Luctonians 15 Fylde RFC 14: Visitors frozen out in icy wind

Fylde’s four-match winning streak ended amid the icy winds of Herefordshire as Luctonians extended their own winning run to three games.

Sunday, 28th November 2021, 3:11 pm
Updated Sunday, 28th November 2021, 3:12 pm

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Battle-hardened Fylde RFC ready for winter and Luctonians test

Fierce and determined defence was the bedrock of the home team’s success, and Fylde could not complain at making the 160-mile trip home with a solitary losing bonus point which saw them slip to fifth place in National Two North.

Industry and effort were, as always, there in abundance but consistency and accuracy were not at the level Fylde strive for.

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Charlie Partington scored Fylde's second try at Luctonians

There was little sign of what was to come as Fylde raced into an early 7-0 lead, despite playing into the teeth of a blustery wind.

Early pressure led to a third-minute penalty 20 yards out and the home defence was caught cold for the only time as second row forward Matt Garrod surprised everyone with a quick tap and go. His try was converted by Greg Smith.

Lucs recovered from this early setback and started to use the wind to pin Fylde back in their own half.

In the 14th minute two Fylde handling errors gifted Lucs turnover ball and their powerful centre Frank Kelly sliced through on an arcing run to dot down.

The conversion was missed by Owen Randell but he made no mistake with a 23rd-minute penalty to edge the home team in front at 8-7.

He missed a 35th-minute penalty in the windy conditions and Fylde were then disrupted by an injury to Henry Hadfield.

Matt Sturgess came on at scrum-half and Adam Lanigan moved to a much less familiar role on the wing.

Fylde were happy to see the half out and get into the sheds trailing by a single point.

Luctonians continued to employ the tactic of holding the Fylde ball-carrier up for as long as they could and stripping the ball if possible.

They managed to gain possession this way several times, and when they didn’t they still succeeded in slowing Fylde down and setting their defence.

Their cover defence was also outstanding, meaning any half-breaks Fylde made never led to offload opportunities.

From one ball-strip, Lucs forced a lineout five yards from Fylde’s line. As the driving maul inched forward, Fylde were deemed to have collapsed it illegally.

A penalty try was awarded and Fylde centre Scott Rawlings was shown the first yellow card of the day.

Fylde now had the wind in their favour but were two scores down at 15-8.

Luctonians sensibly kept their game simple in the conditions, retaining possession and defending stoutly.

Fylde’s attempts to impose themselves could not be faulted but dropped ball and penalties conceded disrupted their rhythm.

On the hour, Fylde did finally manage to create enough phases to stretch the home defence out of its usual shape.

Charlie Partington spotted the gap and cut back inside to force his way over. Smith mastered the tricky wind to add the conversion and cut the deficit to one point.

Luctonians were determined to deny them further pointscoring opportunities and upped their effort levels even more, desperate to claim a top-three scalp.

The home side could now sense victory and Fylde’s cause was not helped by skipper Ben Gregory being yellow-carded with 10 minutes left for a dangerous clear-out at the ruck.

Luctonians’ repeat scrums resulted in two more penalties as they wound the clock down.

Fylde did manage to create one last turnover penalty with a minute left. But from the fourth phase the resolute Lucs defence forced a knock-on, perhaps a fitting end to a game their defence dominated.

Fylde at least have the perfect opportunity to put things right next Saturday at home to Stourbridge, the last team in the league with a 100 per cent record.

Fylde: Forster, Hadfield (Lanigan), Carleton, Rawlings, Fisher, Smith, Lanigan (Sturgess), Fairbrother, O’Ryan (Mills), Blake (Partington), Parkinson, Garrod, Kyle-Clay (Hulme), Gregory (Parker), Bowker.

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