Fylde out to prove a point

Tom Lavelle
Tom Lavelle

Fylde are at Esher in National League One tomorrow with a huge point to prove, not least attempting to erase the memory of a nightmare 20 minutes when the sides last met at the Woodlands in October.

Fylde tried to salvage something from the mess but only succeeded in a measure of damage-limitation as they ultimately went down 31-21 to an Esher side whose director of rugby is BBC presenter John Inverdale.

It was a dreadful start that sticks in the memory of Fylde player-coach Paul Arnold, who said: “We hardly touched the ball in that first 20 minutes and we were fast asleep at the start.

“We did manage to pull it back somewhat, but it was a case of too little far too late, so we have something to prove at Esher.”

Front rower Tom Lavelle is given a start up front against an Esher side who are fifth in the table. Fylde climbed to ninth with last Saturday’s home win over Coventry.

Arnold said: “We will give Tom a start. He has only had 20 minutes or so here and there, and he deserves his chance to prove himself after showing up well in training.”

Arnold added that he was giving fellow prop Simon Griffiths a “week off”, saying: “It is an early start in the morning to get down to Ealing and Simon would have to travel all the way from Wales, so he can have the weekend off.”

Sam Beaumont is unavailable to take his place in the back row, so there could be a return for Dave Fairbrother, who missed the 25-14 win over Coventry on Saturday because of an Achilles injury.

If Fairbrother fails to make it, then Mark Goodman is standing by. Prop Adam Lewis steps down to the replacements’ bench.

Fylde (probable): Dorrington; Brennand, Briers, Dowds, Spragg; Johnson, Nicholls; Birchall, Burtonwood, Lavelle, Gray, G Rawlings, Vernon, Stewart, Fairbrother/Goodman. Replacements: Lewis, Mills, Arnold, S Rawlings, Morton.