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Home > News > Fylde 34 - Luctonians 29
Your News Fylde 34 - Luctonians 29

There was a curious mix of relief and disappointment on the faces of the

Fylde players as they trooped off at the end of this exciting, see-saw

game. They realised that they had played their 'get out of jail' card

for the second successive match thanks to Callum McShane's 80th minute

try and are now within touching distance of the championship of National

Two (North).

Yet they also reflected on their error-strewn performance against a game

Luctonians team which had threatened in the 2nd half to concede a match

winning position. Indeed, most spectators agreed that a draw would have

been a fair result and a suitable reward for the gutsy Lucs squad and

for their ebullient group of travelling supporters who created such a

good atmosphere in the big crowd at the Woodlands. But the Fylde squad

are in the habit of winning – this was their 13th successive victory –

and they continue to find ways of playing to the final whistle and

edging tight matches.

In so many ways this game resembled Fylde's previous performance at

'Hoppers. Blistering start, gradual loss of possession (often due to

poor handling), indifferent discipline, some good tries, wasted chances

allowing the opposition back into the game and then a final dynamic

attack to snatch victory.

Fylde started like a million dollars. In their first attack the ball was

spun out to ever improving centre Mike Waywell who ran past and then

through a couple of Luctonians defenders to claim a very smart try. The

Lucs fullback Will Hodnett was steamrollered by Waywell and had to

retire shortly afterwards, looking very shaky on his feet. Steve Collins

missed the conversion but Fylde had a 5-0 lead.

In the 5th minute another fluent Fylde attack saw full-back Richard

Kenyon step his way through a bemused Luctonian defence with no hand

laid on him. Collins kicked a straightforward conversion and Fylde were

12-0 in front. If the visitors initially looked shell shocked then they

soon got down to work and secured some decent possession. When Fylde

were caught offside in the 12th minute, centre John Morris stepped up

and kicked a good penalty to get his side on the scoreboard.

Fylde's fast off loading game is high risk, high reward. When it started

to go wrong in this game Luctonians took due advantage. A mix up in the

Fylde backs in the 25th minute allowed Lucs flanker Ben James to drive

over for a try. Morris converted and his side was now only 10-12 in deficit.

Fylde regrouped in the last 10 minutes of the 1st half and started to

exercise more control and patience. Their backrow was working very

effectively with flankers Steve McGinnis and Mark Stephenson making some

fine breaks alongside skipper Sam Beaumont. After a series of attacks

down their right hand side inside the Lucs 22m line on 35 minutes, the

ball was recycled several times and eventually reached hooker Al Holmes

who drove over from close range to score a very important try. Collins

again missed the conversion but Fylde took a 17-10 lead into the

dressing room at half-time.

Luctonians hit back early in the 2nd half. After a series of assaults on

the Fylde line, try scoring prop phenomenon Anthony Marfell bagged his

10th of the season from close range. Surprisingly, John Morris missed

the conversion so Fylde clung on to their narrow lead.

In the 52nd minute it was time for Fylde to hit back in this end-to-end

encounter. A series of attacks finished with centre Jack Ward powering

over from 10m out for a good and timely try. Collins converted and Fylde

had stretched their advantage to 24-15. Surely the league leaders would

now take control and put the Herefordshire men to the sword!

Nothing could have been further from the truth as Fylde continued to

make mistakes and gift possession to their determined visitors. It took

Lucs only a couple of minutes to make their response as they started to

spread the ball wide and winger Ed Binham dived over in the right corner

for a good try. Morris converted beautifully from wide out via the post

and the deficit was back to two points at 22-24.

The crucial moment of the game came on 61 minutes. With the Fylde

forwards driving into a ruck on the Lucs 22m line and near the

touchline, totemic lock Alex Davidson was picked out by the Assistant

Referee for foul play and given a straight red card.

Fylde had by this point introduced replacement prop Tom Lavelle. He

showed his fine skills early on with a delightful pass to set Callum

McShane free down the left. In the 65th minute 14-men Lucs ran out of

defenders and Lavelle muscled over for a good try. The conversion was

missed but Fylde had a 29-22 lead.

But this was not the end for the never say die visitors. Back they came

again and, at last playing a wider game, they launched an attack down

their left in the 70th minute. The Fylde defence drifted too far infield

and space was created for man of the match John Morris to dive over in

the corner to the delight of the visiting supporters. Even better was to

follow as Morris converted his own try from the touchline with a lovely

kick. 29-all and Fylde's 100% record over 14 weeks was in severe danger.

The last ten minutes was helter skelter as Fylde rushed forward. In the

78th minute a Lucs player offended 35m out and to the left of the posts.

This was Steve Collins' chance to clinch the win with a relatively

straightforward penalty kick but to the horror of the home supporters it

drifted just past the post. Fylde's goose was cooked it seemed and they

would have to settle for a draw. Not quite, as they came back on the

attack once again. From a ruck 30m out, scrum-half Martin Wallwork found

replacement flanker Cameron Thompson who passed to Richard Kenyon.

Kenyon gave a perfect pass to winger McShane who had space to get the

ball down for the try in the corner without a hand laid on him.

This broke the hearts of the Luctonian supporters as well as their

gallant players but Fylde showed, once again, the happy knack of scoring

crucial tries at vital moments as the referee blew for time.

Fylde Head Coach Mark Nelson said: “Once again, this game demonstrated

our team spirit and resilience against very committed opposition. We did

have a high error count but I can't knock the ambition of the players

even if their application wavered somewhat. The players could be accused

of trying a little too hard as we lost the flow of the game. Opposing

teams are targeting certain players such as Paul Arnold, Mike Waywell

and Jason Robinson but ultimately, if we execute our game plan

effectively, then there's not much other teams can do about it.

“In the end though, to score six tries against a good side and come away

with a maximum 5 points speaks for itself. We have two very important

and hard games coming up next against the two clubs likely to be

contesting promotion along with us – Westoe at home next week,

Loughborough Students a week later in the Midlands. We will have to be

at our best to take points off these teams.”

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