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Home > News > Fylde 36 - Halifax 5
Your News Fylde 36 - Halifax 5

In a matter of 13 first half minutes Fyldes Nick Royle consigned Halifax to defeat in this National Three (North) match at the Woodlands with three superb tries. The brilliant winger was far too good for the Halifax defence which had no answer to his speed and strength in a four try display. Fyldes bonus point win and Caldys slip-up at Preston Grasshoppers may have, against all the odds following their disappointing performance against Loughborough Students last week, re-kindled the Lancastrians promotion interest. They move up a place, to 3rd, in the N3N table.

The game started in a very physical and confrontational fashion between the two packs of forwards that was continued throughout the 80 minutes. Referee Matt Daubney sometimes struggled to control the forward exchanges in the tight and the loose. For the first ten minutes Halifax had all the possession and, whilst not threatening the Fylde line, asking all the questions of the home side. Their fullback Iain Gordon missed two early kickable penalties. Fylde eventually wrestled control of the match and on 12 minutes fly-half Steve Nutt, so influential all afternoon, broke the Halifax line down the right with a fine burst of speed. He drew the last defender before passing to Royle who strolled into the corner for a straightforward try. Nutt converted well and Fylde had a 7-0 lead.

Royles second effort after 20 minutes was much more demanding as he received the ball 30m out and weaved a way through and past six or seven bemused Halifax defenders. His third, five minutes later, was very similar although this time he had to use his power to drive over the line after being brought down a metre or so short. Nutt converted one of the two tries and Fylde took a 19-0 lead into the dressing room at half-time.

Fyldes tyro front row, average age 21, were no shrinking violets in tight and loose exchanges. Prop Andrew Irving was used as an effective battering ram in midfield and the line-out throwing of hooker Mark Darlington, aggressive throughout, gave his side a real advantage. But another local boy, Irish U18s international prop Kieran Brookes, shaded the front row contest on his starting debut for his home club. Up against the highly experienced, gnarled Halifax loose-head Adam Blades, Brookes had an abrasive and outstanding match. It was also good to see the return of 21 years old prop Adam Lewis who came on as a replacement for his first game since badly injuring his hand in the first match of the season.

Despite having a reasonable amount of possession in the 1st half, Halifax looked pretty disinterested in moving the ball wide to their sharp wingers. But as the 2nd half advanced Fax realized that they had to try something more creative to break through Fyldes fringe defence which was very solid.

Nevertheless, Fylde opened the scoring in the second period when, following a series of Fylde attacks, Nutt dummied his way through for a very good try on 56 minutes. He converted this himself and his side had a 26-0 lead.

The final quarter was untidy, with both sides making basic errors when in possession. Halifax made their job harder with two sinbinnings, hooker Steve Worsley & no 8 Richard Brown, on 60th & 64th minutes. For six minutes they were down to 13 men although Fylde failed to take advantage.

The introduction of numerous replacements didnt help the continuity of the game either. After 70 minutes Halifax attacked right and their speedy and promising winger Ben Mitchell, his sides most dangerous attacker, skipped past Oliver Brennand and replacement fullback Mike Waywell. It seemed a certain try until he was hit from behind into the sidelines by a F1 tank called Kieran Brookes, surely the quickest tight-head prop in the division in only his first full senior game!

Buoyed up by this derring-do, from a Fylde lineout on their own line, Nutt tried an adventurous chip to the far side where Royle lurked. The Fylde winger let the ball bounce and this was seized on by Halifax left winger Gareth Brear who scooted past him for an easy run in for the try which opened the visitors account. It was a long time coming but a deserved consolation for a Halifax team that never gave up.

In the last minute of normal time Fylde centre Richard Kenyon rolled back the years with a fine midfield break centre field. He linked with his backs and was on hand to take the final pass to score on the left side.

Still Halifax pressed deep in the Fylde half before fullback Mike Waywell ran the ball out from his 22m line. He cut back inside a Fax defender, linked with the fast supporting replacement flanker Mark Stephenson who made a perfect pass to release Nick Royle. The winger raced in for his fourth try of the afternoon. Steve Nutts missed conversion finished proceedings and Fylde had earned a deserved bonus point win.

Halifax worked hard throughout and their pack was particularly committed and feisty. They hardly used their backs in the first half but in the last 20 minutes showed what a more attacking strategy might have produced. Sadly, they look doomed to a second successive relegation, being 23 points away from safety with only eleven matches left.

Apart from their impressive front-row, Fylde relied heavily on lock Grant Ferguson for a stream of clean line-out ball and the general excellence of their backrow of Dan Palmer, Dave Wilks and, particularly, no 8 Dan Bowman. The Cumbrian had a fine 1st half but worryingly left the action with what looked a bad knee injury on 46 minutes followed by centre David Wiseman after 70 minutes.

No one at the Woodlands will get carried away with this win but it was certainly an improvement on the performance the previous week at Loughborough.

FYLDE: 15 Martin Wallwork; 14 Nick Royle, 13 Richard Kenyon, 12 David Wiseman (Neil Hunter 70), 11 Oliver Brennand; 10 Steve Nutt, 9 Craig Aikman (Mike Waywell 53); 1 Andrew Irving (Adam Lewis 50), 2 Mark Darlington (Alan Holmes 65), 3 Kieran Brookes, 4 Grant Ferguson, 5 Roger Banks, 6 Dan Palmer, 7 Dave Wilks, 8 Dan Bowman (Mark Stephenson 46).

Tries: Royle 12, 20, 25, 80(+4), Nutt 53, Kenyon 80(+2). Conversions: Nutt x3.

HALIFAX: 15 Iain Gordon; 14 Ben Mitchell, 13 Danny McGee, 12 Craig Emmerson (James Endersby 65), 11 Gareth Brear; 10 Craig Barker, 9 Dominic Castle; 1 Adam Blades (Joe McArthur 70), 2 Steve Worsley (Steven Maycock 70), 3 Paul Turner, 4 Josh Cammis (Nick Corrigan 53), 5 Ryan Piercy, 6 Dominic Moon, 7 Frazer Hall, 8 Richard Brown.

Try: Brear 72.

Sin bin: Worsley 60, Brown 64

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