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Painful end to year for Fylde RFC coach and injured wingers

Tom Grimes
Tom Grimes

Fylde RFC boss Warren Spragg has given his charges a week off training, enabling his players and staff to reflect on the disappointing 34-9 home defeat by Caldy and refocus for the challenges ahead in the New Year.

Having made progress in their relegation battle in previous weeks, it was a major setback for Fylde to be kept tryless by the Wirral club in their last National League fixture of the year.

It left Spragg’s side four points adrift at the bottom and 12 from safety going into the second half of the campaign.

It was a day little went right for the home side, who lost both wingers to injury in the first half , had prop Jake Pope shown a straight red card for fighting and even had to endure a very late decision by the referee to disallow a Harlan Corrie try – so late the conversion had already been taken!

But despite a convincing-looking scoreline, Spragg believes the outcome come have been very different, especially as his side led 9-7 with the final seconds ticking down to half-time.

The head coach said: “Caldy were solid but the game didn’t go well for us in a number of areas.

“Their try just before half-time came from the last play of the half and was down to lack of concentration and poor organisation, which was really sloppy on our part.

“We then missed three penalties in the second half and those nine points could have made a big difference. Perhaps we’d be better off kicking penalties for the corner instead of taking on long-range goal attempts.”

Tom Grimes’ final match of the season for Fylde was a painful one in every sense.

Winger Grimes was forced off with a compound fracture of his finger early in Saturdasy’s heavy defeat.

Grimes is now bound for New Zealand for a six-month stint, during which he will play rugby in Wellington once his finger has healed.

Fylde lost both wingers before half-time as Henry Hadfield was forced off with concussion.

And with only one back among Fylde’s five replacements, some imaginative reshuffling was in order, which saw packman Ben Vernon play the second half on the wing.

Further disruption followed as Jake Pope was shown a straight red card for punching and the match drifted away from Fylde.

Head coach Warren Spragg said: “It’s a shame about Tom’s injury but he will have a good life experience in New Zealand and will be all the better for that when he comes back to us for the start of next season.

“Henry’s concussion means he will miss the next game away to Old Elthamians a week on Saturday. Ben did well on the wing and made his tackles but I don’t think his future is there.”

As for the game’s more controversial moments, Spragg had no complaints with the decisions of the officials.

He added: “Jake’s sending-off was out of frustration. His punches were retaliation but that is usually punished more severely than the original offence and that’s probably right.

“We wanted him to play with aggression but he needs to keep his discipline and we’ll have to see what ban he receives.”

Of the disallowed Corrie try, he said: “It was case of miscommunication between the officials because the assistant referee was sure Harlan had lost the ball but his microphone link to the referee wasn’t working.

“We were emotional about it at the time, and although it was a strong call to disallow the try so late it was the right one.”

Fylde return to action at Old Elthamians a week tomorrow, looking to avenge the London club’s 43-7 win at the Woodlands.