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Home > News > Nuneaton 50 - Fylde 5
Your News Nuneaton 50 - Fylde 5

Taking what was effectively a reserve squad to Nuneaton on the day the Midlands club celebrated the winning of the National Three (North) championship was always going to be a very difficult challenge for Fylde. Nuns & Fylde had very different approaches to their team selections for this long delayed game which had no particular league importance for either.

Down the road in Coventry, county side Warwickshire was struggling without their Nuns players against a Lancashire squad including a number of Fylde players. The Lancastrians star winger Nick Royle created his usual mayhem with a hat-trick of tries whilst 15 miles away his club side including 17 & 18 year olds was learning some lessons about unforgiving senior league rugby. Lancashire won by 66-28 and Nuns trounced Fylde by 50-5.

At Liberty Way, what was always going to be a hard day at the office for Fylde turned even tougher when prop Andrew Irving was injured in the warm-up and was replaced by veteran Martin McAreavey who was making his league debut at 39!

Whilst Fylde struggled to get a degree of cohesion in the opening minutes they found themselves punished by the fluent running of the Nuns backs and were 0-10 behind through unconverted tries by Nuns fullback Michael Moore and debutant winger Ben Gilbert.

Fylde were playing into a strong wind in the 1st half and their pack established parity with the more experienced Nuns forwards. Yet the Nuns backs, launched by impressive fly-half Rob Cook, were carving through some indeterminate tackling by the visitors. On 22 minutes Gilbert was on the end of another fluent move and this time scrum-half Hugh Thomas added the extra points for a 17-0 lead.

Fylde dug in as they played into the elements and had more than their share of possession and territory. Their pack was performing excellently and causing lots of problems in the tight and loose exchange. Nuns progress was disrupted briefly by the sending off of no 8 Matt Aston for punching flanker Dave Wilks in an off the ball incident. But as so often this season, the few minutes before half-time was Fyldes undoing. A lack of concentration let in Nuns fullback Moore for his second try, converted by Thomas, and then in injury time flanker Holmes drove over for another. 17-0 into the wind had become 31-0 and they game was beyond the tiring visitors.

The injection of 17 year old replacement scrum-half James Smith, one of Fyldes finest young prospects, added pace to Fyldes 2nd half efforts against their 14 man opponents. Skipper Martin Wallwork dropped back to fullback in place of debutant John Embelton. On 50 minutes following some sustained Fylde attacking, no 8 Grant Ferguson forced his way over to open his sides scoring. Martin McAreavey succumbed to injury at the same time so scrums went uncontested for the remaining 30 minutes. Replacement hooker Nick Campbell and flanker Fraser Spavin also joined the fray to make their league debuts.

The score stayed at 31-5 for 25 minutes into the second period as Fylde lifted their game with the strong breeze at their backs. But Nuns stepped up the intensity in the last 15 minutes and scored three more tries. Firstly Ben Gilbert completed his hat-trick on his debut, followed by Gary Holmes second and the most devastating runner in the match, Kiwi outside centre Aaron Takarangi, adding his name to the list.

The final 5-50 defeat was Fyldes largest for many seasons but this was good experience for their youngsters and, at the same time, a timely warning about the consequences of fielding an under strength line-up against seasoned and quality opponents. Fyldes loss was Lancashires gain as their absent stars were contributing to a handsome Bill Beaumont Cup win down the road.

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