Fleetwood RU 29, Blackburn 10
Fleetwood regained top spot in the North Lancs and Cumbria League with this resounding victory.
But they made the worst of starts, conceding a lineout from the kick-off from which the Blackburn pack executed a planned move for an unconverted try.
Ryan Riches’ penalty reduced the deficit and his side then got into their stride, moving the ball wide for debutant winger Jack Crompton to touch down twice.
The half ended with a sustained spell of Blackburn pressure but Dave Hart, Dave Fairbrother and Dale Thompson led the defensive effort as Fleetwood changed ends 15-5 up.
An error-strewn start to the second half saw Blackburn halve the deficit with a try from a penalty at a line-out, though the conversion was missed from in front of the posts.
Fleetwood took control from that point, centre Tom Wilson setting an inspiring example by refusing to take a backward step against his larger opposite number. Ed Bolton’s lineout catch resulted in excellent mauling from which Hart crashed over for a try.
Fleetwood continued to press, and although Jamie Moran lost the ball as he was about to cross the line, play was quickly spread right for Crompton to secure his hat-trick and the man of the match award.
Riches completed the scoring with his fourth goal, crowning a fine all-round kicking display.
Both sides ended the game with 14 men, Fairbrother’s retaliation following a high tackle seeing him join the original offender in the sin-bin.
A knock on close to the line prevented the visitors cutting the gap in the dying moments.
Next week’s home clash with Workington will be Fairbrother’s last for a while as he returns to military service in Afghanisthan. Everyone at the club wishes him well. This win left Fleetwood three points clear at the top because Heaton Moor lost to St Benedict’s.
n Fleetwood Seconds lost 12-7 at league leaders Pendle.