Lancashire rugby union side target tries back on Twickenham trail

The Lancashire rugby union team will go on all-out attack as their bid to win a record 26th Bill Beaumont County Championship title begins against Leicestershire at Waterloo tomorrow.

By Andy Moore
Thursday, 5th May 2022, 11:30 pm
Updated Friday, 6th May 2022, 1:03 pm

Read More

Read More
Fylde 38 Tynedale 26: Hosts bow out with another win at the Woodlands

The Red Rose focus will be on try-scoring as the traditional end-of-season competition resumes after a three-year hiatus and Lancashire look to contest the Twickenham final yet again next month.

Lancashire supremo Mark Nelson explained: “Our theme for this campaign is 'The Magnificent Seven' because there are seven ways of scoring tries and we are saying that tries are key.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

Lancashire's latest Bill Beaumont County Championship triumph at Twickenham in 2018, with current Fylde RFC head coach Alex Loney far left

“We have four attack-minded coaches (including Paul Arnold and Alex Loney, the current head coaches for Preston Grasshoppers and Fylde) and we're taking the pressure off the players. The only pressure on them is to enjoy it and play great rugby.”

The very existence of the 133-year-old competition has been questioned since it was last contested in 2019, though Nelson is relieved by the Rugby Football Union’s backing.

“There is a short-term commitment, though the RFU deal with the Premiership means they are cutting back elsewhere and the rest of the game is suffering," he said.

“We need to hang in there and ensure this remains a valid competition. The final being at Twickenham on the jubilee weekend is very good news.”

Alongside Nelson, another staunch campaigner for county rugby has been Gill Burns, and the decision to play Lancashire's 'home' game at her Waterloo club on Merseyside is a thank you for her efforts.

Tomorrow's 3pm kick-off will be preceded by a Lancashire v North Midlands clash in the Gill Burns Women's County Championship (2pm).

The withdrawal of Durham from the senior men's event means the five remaining teams in the North group will each play only two games instead of the usual three. The county with the best playing record will progress. Tomorrow's other game sees Northumberland face Yorkshire, who will host Lancashire at West Park Leeds in the Roses match a week tomorrow.

Nelson believes that Cheshire, who sit out this weekend's opening fixtures, are favourites to go through. He explained: “It's loaded in their favour because they have to play neither Yorkshire nor ourselves. The RFU were open to the idea of a play-off between the top two but other counties didn't want that.”

The final Lancashire squad of 22 for tomorrow's game shows major changes from the 32 initially named because the 11 Sedgley Park players have all withdrawn due to a clash with their closing league game against Bournville.

Ten of the 11 Fylde players originally named feature in tomorrow's team (Dave Fairbrother is not involved), while Hoppers' contingent has doubled from four toeight.

Lancashire team: Simpson (Blackburn), Hadfield (Fylde), Stott (Preston), Johnson(Sale, captain), Dorrington (Preston), Smith (Fylde), Sturgess(Fylde); Griffiths (Sale), Gregory (Fylde), Altham (Preston), Garrod(Fylde), Parkinson (Fylde), Corrie (Fylde), Harrison (Preston),Lamprey (Preston); Replacements: Trippier (Preston) Kyle-Clay(Fylde), Murray (Preston), Rawlings (Fylde), Dorrington (Preston),Bingham (Rossendale), Carleton (Fylde).