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Home > News > Kendal 0 - Fylde 46
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Your News Kendal 0 - Fylde 46
16
JAN

This National Two (North) match mattered to both clubs for different reasons. Fylde are pressing on leaders Loughborough Students at the top of the table whilst Kendal were anxious to get well clear of the relegation zone. As the River Kent raged through the middle of the town, by kick-off time the Mint Bridge pitch had absorbed a night and morning of heavy rain. It poured down, was cold and there was a strong wind down field away from the Clubhouse. Although the pitch was in surprisingly decent shape, these conditions seemed heaven sent for a typical close, driving 'ball up the jumper' performance from the Cumbrians who had reinforced their pack with the arrival of Kiwi prop Iain Hudson and the return of flanker Craig Wilson.

Fylde playing into the wind and rain in the 1st half had other ideas. From the kick-off they showed their willingness to run the ball from deep in their own half. After two minutes, playmaker Steve Collins, making his first start for the Lancastrians, shipped the ball wide 30m out from his own line. Stephen Briers made the initial break to the halfway line before passing to winger Nick Royle. The England 7s flyer raced 45m down the right touchline and was slowed by the tackle of Kendal's final defender. He regained his footing and plunged over the line for a dramatic try. Collins, nor probably any other kicker in English rugby, could make anything of the conversion into the teeth of the wind and rain from near the touchline.

Two minutes later there was an almost identical move down Fylde's right. Royle raced clear once more. Instead of going on the outside of defenders as with the first try he cut back infield and when tackled fed the fast supporting Richard Kenyon. Centre Mile Waywell was on Kenyon's outside and he cantered into the left corner for a spell-binding try.

The champagne rugby continued on 10 minutes when the Fylde forwards created quick possession deep in the Kendal half and Kenyon, enjoying the greater freedom at fullback, forced his way over the line. Once again the attempted conversion fell short and wide but, amazingly, Fylde had a 15-0 lead and the ball had hardly passed through a Kendal player's hands.

The home side started to win some possession but were repelled by a solid Fylde defence and the dreadful conditions. Whenever Kendal tried to force the pace of the game with close quarter passing either a crunching tackle or fallible handling stopped them in their tracks. In comparison, the Fylde pack made acres of space with superb handling, off-loading and driving play up the middle of the pitch. It would be invidious to pick out individual forwards as the eight fought as one. The front row established an advantage in the scrummages, the two towering locks were irrepressible and the backrow hunted as a tight unit.

After 28 minutes Kendal were desperate to move the ball around and tried to make a break down the blindside 30m out from their own line. Summing up their luck in the 1st half, the ball was fumbled by a Kendal back and it dropped into the waiting arms of Fylde winger Oli Brennand who gleefully raced away for a gift, opportunistic try.

Four minutes later Fylde were back swarming into the Kendal half. Bewilderingly quick movement and inter passing between backs and forwards freed Kenyon once more and he raced the last 35m for a try under the posts. Steve Collins, who had been orchestrating the backline with consummate skill, at last managed to get a straightforward conversion and Fylde had a 27-0 lead.

In the last minute of the half, Fylde pressed hard on the Kendal line and flanker Mark Stephenson, making an impressive return to the team, dodged his way through some ineffectual tackling around a ruck and plunged over from 5m out and near the posts. Collins again converted and Fylde went into the break with a barely credible 34-0 advantage. The spectators in a good sized crowd for such vile weather were as shell shocked as the Kendal players at the preceding 40 minutes. The quality of the Fylde play was bewildering in such terrible conditions. Wise heads with long memories amongst the Fylde travelling support couldn't recall such a performance.

Playing with the wind at their backs and the weather conditions getting worse as the cold set in, perhaps it was inevitable that the 2nd half was something of an anti-climax. Kendal didn't get into the Fylde half for the 40 minutes and the both teams rang the changes in personnel. Fylde had pretty much total control although the Kendal heads never dropped despite the hopelessness of their position. The home side battled away but just couldn't put together sufficient penetrative play before the inevitable handling mistake with a ball that was a bar of soap.

After 65 minutes, scrum-half Martin Wallwork, who had had a very good match, always harassing his opposite number Will Voke, broke down Fylde's blindside on the right. He set up Nick Royle who easily made the last 30m into the right corner for his second try of the game, and 13th of the season.

Fylde's 8th and last try of the afternoon came in the 69th minute and was appropriately scored by skipper Sam Beaumont who had led his team with fierce energy from the front throughout. As the visiting pack exerted more pressure 15m from the Kendal try line, Beaumont broke quickly and brushed off a couple of tacklers as he muscled over for his 3rd try of the campaign.

If Fylde can reproduce the intensity of the 1st half in the coming difficult weeks as Harrogate and, particularly, Loughborough Students await them then they'll make a convincing promotion case. As the squad watched the match video on the coach on the way home, head coach Mark Nelson said: Neither the DVD nor words can quite capture the quality of our 1st half play.

As the news of the defeats of leaders Loughborough at Preston and Westoe at Morley came through, the spirits of the squad and everyone associated with the Woodlands club soared even higher. Fylde now sit just one point behind the Students and three points clear of Leicester Lions.

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