FYLDE RU always seem to be blessed with good scrum-halves – and the man striving to continue that tradition is the current incumbent Steve Depledge, a close season signing from Otley.
Over the years, the No.9 jersey at the Woodlands has been worn by such talented players as Brian Ashton, Micky Weir and John Wright, so they are big boots to fill.
Depledge is only three games into his Fylde career, and in the words of coach Mark Nelson, he is “finding his feet”.
However, he is showing clear signs he is beginning to come to terms with bedding-in amid unfamiliar surroundings, and alongside a new set of colleagues.
Depledge, who has a no-frills, efficient, hard-working approach, is happy with the way things have gone, maximum points from the first three matches back in National League One, and first impressions have been favourable.
He said: “I’ve been very impressed – I knew when I came what a great club it was, with the stature and history of it all.
“I’m delighted to be playing a part in what hopefully will be a good season here.
“The style of play suits me.
“It is going to be very competitive this year, and it will be a difficult league to predict, because everybody can beat anybody else on their day.”
Depledge added: “We have maximum points after three games, and we will be going to Stourbridge tomorrow hoping to get another victory.
“We have already beaten two teams that were well established in the league.”
The latest victory was the 39-12 success over Wharfedale, and Depledge was encouraged at how the side went about their task against stiff opposition, who have been mainstays in the league for 16 seasons.
He said: “Wharfedale have a very strong pack, and we knew what sort of game they would bring.
“But we knew that if we played our game and nullified what they were good at, then would get the win and obviously it paid dividends in the end.
“We had talked about keeping the intensity high and keep moving around the pitch.”
Depledge is commuting from Leeds to train and play at Fylde.
He said: “I was at Otley last year, but unfortunately, they got relegated and a lot of players left.
“I was looking for a new challenge to freshen myself up, and I am really glad I decided to join Fylde.”
Depledge was certainly born and bred to be a rugby player as he hails from the union hotbed of Bath.
He came up through their youth section and academy, before going to university and joining Leeds academy.
Depledge was released by Leeds before moving on to Otley, during which time he gained his degree.
He picked up a host of representative honours, which included playing for British Colleges on a tour of New Zealand,
The scrum-half is using the experience he picks up at Fylde too good use.
He coaches rugby at Leeds Carnegie, having completed a sports coaching degree at Leeds Metropolitan University, but playing is his over-riding priority.
Looking ahead to the rest of the season, Depledge said: “We’ve got a long way to go before we are the finished article, but we have a great back-three, backs and a set of forwards who put themselves about.
“Obviously, we look at the opposition but we know if we play to our potential – which we have done at stages – then we can blow any side away.
“We want to put in a full 80 minute performance because the first two games we had good first halves, but struggled in the second half to get some ball.
“It was a little bit like that against Wharfedale, but we have to be happy with what we have done so far.”
Nelson is gratified by Depledge’s contribution, but he said the club were lucky to have two other scrum-halves to challenge him.
“Martin Wallwork is an extremely good and experienced player, while Callum McShane is also coming through, so we have three high-quality scrum-halves.
“As a scrum-half, Depledge leads the forwards and controls the pack, and with every game he is settling in.”