Fylde 45 Worthing Raiders 50
Fylde will remember the first ever visit to the Woodlands by Worthing for precisely the wrong reasons.
They blew a 21-12 lead, they blew more cold than hot and in the final analysis deserved to be blown out of the water.
At times their defence was shambolic and lurched into more than occasional chaos.
They were ill disciplined - exemplified by Paul Arnold’s third yellow card in four matches - while they lacked vision and leadership, letting too many good attacking positions slip by with sloppy handling.
And atrocious is the only apt description for some of the defending, Ryan De La Harpe’s early mistake in allowing Worthing an opening score rather setting the tone.
Fylde were knocked sideways by four tries in a 12-minute blitz at the start of the second half when they did not know what had hit them and Worthing, really pumped up for this their first win of the season, could almost score at will during that period.
Fylde did muster a determined fightback from being a harrowing 43-21 down, but it was too late, though they did get the consolation of two bonus points, thanks mainly to an Oliver Viney hat-trick and a brace from Arnold, who was convinced he had claimed a third late on, but the effort was ruled out.
Alex Nielsen claimed a hat-trick for Worthing, who out-scored Fylde by eight tries to seven. In the opening exchanges, Oliver Richards went for an interception in a tricky position, but Fylde had an escape when the Worthing player knocked om.
But the relief was only short term as Worthing took the lead after four minutes - De La Harpe was slow in shepherding Joseph Govett’s probing kick into touch and Worthing wing Nielsen took full advantage of the uncertainty to steal in and touch down.
Fylde hit back quickly after this unconverted try when Arnold barged over from close range - Chris Johnson’s kick put his side 7-5 up.
On 10 minutes, Fylde extended their lead - a quick inside pass by Johnston found Chris Briers in space and he made the most of the situation to stroll in between the posts.
Johnson added the goal to put Fylde 14-5 ahead after an early setback.
Govett was yellow carded, but it failed to deter Worthing - the try-spree continued as Kiba Richards breached the home defence for a score, augmented by Kieran Leeming.
On 20 minutes, Fylde hit back with a potent burst from deep after they stole Worthing’s line-out ball - Warren Spragg made a deal of ground before Viney accelerated down the wing to dive over in the corner. Johnson converted with a beauty of a kick from wide out to make the score 21-12 in Fylde’s favour.
Fylde launched a dangerous raid, but De La Harpe spilled the ball with the visitors in full retreat. Handling and other errors were keeping Worthing in the contest with Fylde woefully below their best and scrum-half Govett almost tricked his way through for a third try until he ran out of options.
Worthing number eight Robert Smith also had a chance, but was crowded out near the line and hauled into touch.
Fylde were completely under the cosh in the run-up to half-time, conceding a series of penalties, resulting in flanker Joe Robinson being yellow-carded.
There was a certain inevitability about Nielsen’s second try after latching on to Oliver Richards’ outside pass. The kick was missed and Fylde’s lead was down to a slender 21-17.
Fylde could hardly have, made heavier weather of it in the first half, typified by the fact that Arnold became the second player to be sin-binned along with Worthing’s Smith after a midfield scuffle.
Fylde could hardly have been more disjointed and didn’t remotely resemble a side that had won their opening three matches. Worthing started the second half on the front foot and dreadful tackling near the line allowed Oliver Richards through to score a 42nd minute touchdown, Govett adding the goal points as the visitors edged ahead 24-21.
It got worse for Fylde as James Chisholm broke free from a scrum and careered over. Govett converted and Worthing had scored two tries in four minutes to go ahead 31-21 turning the match on its head and it was nothing less than Worthing deserved.
Fylde plunged into more strife as Johnson fumbled a kick-ahead near the flag and the predatory Nielsen pounced for his hat-trick.
It was Worthing’s third try in eight minutes and Fylde were 36-21 adrift and in the mire. They sunk deeper as Dan Sergeant plunged over for another Worthing try, their fourth try in 12 minutes.
Govett converted to take the score to 43-21 - there was a skirmish after the try resulting in yellow cards for Fylde replacement Pete Altham and Worthing’s Scott Barlow.
Fylde got some respite as De La Harpe darted in for a try.
Sargeant was yellow carded for a high tackle, before Viney broke clear for try on the hour, goaled by Johnson to reduce the arrears to 43-33.
Govett missed with a long-range penalty before Fylde staged a grandstand finish.
Arnold and Scott Barrow created holes in the Worthing defence before Viney dodged over on the left Fylde’s third try in nine minutes. Johnson missed the kick and Fylde were now just five point adrift with 12 minutes left.
Fylde nearly burst through, but just as it looked as though they would breach the line, Worthing stole the ball and relieved the sustained pressure.
It proved crucial - the play went to the other end of the field and Oliver Richards scrambled over for a 75th minute try - Govett got the conversion. At the last gasp Arnold got over the line, but referee David Procter ruled he had not grounded the ball. Then another chance went astray as Gareth Gore spilled the ball when he looked like scoring.
Arnold got over the line at the death for a try, goaled by Johnson, but it was not enough and the damage had been done.
All in all it was a try-fest - one that was festooned by too frequent Fylde mistakes. They have a sorry mess to clean up now.
Fylde: Viney; Spragg, C Briers, Barrow, Brennand; Johnson, De La Harpe (Webb 77) Birchall, Burtonwood (Rylance, 49) Lewis (Altham 49) Banks Gore, Robinson, Vernon, Arnold.
n Fleetwood RU lost 43-15 at Aspatria in the North Lancs / Cumbria League.