Fylde RFC go scalp-hunting in final five games

Fylde RFC boss Alex Loney insists there's no chance of end-of-season exhibition rugby in their final five games of the campaign, with his squad “really motivated to take some big scalps”.

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Joint head coach Loney admitted last weekend's 45-36 defeat at Hull Ionians, which saw the teams trade 11 tries, did have the feeling of a fixture with little at stake but he has faith in their mindset for the remaining matches, starting at home to Luctonians on Saturday.

He told the Express: “We've had a good season and we still have some big games to perform in.

Fylde RFC lost a try-fest at Hull Ionians

“We still have to play two of the teams above us, Hull and Stourbridge, and the players have said they are really motivated to take some big scalps before the end of the year, though saying it and doing it are very different things.”

Hull Ionians led for most of Saturday's contest, though only sealed victory with a try in the closing seconds.

Loney added: “It was high-scoring and from our point of view we didn't want that. We wanted a more technical game and to impose our game in attack and defence.

“But Hull Ionians put pressure on us, created opportunities and scored too many tries, so no complaints.

“We needed to get some basics right. We turned over too much ball and needed to be more clinical.

“We can't blame the week off. Speaking to the players, we were fresh and in a good spot. We scored some great tries but for whatever reason we weren't able to manage their threat.”

This sixth defeat of the season saw Fylde slip to fifth place in National Two North, 15 points behind Ionians' neighbours Hull, who pulled six points clear in the title race with a victory over Sedgley Park which could prove decisive.

Hull's visit to the Woodlands on April 16 could yet have a bearing on the outcome and Loney said: “I think it's Hull's to lose and we will have to be at our absolute best to beat them because they are very powerful and well coached.”

First, though, Fylde welcome Luctonians on Saturday, anxious to avenge a 15-14 defeat in November.

The Herefordshire club's previous visit to the Woodlands turned out to be Fylde's last competitive fixture for 18 months as the pandemic erupted.

Loney said: We were massively disappointed at Luctonians because that was the one match we really felt we should not have lost.

“They are a good team with threats but we have to focus on ourselves and get it right, because if we don't play to our potential we won't win.”

Fylde do have an eye on next season, with Loney content to keep the current squad together.

He revealed: “We are well on the way with contracts for the squad to keep the vast majority, if not all of them for next season.

“We're very happy with the players we have and looking at recruitment for next season has already started, so we will hopefully have some good signings.”

Fylde RFC will stage the funeral of their former player and coach David Stephenson on Friday.

The centre or wing went on to enjoy a hugely successful rugby league career with Wigan and Great Britain.

The funeral takes the form of a celebration of David's life and starts at 12.30, with refreshments from 2.30 following a private cremation for the family in Lytham.

Loney said: “I played with his son Mark at Fylde and David's pedigree and legacy are there for all to see. I feel for Mark and his family.”

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