Pack power and back strength thrills boss

Paul Arnold scores a try
Paul Arnold scores a try
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FYLDE coach Mark Nelson heaped praise on his forwards after their fine victory over second-placed Blaydon, then said he would have to confront selection posers in the backs following centre Mike Waywell’s return, writes STEVE SIMPSON.

Nelson said: “It was good to bounce back from the Old Albanians defeat, where we didn’t really perform like we hoped. I thought the forward effort was immense

“The win stemmed from the pack. We did make errors but we refused to let them fluster us. Against a side that has had such a good run, it was a really good performance and a really good result

“I said to the players at half-time that the next 20 minutes were crucial and it proved to be so. It was the flipside to what happened at Albanians, where they got two tries. We were determined and focused on tightening up at half-time, and there was a great reaction.”

Regular kicker Chris Johnson was on the bench and Fylde struggled to land goals, but Nelson explained: “We have a set of backs who have different skills and attributes. You have to manage it round that.

“Chris Johnson missed out on Saturday and would be disappointed. He would probably have nudged those goals over

“On another day, Ryan (De La Harpe) would have kicked better but we played to score tries. You would sacrifice some kick misses for the way we played.

“It was the most determined and focused performance of the season, and don’t under-estimate the side we were playing against.

“We posed them a lot of problems they couldn’t overcome. They came back at the end and got the losing bonus point, but across the board we deserved to win. Blaydon’s defence was strong, but if we had been a bit more clinical the margin of victory could have been more.”

For the second successive match, Fylde lost a player to an ankle injury, flanker Ben Vernon suffering a similar setback to Tom Lavelle.

But Nelson says he has cover for Vernon. “It’s fortunate we had Cameron Thompson to come on. Danny Maher is coming back to fitness and hopefully Steve McGinnis will be available for some games.

“Ben was having a good game and I am sorry for him, but fortunately Thompson could carry on his baton.

“It is great to have Simon Griffiths back. He had a great game and Pete Altham did well against probably the best scrummaging team in the league. Simon made a big impact when he came on.”

As for the competition among the backs, Nelson added: “Mike Waywell has signed and is available, so I have an abundance of riches.

“There are no injuries in the backs and there are going to be some disappointed players. We have 12 who can play first-team rugby and I can only pick nine.”

Josh Beaumont, who made his debut for Sale Sharks on Friday, is not expected to figure in Fylde’s trip to Sedgley Park on Saturday.

Nelson explained: “By all accounts, Josh did very well against Montpelier and I have no doubt Sale will want him for the Heineken Cup game in Cardiff.

“Sedgley Park are really battling and fighting hard, and then we have Ealing, who are the top dogs.”

Fylde moved up two places to seventh on the strength of this win.