To Hull and back with five more points

Fylde v Nuneaton.
Fylde v Nuneaton.
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Hull 9, Fylde 31

A tough and durable Hull side had a considerable advantage in size and weight but could not prevent league leaders Fylde recording another comprehensive bonus-point win.

And with closest rivals Loughborough Students and Westoe both losing, Fylde have opened up a 17-point chasm betweem themselves and the rest in National Two North.

Again highly impressive despite difficult conditions, the visitors scored five tries and successfully prevented the Humbersiders crossing their whitewash to record an eighth successive win.

But it was Hull who opened the scoring after seven minutes, when fly-half James Cameron kicked a penalty for obstruction.

Five minutes later, Fylde started to exert control and they attacked down the left. Centre Mike Waywell, called into the England Counties squad last week, neatly kicked through the Hull defence and winger Oliver Brennand won the race for the ball to score between the posts.

Fly-half Steve Collins was back after injury and converted easily.

A Fylde offence after 17 minutes gave Cameron another penalty opportunity which he converted from inside the visitors’ half to reduce the deficit to one point.

Ten minutes later, Fylde really stepped on the gas and started to assert their superiority.

Hull struggled throughout to stifle Fylde’s running rugby and Collins took advantage of sustained pack pressure to dummy over the line from close range.

He failed to convert his own try from the touchline but Fylde led 12-6.

Hull were being forced into defensive heroics as Fylde continued to run the ball from any position, though the home side’s persistent offside was exhausting the patience of referee Brendan Fitzmaurice.

On 34 minutes, he yellow-carded centre Jarad Williams and a minute later flanker Ben Dorrington was also despatched for ten minutes.

But the 13 men bravely fought back, not only holding on until half-time but also reducing the deficit to 12-9 with a neat Cameron drop goal.

Still two men short at the start of the second period, the strain proved too much for Hull and numerous touchline-to-touchline phases by Fylde created space for lock Paul Arnold to drive through the middle and offload for the supporting Steve McGinnis to complete the final two yards to the try-line on 44 minutes. Collins’ goal put daylight between the teams at 19-9.

Big-hitting flanker Rob Devonshire led the Hull rearguard splendidly but they were visibly tiring from their exertions and the free-scoring Brennand took Martin Wallwork’s pass to jink past two defenders for his second try on 59 minutes, Collins again converting.

Replacements flooded on to the pitch from both dugouts, yet Fylde didn’t allow this to upset their rhythm and the pressure was maintained.

After several scrums near the right touchline, the Hull pack splintered and Fylde drove forward for Arnold to squeeze over for his customary try.

Collins had been replaced, so full-back Richard Kenyon attempted the conversion which drifted wide.

This was another good day at the office for a Fylde team looking ever more like champions-elect.

However, coaching consultant Brian Ashton is a very hard taskmaster and he was heard complaining on the final whistle about too many scrums. Only positive running rugby pleases the former England head coach, though there was surely enough of that to satisfy him in cold and wet conditions at the Ferens Ground.

Fylde team: Kenyon; Royle, Briers, Waywell, Brennand; Collins, Wallwork; Livesey, Roddam, Lavelle, Arnold, Ferguson, Stephenson, McGinnis, S Beaumont; replacements: Holmes, Altham, Aikman, Ward, Sutherland.