Fylde RFC 50 Tynedale 10: Eight tries set up a comprehensive Woodlands win
Mindful of the physical toll on part-time players during a 30-game season, head coach Warren Spragg is managing the problem by giving game time to as many first XV squad players as possible.
Twenty-year-old prop forward Matt Ashcroft, nominated this week as skipper of the Lancashire U20s county side, was a beneficiary as he put in a very good 80-minute shift.
Another player to impress in a strong overall team performance was flanker Phill Mills, on loan from Rossendale RUFC to cover for various injuries.
He was back in Fylde colours at the Woodlands for the first time since April 2016 and made his mark with an all-action display.
It took the home side just five minutes to establish a lead which they never threatened to lose.
A couple of early forays into the Tynedale half by David Fairbrother and Tom Carleton was followed by a neat combination down the left touchline.
Matt Garrod showed no ill effects after his long recovery from surgery and burst downfield.
He almost made the tryline but was brought down just short with Ben Gregory picking up and driving over for his ninth try of the season.
Greg Smith was unable to add the conversion but his side had a 5-0 lead.
This was doubled in the 14th minute when a swift move right by the Fylde backline reached Carleton near the touchline and the side’s leading tryscorer did the rest with a sharp burst to the line.
Smith’s attempted conversion drifted wide but a 10-0 lead was encouraging.
Tynedale also looked to move the ball through their backs, and three minutes later, they moved left.
A pass 40 metres out from their line was rather telegraphed and Carleton sharply intercepted and raced clear for his second try, Smith adding the extras to put his side 17-0 up.
At this stage it was mainly one-way traffic as Fylde maintained their intensity and running game while a number of injuries hampered Tynedale’s progress.
In the 25th minute, the home side attacked from inside their own half.
Connor Wilkinson came into the line, broke a couple of attempted tackles and raced clear for a fine try with Smith converting once again.
Back came Tynedale for a short period of pressure as, on the half-hour, a grubber kick was driven behind the Fylde defensive wall.
Jake Rodgers chased the kick and outran the home defence to get sufficient downward pressure on the ball for the try to be awarded.
Rodgers’ attempted conversion was unsucessful but at least the deficit was reduced to 24-5.
Fylde, however, came back strongly a few minutes later with slick handling freeing Tom Grimes, who made an incisive break down the left.
He fed the supporting Chris Briers and, though tap tackled, the player-coach somehow made the line on his knees to give Fylde a 29-5 lead at half-time.
That advantage was convincing and deserved after an all-out attacking display but, based on recent performances, which Fylde side would turn up for the second half?
The answer came early in the second period.
In the 48th minute, Fylde attacked down the left and a grubber kick set up a group of players chasing towards the line.
Carleton reached the ball first and dotted it down for his hat-trick try with Smith’s touchline conversion making it 36-5.
What followed was a sustained 10-minute period of attacking from Tynedale as they camped deep inside Fylde’s half.
Penalties were conceded as a fierce Fylde defence attempted to defy their various mauls and rucks.
Tynedale mixed this up by moving the ball wide but the defence was solid as each attack broke down.
Eventually, the Fylde pack earned a turnover penalty and Smith kicked to clear downfield.
In the 66th minute, Fylde were on the attack again as they moved the ball down the right.
Carleton, always at the heart of the action, received the ball on halfway, made ground and chipped it down the touchline.
He reached it first and unselfishly threw an excellent pass infield to the fast-supporting Grimes, who made the last couple of metres to touch down.
Smith’s radar was now working perfectly and his conversion broke the 40-point mark.
Back came Tynedale as they mounted more attacks on the Fylde line.
This time, they converted pressure into points as replacement Ben Haigh forced his way over from close range.
The conversion was missed but the deficit had been reduced to 43-10.
It was Fylde who, fittingly, had the last laugh as, in the 73rd minute, they attacked the visitors 30 metres out from their line.
The ball was shipped left and Wilkinson threw a huge miss pass to Grimes, who fed Carleton.
The youngster raced for the corner against a fast retreating defence and, with a dive to the corner, scored a superb one-handed touchdown before being forced into touch.
Smith converted beautifully once more from the touchline to finish the scoring, capping a much-improved performance from the home side who weren’t flattered by eight tries to two.
Fylde: Wilkinson; Carleton, Briers (Botha 67), Rawlings, Grimes; Smith, Lanigan; Lewis (Horner 40), Gregory (Stephenson 70), M Ashcroft, N Ashcroft (Conner 60), Garrod, Chapman (Vernon 60), Mills, Fairbrother.
Tynedale: Parker, Burdon (Haydon-Wood 52), Checksfield, Bramwell (Clarkson 2, Haydon-Wood 7, Bramwell 21), Pike; Rodgers, Outson (Clarkson 64); Hughes, Batey (Lowden 40), Caudle, Dunn (Magowan 29), Richards, Cousin, Bell, Clarke (Haigh 56).