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Home > News > Hull 31 - Fylde 25
Your News Hull 31 - Fylde 25

This was a brave performance by an under strength Fylde team but they lost an exciting contest in the last 15 minutes to a bigger and more powerful Hull outfit in only their second ever visit to the ground. Although Fylde outscored their hosts by four tries to three, they conceded too many kickable penalties in the 2nd half under acute pressure and were made to pay for it by Hull fly-half James Cameron.

With twelve players either injured or unavailable, Fylde were always likely to struggle in the forward exchanges. The Hull pack was considerably bigger and more experienced than the visitors eight and made their extra muscle show in an impressive 2nd half display. And the liberal interpretation of the offside law by the referee gave Hull another advantage. But the Fylde eight put in a determined and committed display which kept them in the game until the dying moments.

Scrummages were reasonably even, with former Burnley prop Nick Cassidy, who was stepping up several levels to make his first appearance for Fylde since 2001/2, holding his own against the highly experienced Yorkshire tighthead Kris Fullman. Making his Fylde debut, hooker Johnny Roddam brought his own brand of mobility, aggression and technical skills to the Fylde effort. The visitors' jumpers Roger Banks, Ali Atkinson & Grant Ferguson also did rather better than feared in the lineout battle against the two huge Yorkshire locks Chris Murphy and Dan Cook.

On a day during which a strong wind blew hard straight down the pitch, the game turned on two substitutions. Fyldes player-coach Dave Wilks had a quite outstanding first 40 minutes, with the flanker invariably first to the breakdown and being a constant nuisance around the fringes of rucks and mauls. But he was battered for his trouble in an off the ball incident and was replaced at half-time by debutant youngster Matt OConnor with Fylde in the lead by 15-7. The former England Counties players steadying influence and great experience was missed in the 2nd period.

Also at the break, Hulls Director of Rugby and former Bradford Bulls star Tevita Vaikona brought himself into the action. He created a deal of mayhem in the Fylde defence and set up two tries.

The new season started off in the best possible way for Fylde when on six minutes and playing with the benefit of the strong wind behind them they attacked deep in the Hull half and whipped the ball along their impressive backline and tyro 19 year old winger Tommy Banks finished off by scoring in the right corner. Centre Mike Waywell converted the try with a beautiful kick from the touchline. 7-0 to Fylde. Waywell added a straightforward converted penalty kick ten minutes later to extend his sides lead.

Hull were not about to roll over despite playing into the wind. On 22 minutes their backs created space in midfield and winger Alex Piercy exploited the gap and finished powerfully. Cameron converted the try and Fyldes lead had been cut to 10-7.

Fylde replied in the best possible fashion despite losing no 8 Grant Ferguson after 32 minutes through a sin binning for a technical offence at the breakdown. [It didn't prove to be Ferguson's day as he almost certainly broke his nose later in the game]. From one kick through the Hull defence from makeshift centre Nick Royle, winger Oli Brennand raced through to be denied by a Hull defenders hand. On the stroke of half-time Royle hacked the ball towards the Hull try line again in a similar position and this time Brennand claimed the touchdown. Waywells attempted conversion fell short but Fylde took a 15-7 lead into the dressing room at the interval. With the benefit of the wind, this seemed at least seven points too few for the men in claret & gold.

With player-forwards coach Wilks sidelined and only able to watch from the sidelines his charges take on a fired up Hull side for a full 40 minutes into the elements, this was going to be a long 2nd half.

Vaikona soon warmed to his task as he broke powerfully through some weak tackling and off loaded to scrum-half Matt White who finished off the try. Cameron converted and the home side were only 14-15 down. They took the lead for the first time five minutes later with a Cameron penalty.

In this exciting end-to-end contest, Fylde came back powerfully and a slick break by skipper and scrum-half Craig Aikman set up his half-back partner Dan Bibby who released winger Tommy Banks for his second try of the afternoon. The conversion into the strong wind failed but Fylde were in the lead again by 20-17.

Vaikona once again made the difference with another muscular break and a pass to fullback Chris Harding who scored through an under populated Fylde defence and gave his side a 22-20 advantage.

With the stronger Hull pack now getting a stranglehold on the game, Fyldes defence was under increasing pressure. Two penalties by Cameron took Hull more than a converted try ahead at 28-20.

But Fylde werent finished and battled to the end. A clean break by the mercurial, quick footed Bibby sent centre Waywell clear and he made the line with a couple of Hull defenders hanging on to him. His run had taken him away from the goal posts and he was unable to convert his own try into the tricky wind. With a few minutes left, Fylde were within striking distance of a superb win at only 25-28 down.

However, they spurned a superb chance when a penalty kick to touch that would have set up a line-out near the Hull line failed to make touch and was cleared by the home defence. From their move downfield, their pack eventually set up a chance for Cameron to secure the win with a last minute drop goal for a final 31-25 scoreline.

Before the game with such a weakened line-up, the Fylde rugby management would have taken two bonus points if offered. It was a measure of their determined and gutsy performance that at the end of the game they were disappointed that they hadnt pinched an unlikely win. They will look forward to strengthening their pack in the coming few weeks and will be optimistic that they can quickly get on the winning track against Kendal at the Woodlands on Saturday. Director of Rugby Mark Nelson knows only too well that in this newly extended 16 team league, the long season ahead is a marathon, not a sprint.

Nelson said: "This was a very gutsy performance under a great deal of pressure against a strong and experienced Hull team. We lost two of our backrowers with injuries but still battled competitively and could have won the game. Picking up two bonus points was one of the many positives that came from the match. After saying that, we have to focus on specific areas of weakness if we are to reach our potential."

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