Fylde aim to repel Raiders

Oli Brennand, hunting for tries

Oli Brennand, hunting for tries

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Fylde rugby club break new ground tomorrow when they host Worthing Raiders, the first-ever meeting between the two clubs.

And the sides could hardly have had contrasting fortunes so far – Fylde have won their first three matches, while newly-promoted Worthing have endured something of a harsh baptism and have yet to register their first win.

Two of their defeats - at Wharfedale and at home to Blackheath – have been by narrow margins.

Even at promotion favourites Doncaster Knights on Saturday, they clawed their way back from a 3-38 deficit in the 46th minute to a respectable final score of 17-38.

Fylde have registered 13 tries in three matches and one surprising statistic is that the normally free-scoring wing Oli Brennand has yet to register a touchdown.

Not that coach Mark Nelson is overly-bothered.

In their last two matches, all Fylde’s tries have come via the forwards.

The Fylde coach said: “It doesn’t worry me how we score the tries – I will take them from whatever part of the field. It doesn’t matter to me.

“It shows what potential we have to score tries from all areas.”

“Wingers like Oli often go through spells when they don’t score tries.

“Bur rather like London buses, if he gets one try, then another won’t be long in coming after that.”

Fylde will be without shoulder injury victim Ben Rath tomorrow – Warren Spragg is set to return.

Skipper Evan Stewart has been ruled out for the second match in succession with an ankle injury - he had a rigorous fitness test, but was forced to bow to the inevitable.

Roger Banks will contine in the second row, with Paul Arnold at number eight.

Adam Lewis, Tom Burtonwood and Dan Birchall make up the front row.

Fylde: Viney; Spragg, C Briers, Barrow, Brennand; Johnson, De La Harpe; Birchall, Burtwonwood, Lewis, Banks, Gore, Robinson, Vernon, Arnold. Replacements: Altham, Rylance, Maher, Webb, S Briers.