Match report: Fylde RFC 7 Old Elthamians 43

James McCarthy on the attack for Fylde
James McCarthy on the attack for Fylde

Head coach Warren Spragg admitted to sharing the pain of Fylde supporters after this heaviest home defeat in three seasons by the newly promoted Elthamians left them without a point after three National League One fixtures.

The London visitors, who like Fylde had lost their opening two games, were bigger, stronger and had more firepower as they scored four unanswered tries in the second half

Fylde had applied plenty of pressure in the first half but could cross the try-line only once and changed ends trailing 17-7.

There was a kicking masterclass from Elthamians’ former Worcester and Wasps fly-half Joe Carlisle, who claimed 16 points from a try and five goals.

Spragg had this message for spectators: “ I feel your pain as loyal club supporters. I understand it’s definitely not what you want to watch. It’s not what I would watch and it’s not what the players want.

“There’s only so long we can say the players are learning but I trust these guys.

“We are doing as much as we possibly can on and off the pitch to be the best team we possibly can be week in, week out. We’ll get better as quickly as we possibly can.

“We showed promise but must do better. We played some really good stuff in the first half but as in the previous weeks we made some poor decisions.

“We’ve made some mistakes and the opposition have ended up scoring without too much trouble, and the more we started chasing the more that happened so I’m disappointed.”

With skipper Greg Nicholls out long-term with a knee injury, Fylde gave a debut to young Australian Alex Dolly from Sale Jets at scrum-half, while prop Adam Lewis assumed the captaincy.

Lewis led perhaps the youngest pack Fylde have ever fielded in league game, with an average age of 22. Sale Sharks’ Jake Pope joined the captain in the front row, while Adam McCarthy came in for the formidable David Fairbrother, who will be missing for several weeks on Royal Navy duties.

Elthamians were ahead inside two minutes as the highly influential Carlisle’s kick was regathered and the ball was spread wide for number eight Harry Ledger to score. Carlisle added the goal to set the pattern for his afternoon.

Fylde were level within three minutes, slick handling in the backs resulting in a try by centre Connor Wilkinson which fly-half Greg Smith goaled.

The visitors regained the lead on 15 minutes, when Carlisle’s penalty after a strong run by lock Tom Scorgie made it 10-7.

The game soon became scrappy, with handling errors by both sides, though it was Fylde who began to build pressure.

But despite being held up over the line, they couldn’t register further points and fell further behind a minute before half-time, when that man Carlisle sent out the scoring pass for Kieran Moffat and landed the goal.

The ball would go through plenty of Fylde hands but they rarely crossed the gain line.

Fylde’s uphill struggle becamee a mountainous climb seven minutes after the restart, when a rolling maul from a lineout resulted in a try for Egerton.

It was 31-7 on 53 minutes, when Max Wilkins won turnover ball and a series of drives resulted in a richly deserved try for Carlisle.

Moffat scored his second on 69 minutes when Fylde lost possession in James Golledge’s tackle.

And Golledge was instrumental in the only unconverted try two minutes from time, sending Dom Lespierre charging down the right to the line.

The few plus points for Fylde included adept scrum-half Dolly after only one training session.

Fylde: Brookes, Bailey, Briers, Wilkinson, Carleton, Smith, Dolly; Pope, Burtonwood, Lewis, Garrod, Ashcroft, Harrison, McCarthy, Vernon; Replacements: Irving, Langdon, Brookes, Grimes, Hadfield