Fylde RFC 40 Huddersfield 10: Comfortable Woodlands win for Warren Spragg’s men

Tom Carleton crossed for a try as Fylde saw off Huddersfield at the Woodlands
Tom Carleton crossed for a try as Fylde saw off Huddersfield at the Woodlands
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Six tries to one meant Fylde RFC ran out 40-10 winners against Huddersfield at the Woodlands.

When Huddersfield last visited in December 2018, it was a damp winter’s day and the visitors armwrestled Fylde to a 20-all draw.

This time it was a damp, depressing, early autumn day but Fylde put on a sunny display of running rugby against a game Yorkshire outfit.

While the wet ball was a problem for both teams, Fylde’s ambition and technique was unmatched on a pitch which, despite very heavy rain for 24 hours, was in tip-top condition.

The pack worked hard throughout and the backline posed a constant danger to the Huddersfield defence but credit is due to the injury-hit visitors, who battled through the 80 minutes and scored a gritty consolation try to close out the game.

Fylde sprinted out of the blocks in the opening minutes.

Ben Vernon made a fine, penetrative midfield break in the second minute, and a few phases later, skipper Adam Lewis drove over for his first try of the season.

A mishit conversion from Greg Smith sneaked over the bar and Fylde had a 7-0 lead.

Five minutes later the home side attacked down their left, and with neat passing, put winger Tom Grimes away along the touchline.

He was tackled but offloaded to Tom Carleton who needed no second invitation to speed through and score.

Huddersfield gradually warmed to their task and the home defence gave away a couple of penalties, the second of which Will Milner kicked to make it 12-3.

Play went to and fro as Fylde’s ambition sometimes exceeded their ability to control the ball in the prevailing conditions and they were unable to exploit their possession.

However, in the 30th minute, Fylde attacked down the right from well inside their own half with Lex Botha outpacing the defence.

His inside pass went to ground but Smith tidied up and fed Ben Gregory, who scored near the posts with Smith adding the extras for a 19-3 advantage at half-time.

The second half was dominated by Fylde as they strangled Huddersfield of possession and territory.

Ten minutes in, the home side attacked down their right as Connor Wilkinson broke a couple of tackles and raced 40 metres to score, Smith with the conversion.

Huddersfield battled back but were rather one-dimensional, using their pack to batter away while their backline seemed underemployed.

In the 70th minute, the Fylde pressure told as Grimes’ neat grubber kick behind the visitors’ defence was gathered by Wilkinson to score with Smith’s conversion making it 33-3.

By this time, both head coaches had flooded their teams with replacements as 17 interchanges took place.

Those comings and goings were supplemented by two yellow cards in the last 10 minutes.

In the 72nd minute, Huddersfield’s Josh Hinchliffe was sinbinned for an offence near the Huddersfield line.

From the subsequent penalty, Fylde set up a rolling maul and replacement hooker Alex Loney broke off the side to plunge over.

Smith again converted well in the deteriorating conditions and his side had hit the 40-point mark.

Huddersfield did not give in and battled their way inside the Fylde 22 in the 79th minute when, in the ensuing rucks and mauls, Elliot Horner was adjudged to have committed an offence and joined Hinchliffe in the sinbin.

The visiting pack drove forward and prop Callum Thompson forced his way over for the visitors’ consolation try, converted by Milner as the final whistle blew.

Fylde: Carleton (Botha 74); Botha, Wilkinson, Rawlings (Forster 62), Grimes; Smith, Lanigan; Horner (Ashcroft 47), Gregory (Loney 40), Lewis (Horner 67), Parkinson (Chapman 69), Garrod, Chapman (Conner 40), Vernon (Gregory 67), Fairbrother.