Darlington Mowden Park, 29, Fylde 29
Fylde had to work very hard against a tough, abrasive Darlington Mowden Park side on their first ever visit to the impressive 25,000 capacity Northern Echo Arena.
The Lancastrians were always behind apart, from a 11 minute spell in the 2nd half, and had to dig deep to pull a 29-all draw out of the hat with a very late Jordan Dorrington try.
Chris Johnson had a chance to earn an unlikely win with the conversion which followed but his kick from the touchline drifted wide. They outscored their hosts by five tries to two but their weakened pack struggled against a powerful DMP eight. A draw was, overall, a fair end to a compelling game.
Right from the outset the visitors realised that they were in a real battle in the tight and loose exchanges. They got on the wrong side of the punctilious referee Tom Davis early on and in the 8th minute he awarded DMP a penalty try for a collapsed scrummage. Centre Gary Law converted for a 7-0 lead.
When Fylde gained decent possession their backs were constantly inventive and dangerous. They responded quickly in the 10th minute when winger Jordan Dorrington finished off a clever move by scoring wide out. It wasn’t to prove an easy kicking day for ace goal kicker Johnson and his attempted conversion was wide.
Unfortunately for Fylde, they offended immediately in their own half and Gary Law extended the DMP lead to 10-5 with a penalty kick. In the 23rd minute skipper Evan Stewart was yellow carded for a technical offence and by now Law was warming to his task and punished the visitors once more by kicking the consequential penalty for a 13-5 lead.
A seven man pack was increasingly under the cosh as a buoyant DMP pack bossed the scrums and the tight exchanges. But Fylde responded with spirit and denied their opponents any further points until their skipper returned to the action. However, referee Davies continued to punish their misdemeanours and the string of penalties continued. Law kicked another successfully in the 34th minute to extend the DMP lead.
Fylde are never more dangerous when they look to be falling away in a game. It took them a minute to hit back with a good try by winger Warren Spragg and Chris Johnson added the conversion to bring his side right back in the contest at just 12-16 in arrears.
However, in the last minute of the half, the referee spotted more Fylde indiscipline and Law kicked his fourth successful penalty for a 19-12 lead at the interval.
It was more of the same early in the 2nd half and Gary Law was in kicking action once more in the 42nd minute with another successful penalty and a 21-12 advantage.
Law’s ‘kickfest’ was interrupted in the 48th minute when he was sinbinned for ten minutes. With debutant Sale Sharks back Sam Bedlow replacing Richard Kenyon in the 51st minute, Fylde took advantage of the extra man with a crucial try. In the 54th minute it was centre Chris Briers’ turn to be on the end of a neat move to get over the whitewash. Johnson’s attempted conversion was charged down by DMP winger McTurk but the deficit was now just 17-22.
Fylde now had the bit between their teeth and introduced fresh legs with Jonny Wild & Mark Goodman replacing Colin Phillips & Ben Vernon. In the 63rd minute they took the lead for the one & only time in the game when the powerful Sam Bedlow found space to get over the line for his debut try. Johnson’s conversion made the score 24-22 to the visitors. The game was now tense and exciting as DMP raised their efforts cheered on by a noisy crowd.
Disaster struck Fylde in the 72nd minute when they conceded a second penalty try and replacement flanker Goodman was sinbinned. Down by 29-24 and with 14 men, could the Lancastrians respond with one late effort?
In the 79th minute came the answer as Fylde camped inside the DMP 22m line. They worked the ball right and Dorrington grabbed his second try by scoring in the right corner. The young winger is proving a real ‘find’ in his first season as regular starter.
Fylde drop one place to third in National One