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Home > News > Fylde put in another good performance to win at Rugby
Your News Fylde put in another good performance to win at Rugby

Fylde kept their faint chances of a promotion play-off place alive with a convincing 30-11, four try win at Rugby Lions' Webb Ellis Road. Tries by Nick Royle (2), Martin Wallwork & Steve Nutt earned a bonus point for the visitors. The influential Nutt, on his return to the Club, had a personal haul of 12 points and there was a huge dropped goal by replacement John Armstrong.

The afternoon started with a major setback for the Lancastrians when scrum-half Craig Aikman dropped out during the pre-match warm up. A groin strain had prevented him training during the week but he had hoped to shake this off. Loyal clubman Martin Wallwork travelled with the party to a ground where he had played his rugby some years ago and wore the no 9 shirt at kick-off.

The Lions, too, have their injury worries and are so short of lock forwards that prop forward Phil Greenbury started the game in the 2nd row. But their nine match unbeaten run at Webb Ellis Road said much about the challenge that faced Fylde.

Fylde kicked off into a very strong diagonal wind and against a determined Lions team. After an even first 15 minutes Fylde had a scrummage 35 metres out from the Lions' line. Sam Beaumont picked up from the back of the scrum, passed to Martin Wallwork who fed fullback Richard Kenyon joining the line at speed. He passed to Nick Royle who scored one of his easier tries of the season. It was a training ground move that was simple and very well executed. Steve Nutt's attempted conversion into the wind from the touchline unsurprisingly fell short.

Although Fylde had by now established territorial dominance, they suffered three turnovers in quick succession as Rugby's backrow were very quick to the breakdown. As Fylde battled into the teeth of the gale, they found themselves on numerous occasions being driven back into their own half through raking clearance kicks by the Lions's halfbacks.

Fylde's lineout performed well, with the securing of virtually all their throws and nicking some of Rugby's. But the scrummage was a rather different matter. Unsurprisingly, with prop Greenbury packing down in the 2nd half, the Lions always had the advantage in the tight exchanges.

On 24 minutes a Fylde player drifted offside and the Lions' fullback James Hawken kicked a relatively straightforward penalty to reduce his side's deficit to 3-5. The end to end play meant that this was an exciting first half between two very committed teams. It was an extremely physical contest, with no quarter asked for or given.

One controversial moment saw skipper Roger Banks driving over the Lions' try line and getting clear downward pressure to claim the try. Generally impressive referee Steve Lee was unsighted and to Fylde's collective dismay the touch judge over ruled the score. So they had to be satisfied with a narrow 5-3 lead at the interval.

Fylde suffered a setback in the first minute of the 2nd period when feisty teenage centre Alex Hurst, who had made one or two impressive breaks in the 1st half, was forced off with a reoccurrence of the troublesome ankle injury which has ruled him out of several recent matches. John Armstrong replaced Hurst and went to fullback with Richard Kenyon moving to outside centre.

This was compounded a minute later when Hawken converted a penalty to give the Lions the lead for the first time. On top of this Darren Clark was sinbinned on 50 minutes. But the Lions then lost their only lock when Stuart Riding was forced off with a recurrence of a leg injury. Another front rower, replacement hooker Sam Overton, came off the bench.

The Lions' lead was to last 12 minutes before John Armstrong changed the game with a moment of inspiration. He picked up a loose ball near the halfway line and launched a huge drop goal down wind which dropped over the bar for an extraordinary score.

If Clark's dismissal looked a little harsh then the Lions were to suffer similarly in the 57 minute when prop turned lock for the day, Phil Greenbury, also saw yellow. From the resultant penalty, Nutt kicked for the corner and Fylde won the lineout to set up a driving maul. As it was about to rumble over the Lions' line with the ball buried amongst the forwards, somehow Martin Wallwork pinched it and touched down against his old club. Once again, the attempted conversion was from the touchline and Nutt missed it. 13-6 to Fylde.

Fylde really took advantage of the extra man when on 60 minutes Richard Kenyon broke right and passed to Nick Royle in space. Royle chipped the Lions defenders and raced through to pick up and touch down under the posts for the conclusive score of the game. Nutt converted and Fylde were striding clear at 20-6.

The game was by now getting increasingly fractious. On 65 minutes Rugby flanker Tristan Prosser-Shaw upset the referee and was also binned. That meant for a couple of minutes the Lions were down to 13 men. Greenbury then returned to the action but a minute afterwards Nutt kicked a penalty to extend his side's lead to 23-6. By this time hooker Alan Holmes, who had an impressive game, had given way to replacement Chris Tyms. Greg Johnson was shortly to take over from an exhausted Nick King who, according to the statisticians, carried a record amount of ball. Given their current paucity of locks, the Lions must have been very jealous to see a lock of Johnson's class joining the fray in the last ten minutes.

But the Lions didn't give in and fought hard to get back into the game. Fylde struggled to convert their territorial advantage into further points and, crucially, another bonus point winning try. But they plugged away and got their reward at the end of normal time when, from an attack close to the Lions' line, fly-half Nutt capped an excellent return by breaking the defensive line and somehow touching down with a couple of opponents on his back. He added the extra points and Fylde were 30-6 ahead.

There was still time for the battling Lions to come back and salvage some pride as dangerous winger Ade Hales broke free to score a good try. Hawken's attempted conversion into the wind went wide and the referee blew for the end of the match.

This was a very good all round team effort. The forwards worked very hard throughout and the backs looked more dangerous than their Lions' opposite numbers. Neil Hunter looked comfortable at inside centre, the first time he has played there for Fylde. The backrow was particularly effective and, apart from in the scrummages, the pack took control of the game. Sam Beaumont was named by the Lions as Fylde's man of the match and he certainly had a fine game. Steve Nutt brought authority to the pivotal 10 role.

1st team coach Mark Nelson, whilst reluctant to single out any player in such a team display, mentioned Martin Wallwork. "He's the archetypal club man" said Nelson. "He came with the squad on the long trip with enthusiasm despite it being odds on that he wouldn't play. When Craig felt his groin in the warm up we had no doubts about Wally's potential contribution. And he played very well indeed. The Club should be very grateful to such a loyal and able player."

Fylde move up to 4th place in National Three (North) in consequence and have now put together a run of five unbeaten games, three of which have been away from the Woodlands.

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