Richmond comeback thwarts Fylde

De La Harpe - Fylde try-scorer
De La Harpe - Fylde try-scorer
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Richmond 36 Fylde 21

These sides played out an open and attacking advertisement for National One rugby at a sunny and hot Athletic Ground in the penultimate match of the season.

There was little at stake for either side, who sit next to each other on the league ladder, though Fylde remain nine points better off.

Even so, the match was very competitive and wholehearted and Fylde led 21-12 until the 59th minute.

Then a burst of four Mond tries in the final quarter, including a hat-trick by centre Adam Gadsby, gave the home side a conclusive and deserved victory.

They opened the scoring in the first minute, when full-back and leading scorer Rob Kirkby scored in the corner.

He was unable to make the conversion and it took Fylde only 10 minutes to hit back, when centre Scott Rawlings ran a fine line through the Mond defence before putting in a delicate grubber kick.

It was intended for winger Oli Brennand, who was about to pick up the ball with the line at his mercy when he was tackled from behind. Referee Shane Lewis had no option but to award a penalty try and Chris Johnson added the extras to give Fylde a 7-5 lead.

In the 22nd minute, Fylde extended their lead when Ryan De La Harpe finished off a neat move with a try which was improved by Johnson’s conversion.

Play was end to end during the rest of the first half. Just before the interval, Richmond scored an important try as Jamie Thomson forced his way over from close range.

Kirkby converted to cut the half-time deficit to 14-12.

In the 46th minute, Fylde scored the try of the game in spectacular fashion.

Deep in their own half, they turned over possession and launched a long-range attack. The ball went through many pairs of hands before athletic lock Joe Robinson finished off in style and plunged over the line. Johnson added the extras for a 21-12 lead.

Then Richmond found their scoring touch. Centre Adam Gadsby scored three tries and lock Charlie Lenygon one to punish Fylde heavily.

Scrum-half Ross Jones-Davies converted two of the tries. The final scoreline was rather harsh on Fylde but Richmond deserved their win through excellent opportunism, taking advantage of the visitors’ errors.

Head coach Paul Arnold said: “I was very proud of the team. The score doesn’t reflect the game overall. We started slowly and gifted them a try, but we recovered well and took the lead with two good tries but they scored from the final play of the half.

“We started well into a strong wind in the second half and scored the try of the season but then three breakaway scores cost us.

“I can’t fault anyone and there were more positives than negatives. We’re looking forward to next week’s game back in the ‘Smoke’!”

Fylde have dropped to sixth spot but would climb above Blackpheath with victory in London in their season-closer on Saturday.