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Home > News > Fylde 34 - Leicester Lions 20
Your News Fylde 34 - Leicester Lions 20

This was a fine advertisement for National League rugby - and marked the home clubs 12th month of being unbeaten at the Woodlands. Mind you, Leicester Lions seriously threatened that record in this end-to-end, highly competitive contest. When Fyldes totemic lock forward Nick King, celebrating his 100th appearance for the club, was sinbinned in the 68th minute and his side were just 27-20 ahead, the Lions poured forward and looked likely to score. Fyldes 14 men defended like demons and an 80th minute interception try by fly-half Tom Barlow gave the final score a rather flattering complexion.

Both teams were keen to use the large Woodlands pitch and a fine winters day to their full and a total of eight tries, all by backs, demonstrated effective handling, running angles and creativity. Fylde opened the scoring on four minutes by a neat drop goal by Barlow but they were soon behind when Leicester launched a concerted series of drives up the middle of the pitch. Lions stand-in scrum-half Ashley Stephens moved the ball left along his backline and winger Lee Dyment finished off with a neat try in the corner through an underpopulated Fylde defence.

It took Fylde until the 19th minute to get their backs moving with menace. Scrum-half Craig Aikman suddenly sped 40m through the Lions defence before passing to supporting fullback Mike Waywell who touched down in the right corner. Aikman was a constant threat with his darting runs and purposeful distribution. Barlow converted well and Fylde had 10-5 lead.

The tight exchanges were even, with both teams putting serious pressure on the opposition's ball. With Roddam's 'Phil the Power Taylor' throwing accuracy in the line-outs, Fylde secured their own ball and stole a number of the Lions throws through Grant Ferguson and Sam Beaumont.

It took the Lions ten minutes to hit back when, after some good handling between backs and forwards, fly-half Jon Boden picked up a ricocheting ball and dived over for an opportunistic try. He converted himself and put his side in the lead by 12-10.

Four minutes later Fylde were back in front when, after a series of drives up the middle by their pack, the ball was worked left and the Lions ran out of defenders as winger Matt Gargett plunged over for a try. Scores were soon level as four minutes before the break Boden converted a straightforward penalty. 15-all at the interval.

In the last minute of the 1st half Fylde winger Taylor Welch was helped from the pitch and subsequently to hospital with a dislocated shoulder. [The doctors put the shoulder back in place and he was released from hospital on Saturday night]. Welch was replaced by local youngster Tom Hart.

Four minutes into the 2nd half, a long kick ahead by Fyldes fullback Waywell was juggled near the line by his opposite number Collins and Aikman snapped up the loose ball to score. Barlow converted for a 22-15 lead. They added to this with the best try of the day when centre Alex Hurst added to his growing reputation by slipping through a gap in the Lions defence to burst over from 30m out. Although Barlows conversion went wide, Fylde had a 27-15 lead and looked to be in control.

But the Lions Collins is never to be underestimated and proved once again a very dangerous broken field runner. He finished off a darting move down the Lions right and sprinted clear for a fine try. At 27-20 and at a crucial juncture on 68 minutes King was binned and the Lions had their chance to pull level. Fylde replacements, prop Mark Fryer and back Sam Russell, were thrown into the heat of battle at the same time.

The Fylde defence was heroic and somehow they battled through until the big man returned. Then, with ever more desperate Lions attacks, a loose pass was intercepted 50m out by Tom Barlow and he had the legs to storm through for try under the posts which settled this excellent contest.

Fylde's Director of Rugby Mark Nelson said: This was a very good all round performance against a talented Lions squad. Our forwards did very well against a strong scrummaging unit with which we gradually came to terms. We upped the intensity level of our play in the 2nd half and took our chances well.

"A neutral observer would have thought this an excellent exhibition of N2 rugby. Given the RFU's withdrawal of funding from level 4 rugby, I'll be interested to see if the quality of rugby at this level is maintained in a couple of year's time."


FYLDE: Waywell, Welch, Hurst, Ward, Gargett; Barlow, Aikman, Irving, Roddam, Lewis, King, Banks, Ferguson, McGinnis, Beaumont. Replacements: Fryer, Altham, Smith, Russell, Hart.

Timings of tries & pens.

Tries: Waywell 19, Gargett 36, Aikman 44, Hurst 55, Barlow 79. Conversions: Barlow 20, 45, 80. DG: Barlow 4.

LEICESTER LIONS: Collins; Nanci, Pallas, Gari, Dyment; Boden, Stephens; Moore, Williamson, Murray, Kyte, Solomon, Todd, Rudkin, Dockray. Replacements: Truijens, Ager, Saxon, Harris, Hill.

Tries: Dyment 5, Boden 31, Collins 60. Conversion: Boden 32. Penalty: Boden 39.

Yellow card: Nick King 68.

STAR MAN: Craig Aikman (Fylde).



12 Penalties conceded 10

13 Lineouts won 10

1 Lineouts lost 4

9 Scrums won 8

2 Scrums lost 2

1 Sin bins

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