Nelson’s delight at Fylde display

Richard Kenyon
Richard Kenyon
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Kendal 0 Fylde 46

FYLDE made light work of the heaviest conditions, and of Kendal, to score eight tries and move within a point of National Two North leaders Loughborough Students.

While Preston Grasshoppers were doing their local rivals a favour by beating the Students, Fylde produced a scintillating first-half display, in which they scored six tries en route to taking their points tally to 184 in three games. The Mint Bridge pitch had absorbed a night and morning of heavy rain, and it continued to pour down during the game, with a strong and cold wind into the bargain.

Although the pitch was in decent shape, these conditions hardly served Fylde’s passing game and were more conducive to the ‘up-the-jumper’ style of a Cumbrian pack boosted by the arrival of Kiwi prop Iain Hudson and the return of flanker Craig Wilson.

But Fylde, despite playing against the elements in the first half, showed their willingness to run the ball from the kick-off, and scored three tries in the first 10 minutes.

After only two minutes, playmaker Steve Collins shipped a long pass along his own tryline and Stephen Briers broke to halfway before releasing winger Nick Royle.

The flying Royle raced 45 metres down the touchline, and although stopped in his tracks by the last defender, he regained his feet to plunge over for a dramatic try.

The conditions gave Collins little hope with the conversion from wide out.

Two minutes later came a near-identical break, though this time Royle cut infield to feed the supporting Richard Kenyon. Centre Mike Waywell followed up on the outside to take the pass and score in the left corner.

The champagne rugby continued as Kenyon, enjoying the greater freedom at full-back, forced his way over after good forward play.

Kendal had barely laid a finger on the ball and trailed 15-0.

The home side started to win some possession, but were repelled by a solid Fylde defence or by slack handling.

In contrast, Fylde controlled the ball well as they drove forward, the pack a tight unit.

Kendal attempted a blindside break in their own half and a fumbled pass fell into the arms of Fylde winger Oli Brennand, who gleefully raced away to score the bonus-point try on 28 minutes.

Four minutes later, Fylde swarmed into the Kendal half again, as quick passing resulted in Kenyon racing between the posts from 35 metres.

Collins, who had been orchestrating the backline skilfully, landed his first conversion.

In the last minute of the half, impressive flanker Mark Stephenson dodged his way through some ineffectual tackling from close range and Collins’ second goal made it 34-0 at the break.

It was perhaps no surprise that the second half was something of an anticlimax, despite Fylde having the wind in their favour, as conditions became even worse.

As both teams rang the changes, Fylde remained in control, although Kendal’s heads never dropped, despite their hopeless position.

The home side battled away, but couldn’t penetrate, and Fylde added to their tally in the 65th minute, when Royle raced the final 30 metres for his second try of the game and 13th of the season after a blindside break by scrum-half Martin Wallwork, who got the better of opposite number Will Voke.

The final try arrived four minutes later and was fittingly scored by Sam Beaumont, who showed fierce energy to lead from the front throughout.

The skipper brushed off two tackles in a muscular 15-metre surge for the line.

Beaumont broke quickly and brushed off a couple of tacklers as he muscled over for his 3rd try of the campaign.

The news from Lightfoot Green completed a perfect day for Beaumont and his side.

Fylde: Kenyon; Royle, Briers, Waywell, Brennand; Collins, Wallwork; Livesey, Roddam, Altham, Arnold, King, Ferguson, Stephenson, S Beaumont.