Fylde’s juggernaut keeps on rolling

Nick Royle
Nick Royle

Fylde 43, Sedgley Park 10

FYLDE’S runaway start to the season shows little or no sign of abating, as they put yet another club to the sword, gleaning maximum points for the fifth match in a row.

They cemented their place at the top of National League One with a seven-try win over Sedgley Park.

It gave them North West bragging rights, but more importantly underlined their status on current form as the team to beat in the league.

The first-half display was little short of exemplary, and they enjoyed a period of dominance that only slackened off in the closing ten minutes, but even then their defence was excellent under pressure.

It was as good an opening 40 minutes as anyone could wish for, and although play got somewhat disjointed and stilted in the second 40, Fylde were, up against one of the mainstays of this league.

There were no end of top-notch performances. Skipper Sam Beaumont led superbly by example, while Oli Brennand looks dangerous every time he touches the ball.

Nick Royle has always been a predatory attacker but he is in the form of his life.

Not only is he potent and damaging in attack, but his defence is diligent too – he has seldom played better.

Against a Sedgley Park squad that had five former Fylde players in its ranks, there were other stirring displays, not least by Josh Beaumont, while no-one deserved his try more than Chris Briers, whose tackling was unerring and at times crucial.

Alistair Livesey provided power up front in the heat of battle.

Fylde drew first blood in the third minute, switching play rapidly across the park in their first attack. The ball eventually found Alex Loney, who crashed over in the corner, shrugging off the attentions of two tacklers in the process. The kick went unconverted.

Sam Beaumont was penalised at a line-out and Greg Smith reduced the arrears for Sedgley Park.

Fylde won a penalty direct from the restart, and Sedgley Park struggled in vain to repel a concerted forward thrust, which ended with Gareth Rawlings lunging over in the corner Again Steve Collins was unsuccessful with his kick from wide out.

Fylde turned the screw. A line-out close to the line was won cleanly by Sam Beaumont and Paul Arnold was at the bottom of a ruck of players to claim the home side’s third try on 23 minutes. Collins again failed with his kick but it was difficult from so far out.

Evan Stewart broke powerfully from deep, finding Brennand in support and the wing sped 40 yards virtually unopposed for a bonus-point try.

There was a big cheer as Collins’ conversion sailed over to take the score to 22-3.

Sedgley Park mounted a rare attack, stopped in its tracks by a clamping tackle by Chris Briers on Matthew Riley, who should have passed outside with colleagues better placed.

Fylde nearly escaped this rare bout of pressure, as Brennand got the ball on the left wing, but he just put a foot in touch as a breakaway was on the cards. Sedgley Park hit back and pressed Fylde hard as Riley came close to touching down, but was held up.

Then Fylde produced a magnificent piece of counter-attacking that deserved better – Brennand received the ball behind his own line, and suddenly Sedgley were at sixes and sevens as Kenyon and Royle continued the move. It only ended with Tom Lavelle unluckily knocking it on.

However, Fylde still had work to do in the second half and they suffered a setback when Stewart limped off after lengthy treatment to be replaced by Cameron Thompson.

Next it was Loney to limp off, with Jonny Roddam taking the hooker’s responsibilities.

Waywell looked like breaking the second-half stalemate with a dashing run but spoiled his good work with a rash pass inside.

It looked as though Fylde were on course to score their fifth try when an unorthodox pass by Arnold found Josh Beaumont, who galloped to the line but just lacked the pace to make it.

The try was not long coming. Roddam, only just on the field, made an immediate impact by smuggling over from a lineout and Collins made no mistake with the conversion.

On 65 minutes, Josh Beaumont was yellow-carded and , Sedgley made the most of their man advantage, winning a scrum near the Fylde line before scrum-half Simon Parrott skipped between the posts for a try, goaled by Smith.

The quality of Fylde’s play had deteriorated, but replacement prop Simon Griffiths pinned the opposition back with a forceful surge. Sedgley retaliated, but Rawlings saved the day with an excellent touchline tackle, though he suffered a cut in the process and had to leave the field.

Any semblance of Fylde nerves were assuaged on 76 minutes, when Wallwork supplied Royle with a neat pass and the winger skipped through gleefully for a try beneath the sticks, augmented by the boot of Collins.

Fylde had a lucky escape when replacement Alex Hurst spurned a clear chance, the one-time Woodlands player fumbling the ball when he had acres to score in.

Fylde’s response was to go back to the other end and score, Chris Briers finishing off with last-gasp touchdown after a mesmerising run from deep by Brennand. Collins added the goal.

Waywell, Brennand and Kenyon then combined with some superb handling as Fylde came close to crossing again and finishing the match on a high, just like their well-earned position of pre-eminence in the league.

Fylde: Kenyon; Royle, C Briers, Waywell, Brennand; Collins, Depledge (Collins, 68); Livesey, Loney (Roddam, 53) Lavelle (Griffiths, 63) Arnold, Rawlings, J Beaumont. Stewart (Thompson, 48) S Beaumont.