Boss want Fylde RFC to hit top gear at Wharefdale after 'misfires'

​​Fylde RFC aim to be back to their best at Wharfedale on Saturday after two “misfiring” performances in National Two North.
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Fylde boss Alex Loney ready for the heat of derby battle

That’s the hope of joint-head coach Chris Briers after Fylde followed their second defeat of the season at Otley with a nailbiting 32-29 home victory over local rivals Preston Grasshoppers last Saturday.

Fylde have won 16 games this season and Hoppers only three, which hardly suggested the derby would be so close.

Fylde matchwinner Greg Smith in action against Preston Grasshoppers Picture: Chris Farrow/ Fylde RFCFylde matchwinner Greg Smith in action against Preston Grasshoppers Picture: Chris Farrow/ Fylde RFC
Fylde matchwinner Greg Smith in action against Preston Grasshoppers Picture: Chris Farrow/ Fylde RFC
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Briers told The Gazette: “I think they were clearly up for the game, in our faces and spoiling, so every credit to them.

“They worked hard but we were misfiring in a few places and that made the game so tight.

“I think it was a combination of their determination and fight, and us not necessarily being at our best.”

Fylde took a 10-point lead in the first half and were 14 up during the second.

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However, each time, Hoppers hit back before Greg Smith’s penalty in the dying moments finally settled the issue.

Briers said of the Preston fightbacks: “They are good at coming back. They never gave up and nearly got something out of the game.

“A couple of good tries boosted their spirit, whereas we weren’t clear in our decisions and we made mistakes.”

He also admitted Fylde could have handled the pressures of the derby occasion better.

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“The table and formbook always seem to go out of the window and it is a frustration,” Briers said.

“The emotion of derbies is something that never bothered me too much but it’s easy to tell people just to forget about it.”

Fylde remain just one point off the top and have everything to play for with eight matches left, though leaders Sedgley Park still have a 100 per cent record and a game in hand.

“We’ve had a couple of off-days when we weren’t at our best,” admits Briers.

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“We got the five points on Saturday, which is the main thing, and we are still in the fight at the top.”

Fylde’s next try will be their 100th of the season, though Wharfedale will test their determination to bounce back to their best in tomorrow’s 2pm kick-off.

Beaten 43-3 at the Woodlands in October, the mid-table Yorkshiremen have won three of their last four, losing the other by a single point at Tynedale.

“It’s another place that’s tough to go,” says Briers.

“The crowd gets behind them, which can impact you and boost the home side.

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“It gives them extra energy and they are a tough, physical side, who can disrupt you.”

Briers knows opponents will never be short of motivation facing Fylde.

He explained: “The other sides do get a boost when they play against us – and against Sedgley too – because we’re at the top end and they know they will have to turn up.

“We talk a lot about focusing on ourselves and getting everything we can right, then it doesn’t matter what’s thrown at us.”