Bournville 33 Fylde RFC 47: Carleton claims hat-trick before freakish fightback
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Fylde were too hot to handle in the first half, moving into a 47-0 lead, but couldn’t get going in the second as Bournville earned a bonus point of their own.
Spectators, players, coaches, and officials were left scratching their heads as 80 points were scored, all at the opposite end from the clubhouse.
Conditions could not have been more different from the week before – a mild, sunny and dry day ideal for running rugby.
Tom Forster and Charlie Partington replaced the injured Joe Bedlow (shoulder) and Dave Fairbrother (dead leg) for Fylde, while Greg Smith returned at fly-half and Matt Burgess switched to scrum-half .
Corey Bowker and Sam Kyle-Clay were restored as the starting props, with Joe Higgins called up to the bench.
Fylde were out of the traps quickly, scoring in the second minute. Tom Carleton made the incisive break from deep and outpaced everyone to dot down for the first of his three tries.
Smith converted and did so again in the ninth minute, when Carleton again sauntered in after Sturgess kicked through turnover ball cleverly from halfway.
Bournville looked shellshocked and were not helping themselves with a high error count.
Sturgess was next on the scoresheet, when his tackle dislodged the ball and he ran in unopposed from 45 yards. Smith again converted and it was 21-0 after only 12 minutes.
Still the one-way traffic flowed as Forster ran on to skipper Ben Gregory’s delightful kick and Fylde continued to score at a rate of two points per minute, and all without Fylde spending any time in the Bournville half except to cross the try-line.
Fylde were mixing up their game with kicks from deep, forcing a penalty which resulted in a quick tap and a second try for Forster on 22 minutes.
The visitors reached 40 points on the half-hour, when Bournville spilled the ball attempting to run from close to their own line and Carleton was gifted the simplest of hat-trick tries.
Gregory left the field with a tight hamstring but Fylde added a further try on 34 minutes, when Bournville lost the ball in another strong tackle and Sturgess scampered between the posts.
Smith landed his sixth goal from seven attempts and Fylde had their biggest half-time lead of the season after their defence held firm against some late pressure on their line.
Fylde made changes and the challenge was to maintain the same high levels against opponents unlikely to be so generous in the second half.
Bournville got themselves going in the 45th minute, when Fylde were guilty of trying to rip the ball rather than put the man on the deck and found second row Harry Dawson too strong, rumbling over for a try which Mitch McGahan converted.
The fluidity of Fylde’s first half was fading away as they struggled to put their own phases together and to get the ball off Bournville.
Smith was sin-binned for a high tackle and Owen Williams scored Bournville’s second try in the left corner, making it 47-12.
Fylde were now having to concentrate on defence, which was sound until Edward Drake-Lee went over in the corner on 69 minutes.
But despite the robust running of Harlan Corrie, it just wasn’t happening for Fylde and Bournville’s spirited fightback was rewarded with a fourth try with five minutes remaining.
McGahan went through a huge gap for a try he converted himself via the drop-goal method. At 47-26, Fylde were desperate for the final whistle.
A penalty on halfway saw Bournville execute a catch-and-drive to smuggle Scott Rudge over for another converted try on 79 minutes.
A further one would have meant a second bonus point but Fylde managed to keep the ball and close out this bizarre game of two halves.
Coaches Chris Briers and Alex Loney were satisfied with the bonus-point win away from home after a chastening home defeat but recognised that their young squad must learn not to lose momentum in such a dominant position.
They awarded the man of the match jointly to Corrie and Sturgess, while Kyle-Clay showed his versatility replacing Gregory at hooker and Alex Clayton acquitted himself well on only his second appearance.
Fylde climb above Stourbridge into fourth place in National Two North as they look forward to back-to-back home games, the first against Blaydon on Saturday.
Fylde: Turner, Hadfield (Lanigan), Carleton (Clayton), Forster, Grimes, Smith, Sturgess, Kyle-Clay (Ashcroft), Gregory (Captain), Bowker (Higgins), Parkinson, Garrod, Corrie, O’Ryan (Blake), Partington
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