Fylde 33, Vale of Lune 12
GUTSY Vale of Lune made life difficult for Fylde with some tremendous defence at the Woodlands before the holders won through to earn a Lancashire Cup semi-final against Sedgley Park next week.
Fylde almost had a nightmare start, dropping the ball from the kick-off but winger Ben Rath just got to the loose ball first in the in-goal area.
But within ten minutes Fylde, skippered by Jonny Roddam playing out of position at flanker, had taken control.
In the fifth minute, powerful centre Sam Russell burst through from 25 metres to score his first senior try since a serious injury in Caldy colours. Fly-half Steve Collins converted well from wide out.
Five minutes later, a sidestepping 30-metre break by full-back Olly Viney took him through heavy defensive traffic for a lovely try. Collins added the extras and Fylde were clear at 14-0. Two early yellow cards for Vale reflected their tough and determined attitude.
It took Fylde until the 24th minute to add to their total. No. 8 Harrison Collins picked up in the loose 30 metres out and raced through for a fine opportunistic try. Collins again converted
But instead of folding under the pressure, Vale dug in. Their forwards were highly competitive and didn’t take a backward step.
In the 26th minute, they attacked down the right, sucked in Fylde defenders and moved the ball swiftly left. Winger Damon Hall pinned back his ears and raced through to scored in the corner. Fly-half Jimmy Moore’s conversion attempt drifted wide.
The wet conditions and fierce Vale defence contributed to numerous handling errors by the home side and they were unable to extend their 21-5 lead before half-time.
Vale once again had a good period and frustrated Fylde’s attempts to play their usual quick, off-loading style.
They were duly rewarded by a typical piece of opportunism by ex-Cornish Pirates fly-half Jimmy Moore, who intercepted to race through the middle from 40 metres, converting his own try to make it 21-12.
Fylde had to roll their sleeves up and replacement Charles Hough quickly made his powerful presence felt. He broke the Vale defensive line before a clever pass sent winger Tom Halsall over from 20 metres. Collins missed for the first time.
But still Vale came back grittily, and when Fylde pressed hard inside their 22m the visitors’ defence was superb. But the increasing pressure as first team regulars were introduced from the bench proved too much.
In the last minute, following a series of Fylde drives, Paul Arnold powered through from 20 metres to score under the posts. Collins converted.
This was a useful exercise for Fylde as it gave the coaches a good view of some talented young players making their senior debuts.
Particularly prominent in the pack was Harrison Collins and flanker Tom Vaughan Jones.