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Home > News > Fylde 21 - Harrogate 15
Your News Fylde 21 - Harrogate 15

This was muck and nettles stuff at the Woodlands, and none the worse for that on a gloomy winters day. In a traditional forwards oriented display, Fylde won by 21-15 against a Harrogate side that up to then had achieved a five match unbeaten run. This is the kind of match that the watching Bill Beaumont, checking on the return to action of son Sam, would have savoured in his prime no quarters asked or given by either side. Fylde moved up to 7th in National Two (North) as a result.

Harrogate always looked dangerous when they moved the ball wide and the once again much changed Fylde backline looked initially as though they had few answers. Gate deservedly took the lead on 12 minutes when they sucked in several Fylde defenders and moved the ball down the blindside for hooker Aaron Yorke to trundle over for the try almost unopposed. Player/coach Mike Aspinall started off a poor kicking afternoon by sending the conversion wide. In the end, the goal kicking proved the difference between the two sides.

Fylde wanted to keep the game as tight as possible and use their obvious advantage of a dominant pack. Scrummages were pretty even throughout the game, and lineouts too until Fylde no 8 Roger Banks stole a crucial ball late in the game.

After a couple of false starts on the half hour Fylde got their rolling maul working and the Harrogate defence splintered as scrum-half Craig Aikman was driven over. By converting the try Tom Barlow showed his opposite number how its done and Fylde were in front by 7-5, a lead they maintained until the interval.

In one of the relatively few 1st half sorties by their backs which threatened the Harrogate line, fullback Mike Waywell charged down a loose kick on half-way and raced away through an empty visiting defence. But when it looked as if he could outrun his chasing opponents or offload to the supporting Alex Hurst he lost confidence and his kick ahead was fielded and cleared by the relieved Harrogate fullback.

Generally though, Harrogate had looked more comfortable with the ball in hand and might have felt short changed by the HT scoreline.

There was a repeat of the Fylde driving maul and rucking power six minutes into the 2nd half when outstanding flanker Laurie Smith finished off a period of sustained pressure on the Harrogate line by getting the touchdown. Barlow again converted for a 14-5 lead.

A clever high Harrogate kick to Fyldes left corner five minutes later caused havoc and centre Sam Bottomley claimed the ball and grounded the ball easily. Once again the conversion was missed but 'Gate were back in it at 10-14 down.

On 57 minutes the play switched to the other end and this time it was the turn of Fyldes man of the match, lock Alistair Atkinson, to drive over from close quarters for a crucial try. Barlows conversion gave his side what looked a match winning advantage.

However, Fylde lock Nick King was yellow carded on 61 minutes for bringing down a lineout jumper less than a minute after he had been warned for a previous offence. Harrogate hammered away at the Fylde try line and looked certain to score. Somehow the home side repelled them with heroic defence and eventually cleared their lines.

Fylde supporters were delighted to see 1st team skipper Sam Beaumonts entry to the 2009/10 season when he came on as a replacement for the last ten minutes. He looks to have recovered well from serious knee surgery in the summer and was soon putting in some trademark driving play around rucks and mauls.

About the same time, the young reserve Harrogate hooker Harry Hannon also joined the fray in place of the experienced Aaron Yorke. He had been in somewhat unfortunate earlier action on the sidelines provoking the Fylde coaches in the home technical area. He should have given more thought to his playing role as two dodgy throw ins and a dropped pass took the pressure off the home defence.

But there was still a lot of defending to do by Fylde as Harrogate upped the ante. Tom Barlow limped off to be replaced by Martin Wallwork on 69 minutes and the home side struggled to reorganise, with inspirational skipper Craig Aikman looking exhausted after an all action display. On 73 minutes centre Alex Hurst was sinbinned for preventing release of the ball in the tackle and this time 'Gate did take advantage with Fyldes nemesis over so many seasons, fullback Ed Smithies, striding over for a straightforward try.

Fylde held out for the last ten minutes, not without alarms. But for the work of the heroic forwards alone they deserved the points as the final whistle blew. It wasn't the easiest of games for debutant winger Taylor Welch given the conditions and pressurised circumstances of the match. But the USA player did little wrong and said afterwards; "I really enjoyed the game and being part of that win. I felt a bit rusty but I'll soon be flying down that wing!"


Tries: Aikman 30, Smith 46, Atkinson 57. Conv. Barlow 3


Tries: Yorke 12, Bottomley 51, Smithies 74.


15 Mike Waywell; 14 Matt Gargett, 13 Alex Hurst, 12 Jack Ward, 11 Taylor Welch; 10 Tom Barlow (Martin Wallwork 69), 9 Craig Aikman; 1 Andrew Irving (Jonathan Wild 69), 2 Adam Lewis, 3 Peter Altham, 4 Alistair Atkinson, 5 Nick King (Sam Beaumont 69), 6 Laurie Smith, 7 Johnny Roddam, 8 Roger Banks.


15 Ed Smithies; 14 Chris Harris, 13 Sam Bottomley, 12 Kyle Dench, 11 Stephen Parsons; 10 Michael Aspinall, 9 Philip Wickham; 1 James Browne, 2 Aaron Yorke (Harry Hannon 68), 3 Jonathan McMillan (Simon Davies 59), 4 James Spencer, 5 Jacob Brady, 6 Stephen Burns (Ben Sowery 60), 7 Tim Heaton, 8 Max Lewis.

Man of the Match: Alistair Atkinson (Fylde)

Referee: Nick Ashton.

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