Fylde RFC 12, Cambridge 25
A Fylde side including seven players making their debut found Cambridge too strong in this opening National League One clash at the Woodlands.
Ben Penfold put Cambridge ahead with an early penalty
Fylde had plenty of defending to do in the opening quarter, but in their first attack of the contest they scored an unconverted, rolling maul try after 22 minutes through hooker Tom Burtonwood.
On 40 minutes, the visitors regained the lead with a touchdown by lock Robert Conquest.
Cambridge extended their lead in extraordinary manner five minutes into the second half - for a split-second it looked as though a marauding run by Fairbrother might produce a try as the visitors' defence was spilled.
Then suddenly the ball ran free and it was picked up by Cambridge full-back Josef Green - the Fylde defence was remarkably slow to react and the Cambridge man sprinted a full 70 yards for a soft score, goaled by Penfold.
Fylde hit back immediately with a try.
Conor Wilkinson made a superb break from midfield, finding George Brookes alongside - he offloaded to Nicholls, whose pass was deliberately knocked on by the Cambridge scrum-half Cameron Keenan an offence blatant enough for the referee Ian Tempest to award a penalty try and give the offender a yellow card.
Under the new rules brought in this season, there was no need for a conversion and Fylde got the two points automatically (12-15).
On 63 minutes, Cambridge increased their advantage with an opportunist dropped goal by Jack Green (12-18).
Then in stoppage time winger Michael Ayrton put the final nail in Fylde's coffin as he dashed over on the left for a try. goaled by Penfold.
Fylde battled hard with Dave Fairbrother by far and away the man of the match, but spilled passes and their inability to break down a stubborn Cambridge defence proved crucial.