FIRST team places will be up for grabs when Fylde RUFC, newly promoted to National League One as runaway champions, take on a Sale Sharks XV at the Woodlands tomorrow.
It will be a full-scale warm-up for Fylde, with coach Mark Nelson scrutinising each player, the season kicking off a fortnight later with a home clash against Jersey.
Premiership club Sale are likely to field some first teamers, as well as up-and-coming academy players.
Nelson said: “It will be a very competitive match.
“We are playing it now, rather than a week later, so bumps and bruises can clear up.
“Sale will test us in defence, and in attack we will find ourselves having to try and break down a well-rehearsed defence.
“The Fylde players will all be playing for places – the time is right to get a really big game under our belts.”
Nelson added: “I am sure there will be some Premiership stars in the making on display, and it will provide a great opportunity for fans to see how our new squad is shaping up.
“We have some really exciting players, who have a fine opportunity to put down a marker for the season.”
And there could well be a novelty, with three Beaumont brothers on the field at the same time. Bill’s son Sam Beaumont will captain the club again this season – his brother Josh is in the squad, as is Danny Beaumont, the oldest of the three brothers.
Danny has yet to play for the first team, but has moved to the area to work, having played for Harlequin Amateurs.
He will cover for the hooker spot – Alex Loney will have the principal ball-winner’s role tomorrow, with Jonny Roddam and Alan Holmes absent.
Others missing from the Fylde squad tomorrow are Steve Collins (who will miss the Jersey game, too) Grant Ferguson and Callum McShane.
Gavin Cartmel, formerly with Penrith, is another absentee, having twisted his ankle in training
Fylde will field the bulk of their close-season recruits – Ed Binham, Chris Briers, Steve Depledge, Simon Griffiths, Tom Halsall (a full-back from the ranks of Rugby League) Alex Loney, Gareth Rawlings, Evan Stewart, Chris Tod and Danny Beaumont.
Fylde: (Backs) Richard Kenyon, Oliver Brennand, Mike Waywell, Chris Briers, Stephen Briers, Martin Wallwork, Steve Depledge, Jack Ward, Chris Tod, Ed Binham, Tom Halsall. (Forwards) Peter Altham, Alistair Livesey, Tom Lavelle, Alex Loney, Simon Griffiths, Sam Beaumont, Josh Beaumont, Dan Beaumont, Paul Arnold, Gareth Rawlings, Steve McGinnis, Evan Stewart, Mark Stephenson, Cameron Thompson.
The match kicks off at 2pm – admission is £5 for adults, £3 for senior citizens, while under-16s get in free.