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Home > News > Fylde win tetchy contest at Red Rocks: West Park 18 - Fylde 26
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Your News Fylde win tetchy contest at Red Rocks: West Park 18 - Fylde 26
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Fylde came out on top in this hard and tetchy Lancashire derby and move up to 5th place in National Three (North) in consequence. Although their backs showed greater penetration than those of the home team and led for the majority of the game, West Park didn't give up easily. They fought back and were ahead for a 12 minute period early in the second half. But Fylde's forwards battled back despite losing skipper Roger Banks with a nasty cut head after 39 minutes and being reduced to six due to sin binnings for Dan Bowman and Nick King.

West Park opened the scoring on 9 minutes when a Fylde player was caught offside at a ruck and Andrew Soutar kicked a straightforward penalty. Just three minutes later Fylde replied with a well worked try. The visitor's pack drove down the midfield and Richard Kenyon made a clean break through Park's defence. He was caught and possession was turned over with a Park clearance kick to touch. Unfortunately it didn't reach it's intended destination. Fylde fullback John Armstrong ran the ball back and and passed to winger Lewis Boyd. The young Cumbrian cut a beautiful line and sped through the heart of the Park defence to score under the posts. Fylde are fortunate to have such a talented player as a stand-in for record try scorer Nick Royle who missed the game through an arm injury. John Armstrong converted the try for a 7-3 lead.

By this time the Fylde pack was really warming to its task. This is a big, powerful unit and when they're able to get the bit between their teeth then they're a real force to be reckoned with. They showed this on 17 minutes when a driving maul went 25 metres over the West Park try line and ended with prop Darren Clark the last man up. This was Clark's second try for the Club in 43 appearances. This made it 12-3 to Fylde as Armstrong missed the conversion kick.

But, predictably, West Park were in no mood to surrender control for the rest of the 1st half. They came back strongly and a second Soutar penalty on 31 minutes reduced the deficit. Park now took the game to Fylde and a couple of midfield breaks, led by former Fylde centre Dave Cunliffe, went close. But Fylde defended well and repelled the series of attacks to close the half in front at 12-6.

An unfortunate and deep head cut to skipper Roger Banks who was raked by a Park forward required him to be taken to hospital just before the half-time whistle. Like a number of national league clubs West Park didn't have a doctor present to attend to the wound so that was the end of his match. Whether such a lack of medical cover at this senior semi-professional level is acceptable is a matter of debate. One only hopes that any well intentioned treatment by the required 1st aid trained person in a future game doesn't lead to litigation. The experienced Cumbrian county captain Dan Bowman replaced Banks in the backrow with Sam Beaumont switching to no 8.

Although the 2nd half began in much the same way as the 1st, with Fylde in control, West Park rocked the visitors on 48 minutes. They broke away down field and excellent inter-passing between forwards and backs led to scrum-half Phil Webster scoring a good try. Soutar converted and Park were in front again at 13-12.

The game was now boiling up and there was a 20 minute period of bad tempered play. In his season at the Woodlands Dave Cunliffe showed himself to be an aggressive and 'in your face' player who took no prisoners. His snarling style was appreciated in certain respects by Fylde supporters but they saw the other side of it in this game. He was sinbinned on 55 minutes for foul play and Fylde took due advantage. A drive by their pack on 60 minutes saw Sam Beaumont held up over the line. From the subsequent scrum Oliver Brennand sneaked in at the left corner for his 22nd try of the season. John Armstrong then kicked a superb conversion from the touchline to stretch his side's lead to 19-13.

Only two minutes later the game took a turn for the worse for the visitors when Dan Bowman was shown a yellow card for foul play. On 66 minutes matters became critical for Fylde as lock Nick King was adjudged to have pulled down a Park line-out jumper and joined Bowman in the bin. From the subsequent kick to touch and lineout near the Fylde line the West Park drove over against the opposing six man pack and flanker Matt Williams claimed the try. Soutar missed the conversion so Fylde led by the closest of margins at 19-18.

But the weakened Fylde forwards then put in a sterling effort which proved to be the turning point in the game. They drove up the middle of the pitch and scrum-half Aikman broke right. He did another delightful switch pass, this time to fullback Armstrong who sidestepped his way past a couple of Park defenders to score under the posts. He converted his own excellent try and put his side 8 points clear. In so doing, he also earned a bonus point for Fylde with their 4th try of the afternoon.

Soon afterwards Fylde were back to 15 men and they held the late advances of West Park at bay. The game ended with a deserved win against a game and redoubtable team who never seems to know when they are beaten. The cuts and bruises picked up in this tough 80 minutes will heal and the visitor's coaches and players will look back on this game as a hard job well done.

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