Hinckley 7 Fylde RFC 43: First-half performance lays the platform for another away day victory

Tom Carleton was again among the tries as Fylde won at Hinckley
Tom Carleton was again among the tries as Fylde won at Hinckley
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Fylde secured their fourth successive away victory with a 43-7 win at Hinckley and remain breathing down the necks of National Two (North) leaders Caldy.

Six tries to one was a measure of the gap between the two teams on a good pitch in initially dry conditions but which deteriorated to heavy rain in the second half.

Fylde established control early on and this was rarely threatened by a nevertheless gritty Hornets squad.

In the second minute, a Hinckley defender offended and Fylde fly-half Greg Smith stepped up to convert the penalty from 35 metres.

Smith, the division’s leading pointscorer, had another productive day, eventually finishing with a personal haul of 18 points.

Fylde have a practice of scoring a series of tries in very quick time, taking games beyond their shellshocked opponents.

In the 16th minute, with Fylde pressing in the Hinckley half, a quick tap penalty led to their backs moving right as full-back Tom Carleton came into the line and found a sufficient gap in the defence to dive over for the opening try.

Three minutes later, centre Connor Wilkinson – standing at first receiver at a ruck well inside his own half – made a superb 35-metre break before passing to his supporting scrum-half, Adam Lanigan.

He raced clear to score near the posts, his debut try for the club, with Smith’s conversion making it 15-0.

From the restart Fylde landed their third blow when man-of-the-match contender Jacob Conner made an incisive 30-metre break from inside the Fylde half.

He then gave a delicious offload to Smith, who sprinted clear from 40 metres out and converted his own try for a 22-0 lead.

It was time for Hinckley to stir and camp inside the Fylde half.

The visitors had possession at a ruck 10 metres out from their line but a spilled ball allowed the Hornets’ open side flanker, Jamie Skerritt, to hack the ball over the line and win the race to score.

Scrum-half Joe Glover added the extras to reduce the deficit to 22-7.

Minutes later, however, Fylde re-established control with neat passing between backs and forwards as they attacked down their right.

They worked an overlap and Scott Rawlings put Carleton clear to score under the posts with Smith’s conversion making it 29-7 at half-time.

The second half was more of an arm wrestle as the weather deteriorated and heavy rain poured down.

Fylde replaced hooker Ben Gregory with Alex Loney but they didn’t sit back on their substantial lead.

In the 51st minute, at a ruck 10 metres from the Hinckley line, a quick, short pass from Lanigan found Rawlings who powered over.

With a 36-7 lead, Fylde head coach Warren Spragg was able to bring on replacements George Brookes, David Fairbrother and Tom Forster.

Hinckley fought gamely and put the visitors under pressure but Fylde held firm despite Forster being sinbinned for a technical offence.

As the final minutes played out, 14-man Fylde were back deep in the home half.

From a scrum 20 metres out, Lanigan went on the blind side and found Lex Botha who stepped off his left foot to cut inside and make the line.

Smith converted well to finish an excellent afternoon’s work.

With Caldy also recording a big win, 50-12 at home to Otley, the two leading clubs are within a single point of each other as they set the pace in National Two (North).

Hinckley: Harvey, Coltman (Johnson 52), Peck (Greening 41), Fearn (Povoas 30), Branson, Ashworth, Skerritt, Tansley (Fearn 72); Glover, Mitchell (Pointon 52); Gilliland, Nunney, Lamb (Mitchell 68), Smith (Wilson 50), Vowles.

Fylde: Horner, Gregory (Loney 41), Lewis (M Ashcroft 66), N Ashcroft, Parkinson, Conner, Vernon (Fairbrother 52), Chapman; Lanigan, Smith; Grimes (Brookes 52), Rawlings (Forster 56), Wilkinson, Botha; Carleton.