Fylde 39, Tynedale 28
FYLDE stopped the ‘rot’ with this win but they did it the hard way – and with more than a little outside assistance from the opposition.
There was little sense of triumph – more of unreserved relief – as Fylde, who had lost their previous three matches, just about scraped through, but they put themselves under all kinds of needless pressure in the second half as their style, shape and defensive organisation almost reached meltdown proportions.
They nearly contrived to lose a game they had led 36-8 on 53 minutes, thanks to four tries by Evan Stewart.
In the end, Fylde just had to be glad that Tynedale didn’t have a goal-kicker – fly-half Matthew Outson crucially missed five conversions and a penalty.
The win moved Fylde back up to second place in National One, but they were just pleased to hear the final whistle after a storming fightback by Tynedale, who almost made them pay for their sloppy play and carelessness only to run out of time, especially with their kicker going missing in action.
Stewart’s try-scoring display spoke for itself, but on an afternoon when serious questions were asked about Fylde’s ability to play full-on for 80 minutes, there were other eye-catching displays from centre Chris Briers and from Alex Loney up front, though he blotted his copybook in the second half when he was yellow-carded.
Tynedale struck first with pushover try after four minutes, skipper Grant Beasley foraging over – the catch and drive at the line-out came after Fylde had been penalised in midfield.
Fylde looked poised for a snap equaliser as Martin Wallwork intercepted a stray Tynedale pass, but he was halted in full stride by an ankle-tap that saved the day.
Tynedale had a chance to go further ahead when Stewart was penalised on the floor, but Outson’s kick sailed wide.
Sloppy handling was not helping Fylde’s cause in the early stages and they were forced on to the retreat again after a forward pass by Alistair Livesey.
However, a charging run by lock Gareth Rawlings, who scattered several Tynedale players, then a lovely flowing move involving Nick Royle and Oli Brennand paved the way for a rolling maul Stewart from which plunged over for the leveller after 22 minutes.
Tynedale lock Myles Scott was yellow-carded for an illegal challenge three minutes later and, within a couple of minutes, Fylde grabbed the lead – clever handling along the line stretched Tynedale and Mike Waywell scrambled over in the corner.
Richard Kenyon landed a belter of a conversion from wide left to make it 12-5.
Fylde came again and won a penalty deep into Tynedale terrain after a searing break by Briers, and Stewart peeled away from an incisive rolling maul to touch down.
Kenyon was again on the mark with the 33rd-minute conversion.
Tynedale’s response was a quick kick and chase, which Tom Halsall managed to shepherd into touch.
Paul Arn-old and Steve McGinnis then punched huge holes in the Tynedale defence as Fylde went close to another try on several occasions – referee John Meredith consulted with a touch judge before deciding they hadn’t touched down from one attack.
Fylde got a strong push at a Tynedale scrum near the try-line, and more pressure resulted in that man Stewart breaking free to record a notable first-half hat-trick with a bonus-point try. Deep into stoppage time, Tynedale won a penalty and Outson reduced Fylde’s half-time lead to 24-8.
McGinnis didn’t reappear in the second half because of a leg injury and was replaced by Grant Ferguson. Within two minutes, Fylde stretched their lead with a quite stunning try, incisive and exciting.
They won the ball deep in their half and fed Brennand, who sprinted 40 yards and beat his man on the outside before finding Royle on his shoulder. Royle took Brennand’s pinpoint pass in his stride and darted inside to plant the ball between the posts for a tremendous score, converted easily by Kenyon.
On 53 minutes, Fylde crossed for another try and it was that man Stewart again.
Waywell made valuable inroads with a superb dummy and break, but lost his footing with the try-line in sight.
Fylde maintained the impetus on the right touchline and Stewart got the downward pressure over the line.
Tynedale’s response was immediate and replacement forward Gregory Irvine crashed over from close range.
Arnold hit back in style with a barnstorming run on his own, his final pass just eluding Royle on the overlap. Fylde couldn’t afford to relax and they were reduced to 14 men when Loney was yellow-carded for an offence on the floor.
That point was emphasised when Allen Rogers found himself with yards of space on the left wing and sprinted in for an unconverted try to reduce Fylde’s advantage to 36-18.
It got more nervy for the home side when Peter Cole dived over on the right wing to set up an anxious finale, Tynedale having their tails up and eager for the fray.
Alex Westgarth knocked on as Tynedale attacked again, but Fylde’s relief was only temporary. In the 80th minute, and with around four minutes of stoppage time to come, skipper Beasley exploited more gaps in the home defence to cross for his second try.
The conversion was missed and Fylde remained two scores in front. Fylde were doing their best to undo all their good work but Kenyon slotted over a penalty to ease what had become a frantic situation.
Fylde: Royle; Halsall, C Briers, Waywell, Brennand; Kenyon, Wallwork (Depledge, 68); Livesey (Griffiths, 53) Roddam, Loney, Arnold, Rawlings, Stewart, McGinnis (Ferguson, 40, Lavelle 63), S Beaumont.