Fylde RFC boss ready for a break and a second chance with Lancashire

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​​Fylde and Lancashire head coach Alex Loney would welcome a second crack at the county job next season after Sunday’s Twickenham heartbreak, but his top priority is a well-earned summer break.
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Lancashire 37 Kent 39: County title eludes the Red Rose

Lancashire missed out on a first Bill Beaumont County Championship success since 2018 when they lost 39-37 to Kent in the showpiece final, having led 27-10 at half-time.

A serial winner as a player for the Red Rose, Loney was hoping to guide them to a 26th county title in his first campaign as head coach.

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Fylde captain Ben Gregory scores for Lancashire in the County Championship final defeat by Kent at TwickenhamFylde captain Ben Gregory scores for Lancashire in the County Championship final defeat by Kent at Twickenham
Fylde captain Ben Gregory scores for Lancashire in the County Championship final defeat by Kent at Twickenham

He told The Gazette: “It was one for the neutral and was really good to watch, with lots of tries. It’s never nice to be on the losing side but fair play to Kent. They took their chances, turned around a deficit and saw the game out with a narrow victory.

“It was one of those days with the boot which potentially could have made the difference (three Lancashire conversions rebounded off the woodwork).

“My reaction was that we lost the game in other areas and I’ll focus on those. They scored some long-range tries, which were disappointing.

“I didn’t lose many games for Lancashire as a player and I had a number of wins at Twickenham in a Lancashire shirt. It would have been awesome to have won there as head coach.

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“This result will niggle for a while and was a missed opportunity, but in the long-term I’ll remember being part of a great day and hopefully I will get another chance.”

As for his prospects of continuing in the role, Loney added: “Yes, I hope to keep it going. This tournament comes at the end of the season and everyone goes away at the end of it, but I would like to stay involved.

“The exciting thing is that this group has a good few years left in it and has the potential to get back to the final.”

That exciting Lancashire group included 10 Fylde players, who will also be hoping to go one better in National League North next season, having finished runners-up to Sedgley Park.

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Loney added: “First things first, everyone needs a break. We’re back for pre-season at the end of June and it’s important for everyone to get some time off to recover, me included, because you commit so much.

“We have one or two admin things to box off before we shut down but everything is done regarding contracts with current players. The vast majority are on multi-year deals and that has helped.

“We have already secured a few new signings and have a couple more to get over the line. We will be adding to what is already a good squad and there will be no wholesale changes.”

Changes to the league will include the return of Hull, relegated from National One with Leeds Tykes.

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“Hull were very strong last time they were in our division two seasons ago and we expect the same again,” said Loney.

“Leeds, as they are now, are more of an unknown though their history as a former Premiership club is well known.

“Any team coming down from National One will be strong and we’ll find out how strong in September.”

That Twickenham final could be the last game for Loney played under traditional rules: a ban on tackling above the height of the sternum will be introduced at all levels below the Championship next season in a bid to minimise head contact in the sport.

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“Hopefully the clubs will get a bit of guidance with the practical stuff and the tolerance level,” said Loney.

“We know the refs are doing a lot of work on this and some guidance for the clubs would be welcome.”