Fylde RFC gets set to stage Lancashire v Yorkshire Roses encounter

Ready for the Woodlands decider in this year's County Championship group are (from left): Fylde coach Warren Spragg, Red Rose manager Steve Rigby and Lancashire head coach Mark Nelson
Ready for the Woodlands decider in this year's County Championship group are (from left): Fylde coach Warren Spragg, Red Rose manager Steve Rigby and Lancashire head coach Mark Nelson
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Fylde RFC stages its final match of the season tomorrow, staging a classic Roses contest in the Sir Bill Beaumont County Championship (3pm).

Lancashire are in pole position to win the Northern Group after impressive away wins over Durham (73-7) and Eastern Counties (57-7) and victory over Yorkshire will see the reigning champions reach the Twickenham final for the 10th time in 11 seasons.

Waiting to pounce on any slip-up by Lancashire are Cheshire, who are just a point behind the leaders and face Durham at Birkenhead.

Yorkshire could still steal top spot themselves if they win and Cheshire suffer a shock defeat.

Fylde have again provided the largest contingent for Lancashire and seven Woodlands players featured at Cambridge last weekend.

Fylde winger Tom Grimes is Lancashire’s top scorer so far with three. Clubmates Tom Carleton and Connor Wilkinson have both scored twice.

Wilkinson will be missing from the Lancashire side this weekend as he has sevens commitments in China and his place goes to Chester’s James Robins.

Fylde hooker Alex Loney comes in for Danny Maher.

The Roses rivals feature a mixture of National One and Two players, plus a few from level five leagues.

Both Lancashire and Yorkshire drew their players from seven clubs last weekend.

Besides Fylde, the Lancashire side which faced Eastern Counties included players from Sale FC, Sedgley Park, Rossendale, Longton, Preston Grasshoppers and Vale of Lune.

In their two matches so far, Yorkshire have used players from Hull Ionians, Otley, Darlington Mowden Park, Wharfedale, Huddersfield, Rotherham Titans and Sheffield Tigers.

Lancashire v Yorkshire matches go right the way back to the very first year the County Championship was contested in 1889, when the White Rose took the title.

Lancashire have by far the better recent record, though the counties have not met for three seasons.

Since Rossendale’s former Fylde coach Mark Nelson assumed control of Lancashire in 2003, the Red Rose has qualfied for 13 of the 16 Twickenham finals, winning nine.

Lancashire are the reigning champions following last season’s victory over Hertfordshire.

Cornwall had contested the previous five finals as winners of the southern group and they will do so again provided they can beat Durham at Brixham tomorrow.

This year’s Twickenham final will be staged on Sunday June 2 following the England v Barbarians match.

Fylde’s current head coach Warren Spragg is among Nelson’s Lancashire lieutenants as back’s coach, while ex-Fylde hooker Martin Scott takes charge of the forwards.

Lancashire team: Allen; Carleton, Robins, Rawlings, Grimes; Johnson, Crampton; Birchall, Loney, Griffiths, Tomlinson, Birtwell, Hughes, Mills, Chapman. Replacements: Altham, Aigbokhae, Gregory, Davies, Hall, Hurst.