Fylde lose Mark and need a new captain

Fylde v Macclesfield at Woodlands. Sam Beaumont.
Fylde v Macclesfield at Woodlands. Sam Beaumont.

WING-FORWARD Mark Stephenson has left Fylde RFC and rejoined Fleetwood as player-coach.

The announcement comes just weeks after former Fleetwood player-coach Roger Banks decided to return to the Woodlands.

Fylde coach Mark Nelson said: “Mark has done a really good job for us, both when we won promotion and last season in National League One. I just wish he would have joined Fylde earlier in his career, and I think that ‘Stevo’ thinks the same.

“He regards Fleetwood as his first club and will link up with (head coach and fellow former Fylde player) Craig Aikman. We wish him well.”

n Sam Beaumont has announced that he is stepping down from the Fylde captaincy.

He has started a new business venture and wants to focus on playing without the additional responsibility of captaincy.

Nelson said: “I wanted Sam to continue but totally understand his business reasons.

“I recognised his real leadership qualities when he toured with the Lancashire squad to Canada as a development player. Although he was an inexperienced member of the party, his conduct on and off the field really stood out.

“Sam took over from Roger Banks at Fylde in 2009 and has been an exceptional leader. His qualities as a player inspire his team-mates and his astute understanding of the game made him very tactically aware.

Beaumont said: “It has been a very difficult decision. The last three years have been a fantastic experience of some real highs and lows. In my first season I captained the team to a record number of consecutive losses (eight), and we finished in the lowest league position in the club’s history.

“Captaining the club to win N2N a couple of seasons ago and doing so well in the league last season have been a real honour.

“I am still fully committed to the club and am looking forward to next season. I think with the new signings we have a really strong squad and a great opportunity to improve on last year’s league position.”

Beaumont’s successor will be announced shortly.

n Fylde are in talks with Namibian World Cup scrum-half Ryan De La Harpe.

The half-back has been a member of the County Championship-winning Lancashire side, so he is well known to Nelson.

The Fylde coach is a big admirer of the whole-hearted no.9, who has been at Moseley lately, and is hopeful of getting his man, though there could be interest from Championship sides.

Of pressing concern for Nelson is the future of free-scoring winger Nick Royle, whose central contract as an England Sevens player comes to a close soon.

Royle could try for a Super League contract but that does not concern Nelson.

He said: “That would work out well for us as it would allow us to play him in the winter.”

Fylde are in the market for two more players and pre-season training starts on July 10.

Centre Mike Waywell has yet to announce whether he will move to play in Italy next season.