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Home > News > Hull Ionians 7 - Fylde 34
Your News Hull Ionians 7 - Fylde 34

Fylde went out of the last ever EDF National Trophy when their young, in effect, 2nd team went down by 7-34 to Hull Ionians at Brantingham Park in a 2nd round tie. The Lancastrians made 12 changes from the line-up that started the previous league match against Darlington Mowden Park. Whilst Fylde don't have a great affection for this tournament - six successive away ties are mainly responsible - but it has given the Club's rugby managers an opportunity to give young players a chance to show what they can do against good class senior opposition.

And the players wearing the claret and gold against Ionians certainly did the club proud with a brave and committed display. It's likely that Fylde Director of Rugby Mark Nelson learnt more from the game than his opposite number Mick Watson who fielded a pretty much full strength squad.

The match was played on a good, firm pitch but with a strong wind blowing diagonally across the pitch which Fylde played into in the 1st half. They soon found themselves behind as Ionians started strongly and on four minutes moved the ball swiftly down their right. The Fylde defence was sucked in and home winger Joe Donkin skipped through a weak tackle to score a good try. This was converted by young fly-half James Ferguson and his side had a 7-0 lead.

It looked like it might well be a very long afternoon for the young visitors. But they clearly hadn't read the script as on 12 minutes they gained possession well inside their own half and moved the ball right along their backline. It reached winger Matt Hughes 60m out who sped up the touchline, chipped the Hull defenders and gathered beautifully to score a fine try. 18 year old Jordan Davies had been given the goal kicking responsibility for the day and he converted the try with an excellent kick. 7-all.

Fylde have had numerous poor 2nd quarters this season and so it was to prove once more. On 20 minutes a Fylde defender killed the ball and James Ferguson kicked a straightforward penalty to give Ionians a lead which they didn't concede for the rest of the game.

After 28th minutes Fylde were under the cosh from the much bigger Hull Ionians pack. They had possession 10m out from their line and debutant 17 year old scrum-half James Smith was under pressure as he put in a high clearance kick. Unfortunately, the wind blew the ball backwards into the in-goal area and Ionians fly-half Ferguson jumped highest to claim the rather freakish touch down. He converted his own try and gave his side a 17-7 lead. This might have undermined the confidence of the precocious young scrum-half but he showed an excellent temperment and had a standout game, matching the Hull Ionians no 9, James Green, who has just signed as a fulltime professional with Hull RL for their 2009 season.

The Fylde pack was also in no mood to surrender despite the pressure they faced by their powerful opponents. The very unfamiliar backrow consisting of hooker Alan Holmes playing unfamiliarly at flanker, Mark Stephenson, who only made his national league debut last Saturday, and flanker Dan Palmer, playing in the unusual no 8 role, must have been one of the shortest backrows that the Club has ever fielded. This put emphasis on experienced lock Grant Ferguson gaining his share of lineout ball and the skipper of the day had an outstanding game. He showed great leadership throughout.

Two other young players making their debuts against national league opposition, 19 year old wing Spencer Brennand and 21 year old fly-half Ryan Miemczyk were also seeing plenty of the action. And Sale Jet tyro utility back Jordan Davies, playing at centre in this game, showed his versatility with another authoritative display. In the 33th minute Fylde attacked inside the Hull half. Centre David Wiseman chipped ahead and it was caught by Hull fullback Lee Birch. With full-back Mark Edwards up in the line, the Fylde defence was wide open and Birch linked up with scrum-half James Greene who raced clear for an opportunistic try which was converted by James Ferguson.

Fylde's try scorer Matt Hughes was forced off through a shoulder injury on 39 minutes and was replaced by Ben Hall. At the half-time break Hull Ionains had a clear 24-7 lead.

Four minutes into the 2nd period Ionians extended this with another Ferguson penalty kick. With the elements now favouring Fylde, there was now a period of stalemate. On 58 minutes Fylde replaced hardworking prop Ted Scott and hooker Chris Tyms with senior debutant Martin McAraveay and Mark Darlington. They had no time to settle as the Fylde scrummage was immediately pushed off their own ball and no 8 Danny Hague picked up, broke on blindside and linked with centre Ryan Girking who forced his way over. Ferguson converted and Ionians were now out of reach at 34-7. The final quarter of the game was scoreless but Fylde heads never went down as they fought courageously against their more powerful opponents.

It's worth remembering that Fylde were missing Waywell, Wallwork, Royle, Albinson, Hunter, Brennand, Nutt, Aikman, Simpson, Clark, Lewis, King, Banks, Oliver Atkinson, Alistair Atkinson, Wilks & Beaumont for a mixture of injuries, unavailabilities, suspensions and tactical reasons. The majority of these players will return for the league game between the two clubs next Saturday and it will be interesting to see what difference this makes.

Hull Ionians:

15 Lee Birch (Adam Thomas 41); 14 Joe Donkin, 13 Ryan Girking (Robert Whittam 58), 12 Peter Murphy, 11 Tim Nixon; 10 James Ferguson, 9 James Green; 1 Chris Starling, 2 Carl Mortimer (Thomas Rice 58), 3 Adrian Longbone (Andrew Gravil 54), 4 Richard Hill, 5 James Rule, 6 Chris Cusack, 7 Mark Wigham (Richard Mackay 41), 8 Daniel Hague.


15 Mark Edwards; 14 Matt Hughes (Ben Hall 38), 13 Jordan Davies, 12 David Wiseman, 11 Spencer Brennand; 10 Ryan Miemczyk, 9 James Smith; 1 Ted Scott (Martin McAreavey 56), 2 Chris Tyms (Mark Darlington 56), 3 Andrew Irving, 4 Grant Ferguson, 5 Matt Thompson, 6 Alan Holmes, 7 Mark Stephenson, 8 Dan Palmer.

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