Birmingham Moseley 57 Fylde 0: Match report

New head coach Warren Spragg has much to ponder
New head coach Warren Spragg has much to ponder

A troubled season for Fylde RFC which began with a narrow home defeat by Birmingham Mosely ended with a serious beating in the reverse fixture and with plenty for new head coach Warren Spragg to reflect on.

Fylde had ensured their National One survival with victory over Loughborough Students a week earlier and Saturday’s visit to the Midlanders, who finish fifth after relegation from the Championship last year, was certainly a match too far.

With a number of senior players unavailable or injured, Fylde gave opportunities to a several young squad members, while a very good Moseley squad were anxious to pay tribute to long-term head coach Kevin Maggs, who is leaving the club.

This was also the final game in charge for Fylde’s Paul Arnold, for whom is was an unhappy return to his former club.

This was Fylde’s 14th defeat in 15 away games this season, many of them by wide margins. The club avoided relegation thanks to winning nine out of 15 at home, and solving the conundrum of their home/away form will be one of Spragg’s key priorities.

Unlike in many previous away games, Fylde competed strongly in the first 20 minutes. Although their pack was under the cosh, they were competitive and their defence was tight.

However, their scrummage was under pressure from early on and a collapsed scrum resulted in a 21st-minute penalty. From the ensuing lineout, home skipper and number eight Chris Brightwell drove over for the opening score, though fly-half James Williams missed the conversion.

A few minutes later, lock Sam Pailor finished off a powerful move to score. Again the goal attempt drifted wide but the hosts led 10-0.

Fylde saw prop Jake Pope being forced off injured and home scrum-half Sam Brown sniped over for a try, then lock Tom Fidler drove over from close-range to secure the four-try bonus point before half-time. Williams converted the last of these tries to make it 22-0 at half-time.

Fylde rang the changes at the interval, Scott Armstrong among those who came on to face his old club.

Despite having flanker Harry Hone sinbinned, the home side extended their lead when winger Afeafe Haisila raced 80 metres for a try which Williams converted.

There was no escape from the waves of Moseey attacks as full-back scored twice in as many minutes around the hour and winger David Brazier scored the eighth on 64 minutes.

Fylde winger Anthony Bingham almost grabbed a late consolation try but was brilliantly tackled by Sheldon.

And the hosts rounded off their win with a try by replacement back-rower Jacques Le Roux on 77 minutes as Fylde remain 12th in the final table.

Fylde: Carleton; Brennand, Wilkinson, Briers, Bingham; Smith, Dever; Pope, Gregory, Lewis, Ashcroft, Gray, Harrison, Burtonwood, Lamprey. Replacements: Wild, Griffiths, Arnold or Trippier, Nicholls, Armstrong