Fylde survive the final onslaught

Oliver Brennand
Oliver Brennand

FYLDE coach Mark Nelson was baffled by his side’s handling errors in the narrow win over Roses rivals Wharfedale, and even wondered if something was wrong with the match-balls as so much possession was coughed up.

Nelson said: “We had some good touches and there were some real skills shown, but there were a lot of mistakes.

“Maybe we need to look at the type of ball we are using because both teams were spilling it certainly in the first half.”

The Fylde coach was pleased to see his side bounce back after shipping 50 points at Cinderford the previous week. He added: “Wharfedale did what I anticipate. They were very competitive at the breakdown.

“They slowed the ball down and at times we were a second too slow, but overall it was a decent performance, though we can and will improve. I will certainly settle for a five-pointer and we have to move forward from here.

“I thought we dug really deep and I have to pay tribute to the resilience of the players. We did create some good tries and Wharfedale worked hard to get a bonus point.”

Try of the game was by Oli Brennand from a pin-point crosskick by Richard Kenyon. Nelson reflected “In Oli Brennand and Richard Kenyon we have two classy players, and if Oli catches the ball in space, then nine times of 10 he will score. It’s good to have that threat out wide.”

Nelson said flanker Ben Vernon had his best game in Fylde colours. “I chatted long and hard to him about what he needs to do and he responded very well.

“Wharfedale have a very good back row and I thought we competed exceptionally well in that area. Dan Birchall played really well and Gaz Rawlings gave us a big boost in the lineout when he was soaring up there. It was good to have him back and hopefully it will continue. That was his first (full) game for us in almost 12 months.”

Looking ahead, Nelson said: “We have Cambridge and Sedgley Park to finish off February and we need to build on this win. Wharfedale are a good side and they will beat good sides.

“With Blaydon losing, it now looks as if Ealing have too much in the bank for anyone to touch them, but the rest of the league is going to be very competitive week in, week out.”