Blank holiday most welcome for Fylde

Roger Banks at full stretch in a lineout
Roger Banks at full stretch in a lineout
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FYLDE RFC coach Mark Nelson is glad of blank Saturday tomorrow to allow valuable recovery time for his “shot” players.

There are no matches in National League One this weekend, and Nelson said of the break in the otherwise relentless action: “It has come at the right time.

“Our pre-season training started in July and for the players, particularly those up front, it has been a really tough slog.

“The players are shot at, so I have given them a week off for recovery time. “They can do their own thing in the gym or in the pool.

“Then we get back into it with three games before Christmas, when the matches come thick and fast.”

Two of their three games before the festive break are at home, against Loughborough students a week tomorrow and then Wharfedale, with a trip to London to face Blackheath in between.

The second and third of those games are against the clubs currently immediately below Fylde in the league, giving the club a chance to cement their place in the top half at the turn of the year.

The two home games would appear especially important as Fylde’s away form has been poor.

Their home form has been much more convincing, highlighted by last weekend’s 50-17, though a narrow defeat by Old Albanians spoils an otherwise 100 per cent record after seven games at the Woodlands.

Fylde have lost five of their six matches on the road this season, their only win coming at bottom club Cambridge.

And although they were edged out by only a few points at Wharfedale and leaders Ealing Trailfinders, they conceded over 40 points at Blaydon, Rosslyn Park and, in their last away outing, Tynedale, collapsing in the second half each time.

Nelson will point to injuries and unavailability limiting his options, particularly in the forwards, and he has nothing but plaudits for packmen who have soldiered on week in and week out.

The coach singled out lock Roger Banks for particular praise and enthused: “Roger has been immense. He is back at the club after playing at Fleetwood, and this is five levels of rugby higher, which is a huge step-up.

“Paul Arnold has been missing for the last two matches, so Roger is our number one go-to man for the second row.”

Another second row Ben Harris, who scored in Saturday’s emphatic win over Richmond, will miss the next match at home to Loughborough Students.

He is on loan from Leeds Carnegie, who have indicated they need him back for two Saturdays next month.

He will also miss the Blackheath game on December 15, though Fylde hope to have Harris available for their match with Wharfedale at Ansdell the following weekend.

Fylde’s move to re-sign prop Adam Lewis has gone cold.