Fylde RFC look to prolong unbeaten start to season

Fylde RFC are happy enough with their unbeaten start to the season but it’s far too early to see how the National Two North campaign will shape up.
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So says joint-head coach Chris Briers as Fylde made it eight points out of 10 by following their 26-26 home draw against Sheffield Tigers with Saturday’s 41-27 derby success in soaring temperatures at Preston Grasshoppers.

Briers told The Gazette: “It was tough for the players out there but they deserved the win after letting in a soft try at the very start.

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“There were points when we felt we’d got a comfortable lead or we’d done enough to win, and that’s when we let them in for tries.

Fylde RFC met Preston Grasshoppers last weekend Picture: Neil CrossFylde RFC met Preston Grasshoppers last weekend Picture: Neil Cross
Fylde RFC met Preston Grasshoppers last weekend Picture: Neil Cross
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Preparing for new season

“We felt we needed to improve on the first half against Sheffield Tigers (which ended with Fylde 19-7 down).

“We’d put in a reasonable performance in the second half but we wanted a more complete one at Preston.

“We know that, if we play like we can, we’ll generally come out with the result.”

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Early signs for a competitive league are encouraging as only three teams have won both games and Leeds Tykes alone have maximum points.

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Briers added: “We’d have liked two wins but you don’t know where the teams we’ve played will be come the end of the season.

“We know the Sheffield teams are both stronger this year.

“Leeds, Rotherham and Hull Ionians are the other unbeaten teams, which is probably what you’d expect.

“Speaking to Rotherham when we last played them, they said they would make a really big push this season, so no great shock there.”

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Fyde are contending with a large number of early-season injuries but Briers won’t turn that into a factor.

“Yes, we have quite a few injuries but we don’t dwell on those,” he added

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“We focus on whether the team we put out is good enough to win games and we believe it is.

“Last year we had a ridiculous number of injuries midway through, up to 16 at one point, but we finished second and it just goes to show that we have gained depth in the squad.”

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As for the season's big rule change, outlawing tackles above sternum height, Briers echoed the views of fellow boss Alex Loney.

“It hasn’t affected the game really and that’s good,” he said.

“Referees are being sensible. They aren’t looking for high tackles or looking to pick players out to make a point. It will take time but we’re happy.”

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Saturday sees a home clash with County Durham newcomers Billingham, who recorded their first win at this level against Tynedale last weekend.

“They are an unknown to us,” admitted Briers.

“We’ve never played them in the league, so we can look at videos but until you actually play a team it’s difficult to pinpoint just what to expect.”