Fylde 26, Rosslyn Park 10
Fylde pulled off the result of the season with this tremendous effort, turning on the style to inflict on the visitors their first defeat of the season.
It was a victory for rugby too, for they were the side wanting to play the expansive game – and once they freed themselves from the shackles imposed on them, the home team showed their flair.
That was exemplified by winger Ben Rath, who produced a game-changing try on 66 minutes, which lifted his side almost as much as it demoralised Rosslyn Park,
It could not have come at a more crucial time as it put Fylde `19-10 in front after the conversion. Seconds earlier, Rosslyn Park had looked like going ahead themselves.
There were several notable contributions not just from Paul Arnold, scorer of two tries and currently at the very top of his game.
Chris Johnson and Ryan De La Harpe were a pair of lively, inventive half-backs - Rath and Oli Brennand were always dangerous, while Scott Barrow was rock solid at centre.
On an afternoon of blustery winds, it was Fylde who drew first blood with a try after nine minutes.
Quick ball from De La Harpe set Dan Birchall in the clear - the Fylde front rower made hard yards before feeding Arnold, who barged his way in unstoppable fashion over the Rosslyn Park line.
Chris Johnson added the conversion in front of the posts.
Previously, Fylde had made a couple of forays into the visitors’ territory, but twice surrendered good positions when losing their own line-out ball.
It was stop-start action in the opening quarter with little for the spectators to enthuse over - Rosslyn Park won a succession of penalties in the shadow of the Fylde line, prop Birchall receiving a yellow card during that relentless sequence.
The inevitable consequence was a penalty try against Fylde after no less than 11 minutes of scrummaging, surely what the crowd had come to see!
It was negative rugby in the extreme, with referee Greg McDonald’s handling of the game doing nothing to enhance the entertainment of a nondescript first half.
It was not a good day for the officials with Rosslyn Park’s constant intrusion into offside territory going almost un-noticed a times.
Rosslyn Park won another penalty on 33 minutes and Sneddon’s successful kick gave the visitors the lead for the first time at 10-7.
Brennand at last raised the tempo with a scorching run as he sliced through the middle - then the Fylde winger was in the thick of he action again, combining with Rath, who tested the Rosslyn defence, but his run was unceremoniously blocked.
Fylde opened the second half in determined manner, banging away at the opposing line, which held firm under intense pressure.
Then Fylde pieced together another flowing move, the ball passing through nearly a dozen pairs of hands before the attack came to a stop.
Fylde were undeterred and Brennan’s cross-kick almost found Rath, before a Rosslyn Park player bundled the ball out of play. The next build-up saw Fylde breach the line at last, Johnson breaking free to work his way over.
Fly-half Johnson missed converting his own try from wide out, but after 53 minutes the home side were back in front at 12-10. Rosslyn Park were reduced to 14 men when flanker Darren Ball was yellow-carded.
Rath made his presence felt with a scything run. He passed to Brennand, whose foray came to an abrupt end by a superb tackle by Rosslyn Park centre Charles Broughton.
On 66 minutes, Rath lit up a gloomy afternoon with the best try of the game - or any game this season.
Fylde had suffered an escape when Lee Starling had very nearly careered over - Fylde won a penalty deep in their own terrain and the ball was shipped quickly to Rath.
He got the ball fully 75 yards out, manoeuvred his way over to the right-wing, pulling defenders towards him and then successfully eluding them. His curling run took a sharp turn back inside and ended in glorious style with a truly memorable touchdown.
Johnson’s conversion put Fylde two scores in front at 19-10.
On 72 minutes, Rosslyn Park won their first penalty of the second half, but Sneddon’s effort from long range missed.
Minutes later Sam Katz also failed with a long ranger.
Perhaps the fact that Rosslyn Park adopted such tactics showed that they lacked faith in their ability to get back in the contest by running the ball.
Brennand almost made it to the line with a scorching run after more excellent work by Rath - in the follow-up attack first Johnson came close to going over before Arnold finished of the job - and the match - with Fylde’s bonus point try. Johnson converted