Rosslyn Park 24, Fylde 44
Fylde maintained their challenge in the top three of National One with this startling win at fourth-placed Rosslyn Park.
The London side were rocked by an initial 20-minute spell of play that Fylde coach Mark Nelson described as their most outstanding of a highly successful season.
“Even better than against Macclesfield at the Woodlands” he added... and that says everything.
Fylde fell away somewhat as Park forced their way back into the game but the visitors then launched another points blitz in the last 15 minutes to win dramatically.
This was the 20th time in 26 games that Fylde have scored four tries or more – a higher scoring consistency than any other National One club.
Fylde started in the best possible way. In the second minute, following a short series of rucks near the Park line, lock Paul Arnold announced his return from injury by forcing his way over from close range.
Fly-half Richard Kenyon missed the conversion and four minutes laterNational One top points-scorer Ross Laidlaw reduced the deficit with a successful penalty.
But Fylde roared back with an unstoppable golden spell. In the 11th minute, Arnold was again prominent in driving play 15 metres out from the Rosslyn Park line. He found Evan Stewart and the flanker offloaded to winger Oli Brennand, who stepped inside the cover defence for a neat try, his 24th of the season. Kenyon converted for a 12-3 lead.
After another five minutes, Fylde extended their lead following a scrummage on the Park 22m. Kenyon looped around Mike Waywell and Stephen Briers cut a nice angle to break the defensive line and notch a good try. Kenyon again converted.
It was Briers’ younger brother Chris, subsequently named man of the match, who was next on the score sheet. From 35 metres out, Waywell made a half-break and passed to Chris Briers, who stepped inside the blindside winger to score a well-worked try.
So, despite the missed conversion, by the 20th minute the visitors had established a 24-3 lead. Fylde took their foot off the gas and Rosslyn Park came back strongly into the match.
Fylde began to struggle to win decent possession and, under pressure, committed mistakes and gave away a string of penalties.
Prop Alex Loney was yellow-carded on 30 minutes, and Park took immediate advantage by kicking for the corner and driving powerful prop Laurence Ovens over for a close-quarter try. Laidlaw converted.
On the stroke of half-time, Park scored again. Once more, Fylde gave away an unnecessary penalty, and from the consequent lineout Park moved the ball wide and full-back Neville Edwards squeezed in at the corner.
Laidlaw’s conversion kick was inch perfect and the game was back in the balance at 24-17 at the interval.
In the first couple of minutes of the second half, Fylde took the unusual option of asking Kenyon to kick a penalty, only the 16th in a season dominated by attacking and running the ball. This extended the lead to 27-17.
It got even tighter in the 54th minute, when Sam Beaumont was yellow-carded and Rosslyn Park again took due advantage. The reduced Fylde forwards struggled to cope with the bigger Park pack and following a number of phases inside the Fylde 22m, full-back Edwards powered over for his side’s third try. Laidlaw’s conversion closed the gap to three points.
With Beaumont back on the field, Fylde upped the pace and put in an unanswerable last 20 minutes. On 67 minutes, the visitors moved the ball left along their backline. Waywell fed Brennand, who skipped past defenders along the touchline before passing back inside to Waywell who scored a crucial try. Kenyon converted to give his side breathing space at 34-24.
There was to be no denying the visitors in the 77th minute, when from a lineout Fylde again got their devastating driving maul organised and replacement packman Simon Griffiths barrelled over for the try.
A neat scrum move saw winger Nick Royle step inside a defender for a typical try in the final minute.
Fylde: C Briers; Royle, S Briers, Waywell, Brennand; Kenyon, Depledge; Livesey, Roddam, Griffiths, Arnold, Ferguson, Stewart, Stephenson, S Beaumont. Replacements: Lavelle, Loney, Altham, Wallwork, Viney.