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Home > News > Fylde win John Burgess Lancashire Cup
Your News Fylde win John Burgess Lancashire Cup

Fylde won the John Burgess Lancashire Cup for only the second time in the 37 year history of the competition by defeating Preston Grasshoppers by 37-17 in an exciting contest at Lightfoot Green. A healthy crowd cheered on the two teams on a lovely spring day and they both responded with the kind of competitive and committed rugby that has been the hallmark of Fylde v Hoppers clashes down the years.

By lifting the impressive trophy in front of their cheering supporters, Fylde skipper for the day, Sam Beaumont, can justly claim that he has achieved something that father Bill didn't manage during his long career as captain and faithful club stalwart!

For the first 20 minutes of the match there was only one team in it as Preston Grasshoppers completely dominated possession and territory. Fylde played loose and error strewn rugby and Hoppers took advantage - up to the Fylde try line that is. The visitors defence held out under acute pressure before establishing something like parity at the end of the first quarter.

On 23 minutes Fylde fullback for the day, Steve Nutt, kicked a straightforward penalty to open the scoring. From the restart, Fylde regained possession and Nutt attacked down the left. His elusive running was a feature of the game and he made a glorious break before putting in a measured grubber kick along the touchline. He was tackled late by Hoppers skipper Darren Wilson but referee Ged Stone played the advantage as centre Richard Kenyon won the race for the touchdown. Nutt's conversion from the touchline was a beauty and his side had a 10-0 lead.

Hoppers forced their way back into the match a couple of minutes later when they attacked down their right. Centre Phil Whyte broke a tackle and chipped ahead in the manner of Nutt. He followed up his own kick and scored a good try. Russell Flynn converted to reduce the deficit to 7-10.

The game was by now an end to end contest with Fylde grabbing back the initiative as they pressurised Hoppers inside their own half on 29 minutes. Several forward drives made ground before scrum-half Martin Wallwork moved the ball to the open side and away from the majority of his waiting backs. Centre Kenyon had few options centre field and launched a perfect high 40m kick to the far right corner where the waiting arch poacher Nick Royle caught the ball beautifully and touched it down at the very extremity of the in-goal area. This was high quality rugby indeed and although Nutt's conversion attempt drifted wide the visitors had a 15-7 lead.

Following another period of Fylde pressure with their forwards working very hard in effective combination, Preston loosehead prop Mark Hanson was yellow carded for killing the ball in a ruck and Steve Nutt converted the consequential penalty from in front of the posts for a 18-7 half-time lead.

The 2nd half started in much the same manner as the 1st period had ended with Fylde bossing the game in confident fashion. A series of forward drives on 43 minutes gradually sucked in the Hoppers defence and fly-half Neil Hunter moved the ball left. If his pass initially eluded Richard Kenyon, the experienced centre who had a fine game picked up the loose ball and had time to saunter over the line for his second try of the afternoon. Nutt converted and Fylde were stretching clear at 25-7.

Ten minutes later Fylde moved the ball left in midfield and flanker Mark Stephenson made a fine break before offloading cleverly to his winger Oliver Brennand. The young speedster had just enough space for a trademark 30m touchline burst and he dived into the corner for a superb try. At 30-7, the Cup looked definitely bound for pride of place in Fylde's clubhouse.

But, predictably, Preston weren't ready to concede just yet. They took pretty much complete control of the fourth quarter of the match as both sides introduced their replacements. Wilson, who had been playing in an unfamiliar fly-half role, had replaced former Fylde youngster Tom Ball and moved to his usual scrum-half berth. He looked happier in this position and celebrated with a seering 40m run through a flat footed Fylde defence to score a fine try in the left corner. Flynn's excellent touchline effort unluckily hit the post yet Hoppers had reduced the deficit to 12-30.

Preston attacked again five minutes later and winger Flynn crashed over over in the corner in typical fashion for Hoppers' third try. At 17-30 down, was there a shock come back on the cards? In fact, Hoppers brave challenge advanced no further as Fylde once more achieved parity in broken play.

With a couple of minutes to go, Fylde had a scrummage well inside their own half. The ball was moved quickly down the blind side to Brennand who burst into the Hoppers half before passing inside to replacement flanker Dan Palmer. The former Waterloo player sprinted clear and to the delight of the claret and gold faithful made the line in an excellent 40m burst. Nutt's superb touchline conversion finished the game off in a suitable fashion and Fylde had their collective hands on what had proved over the years to be such an elusive Cup for the Woodlands club.

This was a thoroughly deserved victory in a good advertisement for the County Cup competition. If this has rather less prestige than in previous eras then this wasn't evident in the celebrations of Fylde players and supporters after the game.

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