FYLDE coach Mark Nelson hailed a “fantastic” performance against Coventry, praising the players for putting new training ground routines into practice, at times to devastating effect, writes STEVE SIMPSON.
Nelson expanded: “We did a really good session on Thursday and really hammered home how we (would want to) play. Brian Ashton brought in three different practices and that had a big impact.
“The players responded very well to what we wanted them to do and the second half was fantastic.”
Nelson felt the two early tries in the second half gave the players belief that a win was theirs for the taking. The theme of the team talk was to challenge them (Coventry) in every phase of the game.
“It just shows what can happen when we really put it together.”
Nelson agreed that it was a victory for good rugby.
“Coventry came with a game plan, with a big set-piece, a big drive and they had a kicking game.
“But I said to the lads that if they are not in our 22, they won’t score.
“In the second half, they didn’t look like scoring other than the one (try) they did get from a mistake.”
Summing up the victory, the coach added: “We cannot get carried away, and that is the benchmark.”
Nelson singled out Evan Stewart as Fylde’s man of the match and stressed the importance of playing with a proper No.7.
The coach said: “Evan was outstanding. It wasn’t (just) his try-scoring.
“When we lost those three matches in a row, we didn’t have a (recognised) seven, but we now have three quality sevens – obviously Evan, Mark Stephenson and Steve McGinnis – and that is the linchpin of how we play.”
Nelson also praised centre Chris Briers, who scored two tries and whose overall play was out of the top drawer. “Chris was excellent. He cut lines and created space for the back three, but across the board there were outstanding performances.”
Royle injured his toe at the end but should be okay for the home clash with Rosslyn Park on Saturday.
Martin Wallwork is also being monitored. He left the field after a stray knee in the kidney area.
Gareth Rawlings picked up a hand injury and retired late in the second half.
n FYLDE wing Matt Gargett and centre Jack Ward have left the club to join Preston Grasshoppers, ten days after hooker Alan Holmes made the same move.
Gargett made 36 appearances for Fylde, scoring five tries, while Ward scored eight tries in 38 matches.
Nelson said: “Players have made their decision – if they would rather play for Preston Grasshoppers, that is fine.
“But we have a great ethic at Fylde that includes everyone in the club, and if people don’t want to be part of that, then that is also fine.
“We have taken a couple of body-blows with people leaving, but I prefer to look at Sam Russell and Tom McGuinness. They have come into the side at the age of 19 and, in my view, Fylde is the place to be.
“I am not criticising individuals who thought they could get into Hoppers’ team and give themselves a chance of first team rugby.
“Fylde is seriously the place to be and hopefully we go forward as a club.”