Sedgley Park 30 Fylde 20

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Division 2 North table toppers Fylde suffered their first defeat of the season on Saturday as they went down 30-20 away at Sedgley Tigers, who went into the game also boasting eight wins from eight.

Only four bonus points separated the two teams at start of play, so inevitably something had to give.

Fylde started well before the first knock on of the day gave Sedge their first possession.

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They used this well to force some phases resulting in second row Connor James crashing over after only four minutes, converted by Collins for an early 7-0 lead.

Fylde suffered their first defeat of the season on Saturday. Photo: Fylde RFC/Chris FarrowFylde suffered their first defeat of the season on Saturday. Photo: Fylde RFC/Chris Farrow
Fylde suffered their first defeat of the season on Saturday. Photo: Fylde RFC/Chris Farrow

On 12 minutes Fylde earned a penalty and kicked to touch on the sedge 22.

Ben Gregory hit Harlan Corrie and quick ball off the top saw the back line run a lovely set move, Conor Wilkinson feeding Tom Grimes in off the blind side wing into a gap for the try.

Smith’s conversion failed but Fylde were on the board at 7-5 down.

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Fylde now settled into the game and Tristan Woodman earnt a wonderful turnover penalty, one of countless already this season.

Fylde pressed again with a fine 50/22 kick from Smith earning them the line out throw.

As they stretched the home defence Sedge second row Bob Birtwell was sin binned on 24 minutes for tackling the man without the ball and Smith nudged Fylde in front 8-7 with the penalty kick, only for Collins to put Sedge back ahead 10-8 with one of his own three minutes later.

The battle for possession and territory raged on, each team having their moments but both defences holding out.

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In the 37th minute Fylde earned a penalty on halfway, kicked into the Sedge 22 and Olli Parkinson this time provided clean line out ball.

Fylde probed and stretched the home defence before Greg Smith’s pin-point cross-field kick landed straight in the Ben Gregory breadbasket for him to dot down.

The touchline conversion failed but Fylde had secured a narrow 13-10 half-time lead.

In the second period, Fylde began to lose the territory battle, finding it hard to exit their own half effectively.

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A Sedge catch and drive looked for all money to be rolling over for a try until Adam Lanigan somehow got under the ball carrier forcing a goal line drop out.

The respite was only temporary, however, as Collins edged Sedge back in front with a penalty on 54 minutes.

The Tigers now had their tails up and forced another penalty to set up the catch and drive once again on 60 minutes.

This time the attempts to defuse this were deemed illegal and a penalty try was awarded, with the inevitable yellow card being shown to Harlan Corrie.

Fylde were 20-13 down and a man down to boot.

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Rather than demoralise them, this served to galvanise, and on 62 minutes they scored the try of the game.

From a penalty just inside his own half Connor Wilkinson took the quick tap and go and went, tacklers falling off him as his strength and ability to make men miss saw him run the full length under the posts.

Smith converted and Fylde were level again at 20 points apiece.

Sedge brought on the equally marvellously monikered Beltus Nonleh and he lived up to his name as he belted holes in the Fylde defence on the 65th minute, leading to a simple penalty kick which Steve Collins knocked over to put Sedge back in front at 23-20.

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Fylde held parity until Corrie’s sin bin was reversed and desperately sought the next score which was always going to be crucial.

Fylde to a man battled manfully, running and tackling hard, but another penalty on 77 minutes was despatched to the corner once again by Collins and the catch and drive set up.

This time former Fylde man and try machine Danny Maher was smuggled over and the conversion from Collins made it 30-20 to Sedge with just a few minutes left.

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