Another triumph for Lancashire spirit, says coach Nelson

Former Fylde winger Anthony Bingham scores for Lancashire
Former Fylde winger Anthony Bingham scores for Lancashire

The redoubtable Red Rose spirit came to the fore yet again, enabling the Lancashire rugby union team to enjoy their bank holiday in London celebrating yet another Bill Beaumont County Championship triumph.

READ MORE: Lancashire lift county crown again
Head coach Mark Nelson told The Gazette pre-match about the county culture which all his squad buy into and it was never more evident than at Twickenham on Sunday, when the Red Rose scored two late tries to win the final 32-16 against Hertfordshire.

Lancashire used all their experience – this was their ninth final in 10 season – and determination to win the showpiece decider, having found trailed 16-15 going into the last 10 minutes.

And having shown all their expansive rugby skills to average 60 points a game to win their group on points difference, Lancashire proved they could also conquer in a far closer contest.

Former Fylde coach Nelson told The Gazette: “That win defined what we are all about. We were up against a massively committed team and all 22 players contributed.

“They were very combative and put us under pressure. It was a seesaw, nip and tuck match but we defended well.

“I think that overall we deserved to win because we weathered the storm and they ran out of steam in the end. It was a hot day on a big pitch but that is superseded by the adrenaline rush of playing in that environment.”

Nelson, for whom this was a ninth Twickenham victory in 16 seasons as county coach, praised all 22 players, including the seven replacements.

They included Connor Wilkinson at centre, one of three Fylde players involved alongside captain Adam Lewis and hooker Alex Loney.

Nelson added: “The substitutions worked very well tactically. You have different types of player on the bench to do different jobs. Connor made a couple of nice breaks and brought his own style to the game.”

No-one savoured the victory more than flanker and former Fylde skipper Evan Stewart, whose final game this was before retirement.

Nelson said: “Evan’s family, including his young son, are with us and it’s an emotional time. But there are worse ways to end your career than walking up the Twickenham steps to pick up a winner’s medal.”