a 17-0 lead despite claims of a knock-on by the home team. This all looked too easy for the visitors yet the second quarter of the game was to prove this was far from the truth.

On 20 minutes, a long clearing downwind penalty kick took Nuneaton deep into Fylde territory for the first time. From the subsequent scrummage the Nuns pack drove over from short range and lock Matt Aston claimed the touchdown. This was converted by fly-half Lee Chapman to reduce the deficit to 7-17.

This setback hardly seemed to matter to Fylde who on 25 minutes stormed back. Hooker Jonny Roddam secured possession with some brave play on the ground before Dan Waller made another half break to suck in the Nuns defence. With lock Paul Arnold heavily involved, the ball was moved along the back line before reaching rooky winger Matt Lomax who dived over for the try in the corner for his side's 4 try bonus point. The former Warrington Wolves tyro is still learning the union game but he certainly knows where the whitewash is! With Waywell receiving treatment for a calf injury, Kenyon took over the goal kicking duties but messed up the conversion attempt and Fylde's lead was 22-7.

As Fylde took their collective foot off the gas, Nuns came back with great spirit. A visiting player was penalised in his own half for holding on to the ball after the tackle and Chapman kicked the resulting penalty. Waywell had then to be helped off the pitch and was replaced by Matt Gargett who moved to outside centre.

Nuneaton came right back in the match in the 37th minute when a slick move was finished off in style by their very quick and nifty right winger, Andy Murray. Chapman added the extra points and Nuns had reduced the deficit to 17-22. Game on!

It took only three minutes for Fylde to reassert their dominance when after an assault by their pack near the Nuns line, the ball was moved to the right and Nick Royle had the easiest of jobs to score his 107th try for the Club in just about the same number of appearances. By now, Matt Gargett had taken over the goal kicking but his attempt went wide. 27-17 to Fylde at half-time.

Ten minutes into the 2nd half, England 7s star Royle bagged another try following a fluent series of moves which went one way and then another, orchestrated by fly-half Kenyon. Gargett added the extra points for a 34-17 advantage. Five minutes later, Royle broke free once more and was racing away only to be stopped by a very high tackle. The perpetrator was lucky to escape a card of some colour. From the ensuing penalty kick to touch, the Fylde pack set up a driving maul and prop Peter Altham claimed the try. Gargett, now with his sights set, converted beautifully from the touchline.

By now, Fylde were flying. In the 60th minute, the Nuns were pushed off their own scrummage ball and the Fylde pack set up a drive. The ball was eventually moved wide to the left and Matt Lomax finished off for his 2nd try of the afternoon and a 46-17 lead.

Nuneaton came back a couple of minutes later and pressed on the Fylde line. Flanker Dan Waller was yellow carded and Nuns took due advantage. They eventually moved the ball to right winger Murray who skinned the Fylde defence for a fine individual try. Chapman converted and the Fylde lead was reduced to 46-24.

The end-to-end play continued with Fylde taking their turn to attack. In the 70th minute Richard Kenyon skipped through a big hole in the tiring Nuns defence for a good try under the posts, converted by Gargett and a 53-24 lead.

Typical of the game, Nuns just were not prepared to throw in the towel. With former Fylde Mini-Junior Andrew Dockray driving them on from no 8, they came back strongly and were delighted when they exploited Fylde's defensive fragility by notching their bonus point fourth try and Andrew Murray's hat trick score. They weren't satisfied as they attacked once more in the last minute and scrum-half Alex Mumford nipped over for a try that full-back Jolley converted for a final score of 36-53.

It seems strange that after scoring nine tries and more than fifty points that there was a palpable feeling of disappointment amongst Fylde players at their rather slap dash performance. Aspects of their game were too loose and defensive errors were frequent. There is a real determination to tighten up in the coming weeks - they will have to as they take on better teams than Nuns starting with Hull at the Woodlands next week.

Nevertheless, Fylde move up to 2nd place in National Two (North) and are now on a winning sequence of four away games, a feat they couldn't manage last season.

Nuneaton: Jolley; Murray, Johnson, Douglas, Braddow (Brown 57); Chapman, Mumford; Dunkley (Poole 53), Wright, Ryan (Green 61), Aston, Turner, Smith, Forder, Dockray (Ross 73).

Fylde: Wallwork, Royle, Briers, Waywell (Gargett 31), Lomax, Kenyon, Aikman; Livesey (Lavelle 49), Roddam, Altham (Thoma 57), Arnold, King (Ferguson 57), Waller, Sutherland (Smith 71), Beaumont.

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