Chester 25 Fylde RFC 40: Fylde forced to battle for victory

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Six tries to four saw Fylde rack up a 21st win from 25 starts in their penultimate game of an excellent season.

On a fine, dry day, it was Fylde who made the first incisive break as Tom Carleton broke the home defence.

Chester scrambled and conceded a penalty, though Fylde’s lineout went astray before they committed an offence.

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The hosts displayed some excellent line kicking all day, while their set piece was also solid in both departments.

Connor Wilkinson starred in Fylde's victory Picture: Chris Farrow/Fylde RFCConnor Wilkinson starred in Fylde's victory Picture: Chris Farrow/Fylde RFC
Connor Wilkinson starred in Fylde's victory Picture: Chris Farrow/Fylde RFC
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Their first lineout led to phased play and a scrum, which saw Fylde shoved backwards with Luke Cox forcing his way over.

Gethin Long missed the conversion but, after a promising start, Fylde were 5-0 down.

Slowly and gradually, they found some fluency which paid dividends on 15 minutes as Matt Ashcroft’s break had Chester on the back foot and created an overlap.

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The pass went to ground but was regathered by Sam Parker, who shrugged off two high tackles before diving over, though Greg Smith’s missed conversion left the scores 5-5.

Fylde led straight from the restart, Adam Lanigan and Matt Garrod combining for Ben Gould to cross with Smith’s conversion making it 12-5.

However, the scrum again buckled under pressure and Long’s penalty on 21 minutes reduced Chester’s arrears to four points.

The period leading up to half-time saw Fylde have their best spell of the game as they crossed again on 26 minutes.

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Connor Wilkinson glided through and drew the full-back before finding the supporting Toby Harrison, who claimed the score with Smith’s conversion putting Fylde 19-8 in front.

With Chester still gaining scrum penalties and territory with their kicks to touch, Fylde held up one catch-and-drive over the line before they extended their lead on 37 minutes.

Wilkinson took a quick tap penalty on halfway and broke the defensive line, once more drawing the full-back and sending Smith under the posts for a try he converted.

Leading 26-8 at the break, Fylde’s sporadic third-quarter malaise during the season raised its head again as they conceded just after the restart.

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Chester fashioned an overlap far too easily on the left and Sean Green finished off the move in the corner to leave the score 26-13.

Fifteen minutes of helter-skelter rugby from Fylde followed as they had plenty of chances without converting them into points.

Chester remained more methodical and scored a fine try on 58 minutes as Ben Ivory chipped over the backline, regathered, and forged into Fylde’s 22 before George Baxter dived over.

Now leading 26-18, Fylde saw Wilkinson snaffle a Chester pass 40 yards out before shrugging off two attempted tackles to score under the posts with Smith converting.

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However, another loose offload saw Fylde defending 10 yards from their line with a perfect catch-and-drive ending with Chester’s Alick Croft scoring and Oscar Malick converting.

With the score 33-25, Fylde created five minutes of good pressure with Dave Fairbrother finding Cole Potts, who went over for a 74th-minute try converted by Smith and leaving them able to see out the final stages.

Chester: Green, Craven (Ryder), Lewtas, Ivory, Long, Malik, Holloway, Woods (Robson), Croft, Williams (Furnival), Spalding, Lloyd (Byrne), Joseph, Owen, Cox (Baxter).

Fylde: Dorrington, Grimes, Carleton, Wilkinson, Lanigan (Rawlings), Smith, Gould (Potts), Barrow (Bell), Parker (Barrow), Ashcroft (Bowker/Bell), Parkinson (Robinson), Garrod, Harrison, Higginson, Fairbrother.