High-flying Fylde RFC return to the Woodlands tomorrow hoping to continue an unbeaten start which has seen them fare even better away than at home.
The only points Fylde have dropped so far in National Two North came in the home draw with Preston Grasshoppers.
Saturday’s 34-27 win at Tynedale made it 15 points out of 15 on their travels so far, something which is particularly satisfying for head coach Warren Spragg.
In recent years, Fylde have often struggled to reproduce their home form on the road and Spragg is pleased to see his efforts to rectify this bearing fruit.
He told The Gazette: “The results away from home this season show we have got the preparation right and the players are not nervous about playing away.
“We haven’t made enormous changes. It’s more about making tweaks to give us the best core routine between Thursday and Saturday in terms of the discussions we’re having about away games and consistency in preparation.”
It certainly worked at Tynedale, traditionally one of Fylde’s unhappiest hunting grounds, though two late tries by the north-east club did set up a nailbiting finale.
Spragg said: “We controlled much of the first half but had a poor 10 minutes before half-time. We clarified our aims and discussed what we needed to do, then we played outstanding rugby.
“It did get too nervy at the end. I had rolled the whole bench and maybe put the replacements on too quickly because we maybe lost a bit of composure.”
Tomorrow’s visitors, Stourbridge, are fourth in the table, two places below Fylde, but have lost two of their last three.
“They looked outstanding in their first two games but will be disappointed to have lost to a late try against Sedgley Park last week,” said Spragg.
“It was a scrappy game but Stourbridge have a powerful pack, who carry hard and are abrasive defensively. We had two great results against them last season but I do think we got them on off-days.”
Spragg has welcome selection issues to grapple with in the forward and back divisions ahead of the game.
He hopefully has Nick Ashcroft available after injury to enter the pack equation, while last weekend’s switch of Connor Wilkinson and Tom Carleton to full-back and wing respectively gave the coach more food for thought.
Spragg said: “Nick has trained this week but it will be difficult to leave anyone out if he comes in.
“Ralph Dowds had trained well and deserved a start in the centres last weekend, so we moved Tom and Connor. We could move them back but it’s a good selection headache to have.
“It’s about trying to manage a squad over a long season. I don’t like the term ‘rotation’ because I will select what I think is the best team for each game. But players do need to be adaptable and it’s good to show we have that flexibility.”