Blackheath 47 Fylde 14: Match report and reaction

Fylde tryscorer Dave Fairbrother

Fylde tryscorer Dave Fairbrother

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This game followed the same script as most of Fylde’s away matches this season: a slow start, combined with a string of penalties and mistakes resulting in an overwhelming half-time lead for the hosts. A big improvement in the second half at least prevented a rout without threatening to turn the game around.

Fylde won the second half in London, but after losing the first 35-0 this counted for little and the gulf between the team’s home and away form remains an unsolved enigma.

Fylde had a good record at Blackheath’s old Rectory Fields ground but their first visit to the club’s well appointed new Well Hall home in Eltham was one to forget.

The die was cast as early as the fifth minute, when a penalty was kicked for the corner and Fylde couldn’t defend the driving maul from the resulting lineout.

Hooker Michael Perks claimed the try, which Leo Fielding converted to begin an impressive display of kicking.

Five minutes later the hosts punished a loose Fylde pass as centre Markus Burcham hacked the ball through to touch down, Fielding adding the extras.

Penalties continued to be conceded by the visitors and prop Simon Griffiths was sinbinned in the 20th minute.

Another kick for the corner, another athletic catch by lock Gregor Gillanders and it was scrum-half Sam Eydeman’s turn to benefit. Fielding again converted to make it 21-0.

Griffiths had returned to the action in time to see the previous try-scoring move repeated, Perks collecting his second from close quarters to earn a bonus point.

In the last minute of the half, Fylde moved the ball promisingly along the back line but Fielding read the final pass and raced 70 metres for an interception try, his successful kick from in front of the posts taking the winger’s first half tally to 15 points.

Fylde had only pride to play for but scored first in the second half, when replacement wing Anthony Bingham showed his finishing class to scoot over five minutes in, fly-half Greg Smith converting.

Referee Gareth Holsgrove awarded Blackheath a penalty try on 54 minutes, when a scrum collapsed near the Fylde line, and Fielding’s goal made it 42-7.

Despite being reduced to 14 for a second time just past the hour, when Jonny Wild was sinbinned, David Fairbrother scored Fylde’s second try, converted by Smith.

There was no grandstand Fylde finish as winger Jake Lloyd slid over with five minutes remaining for the final try for Blackheath, who climb to third in National One, while Fylde drop a place to 12th.

Head coach Paul Arnold, who remained on the sidelines as Fylde’s one unused replacement, said: “ We weren’t good enough for the first 30 minutes. We surrendered possession of the ball too easily and gave soft penalties away, which led to a Blackheath kicking to the corners and using their maul to punish us.

“We played for pride in the second half but the damage had been done in the first 20 minutes. We need to pull together and regroup. The games don’t get any easier.”

Fylde: Briers; Bailey, Dowds, Armstrong, Brennand; Smith, Dever; Pope, Burtonwood , Griffiths, Gray, Nott, Lamprey, Fairbrother, Rogerson; Replacements: Bingham, Armstrong, Wild, Gregory, Brookes; not used: Arnold