Match report: Fylde RFC 46 Macclesfield 8
Fylde outplayed North West rivals Macclesfield to claim a 46-8 victory with a much improved performance over their display a week ago at Preston Grasshoppers.
This was initially a more pragmatic game plan with fly-half Greg Smith kicking two early penalties.
The free flowing running then began to cut holes in the visitors defence and three tries in each half meant that they always had control of the match.
Tries from winger Tom Grimes, debutant flanker Sam Dugdale and Tom Carlton in the first half were added to by two from winger Henry Hadfield and one for centre Connor Wilkinson in the second.
Smith had a good day with his kicking with a personal haul of 16 points.
The only setback for Fylde was a serious ankle injury to the very promising young scrum-half Cameron Crampton which saw him stretchered off before being taken by ambulance to Blackpool Victoria Hospital.
Head coach Warren Spragg had prepared his squad well in the week running up to the game, learning from the Hoppers defeat.
The error count was much lower, discipline was good and every one of the 20 players contributed effectively.
Smith opened the scoring with a 35-metre penalty kick in the fifth minute but, a minute later, a Fylde offence in front of their posts was punished by Macclesfield fly-half and skipper Tom Morton to level the score at 3-3.
The game proved to be a stunning debut for Sale Sharks and former Kirkham Grammar School product Dugdale who is with Fylde on a dual registration basis.
Having seen Smith kick another penalty to make it 6-3, Dugdale carried the ball through the middle of the Macclesfield defence on 15 minutes but was brought down five metres out.
The ball was shipped quickly along the backs to Grimes who squeezed in at the left corner, Smith’s conversion stretching the lead to 13-3.
Ten minutes later, Dugdale’s 30-metre burst took him right through the Macc defensive line and he scored near the posts, Smith converting for a 20-3 lead.
The injury to Crampton followed his neat break through the Blues’ cover, ending with him stretchered off and full-back Tom Carleton filling in at scrum-half.
Within a minute Carleton received the ball from a lineout catch by Olli Parkinson and sped 50 metres through the Macclesfield defence for a superb individual try.
It was the turn of Macclesfield to dominate possession and territory as the half-time interval beckoned.
They tried battering down the Fylde defence and a desperate tackle from Wilkinson stopped a certain try.
He was adjudged to have done this unfairly, however, and in the ‘red zone’ so he was sinbinned as a result.
The home defence buckled down and repelled the Blues’ sustained attacking as the half-time whistle blew with Fylde 27-3 ahead.
Fylde opened the second half strongly as, despite being a player short, the pack earned good possession inside the Blues’ 22.
Swift passing freed Hadfield to score in the corner with Smith missing his only goal kick of the afternoon.
Leading 32-3, Fylde began to use their replacements with Harlan Corrie and Adam Joyner introduced to the action.
Nevertheless, Macclesfield had periods of pressure through the match on the Fylde line and it paid off on 47 minutes.
Following a lineout five metres out from the Fylde line, the Blues pack set up a driving maul and hooker Sam Moss claimed the try.
Morton’s attempted conversion drifted wide but the deficit had been narrowed to 32-8.
In the 50th minute Macc’s replacement prop, Tom Mantell, was adjudged to have tackled a Fylde player dangerously and he was sinbinned.
Five minutes later the Fylde backs moved right and Wilkinson made a clean break from 25 metres to score with Smith converting.
It was pretty much one way traffic by now, and in the 60th minute, a scrum in the Fylde half saw Carleton race down the blindside, draw the final defender and free Hadfield to score with Smith converting again.
Restored to 15 men, Macclesfield came back with spirit and had a period camped inside the Fylde 22.
Fylde offended successively and it seemed inevitable that the Blues would score another driven try in the left corner.
However, the Fylde defence refused to yield even though it would have hardly affected the final outcome.
The final 10 minutes were played out at the other end of the pitch as Fylde powered forward.
David Fairbrother, who had a very visible and prominent role throughout the game, broke over the line in the left corner.
In the act of scoring a deserved try, however, he dropped the bal before the final whistle blew shortly afterwards.
Fylde: Carleton; Hadfield, Briers, Wilkinson, Grimes; Smith, Crampton (Fowden 30); Horner (Joyner 47), Gregory (Burtonwood 56), Lewis, Parkinson (O’Ryan 65), Garrod, Dugdale, Vernon (Corrie 40), Fairbrother.