Fylde RFC’s freescoring backs have been challenged to keep their touchdown tallies rising in the three massive games leading up to Christmas and beyond.
READ MORE: Fylde work hard for victory at Otley
Tom Grimes’ two tries as Fylde bounced back from their defeat by Hull with a 23-14 success at Otley took the winger into double figures for the season.
Grimes is one try behind top scorer Tom Carleton,who has 11, and one above centre Connor Wilkinson.
And head coach Warren Spragg wants them to step up race for the top try-scorer title and maybe exceed 25 by the time the season is out.
Spragg told The Gazette: “It’s a good competition between them. It was looking like Tom Carleton was going to run away with it but his tries have dried up and Tom Grimes has caught up with him.
“It’s really good to see. The challenge for them now is to keep it up and finish the season with 25 or 30.”
Grimes’ brace helped second-placed Fylde to fight back from an early 14-0 deficit to record their 10th win in 13 games in National Two North.
Spragg added: “There was some frustration after the Hull game and we made a few mistakes early on, which they capitalised on.
“That was worrying but we slowly got back into it and built up a score. We had got it back to 14-12 at half-time and took control in the second half.
“It was pleasing to prevent a good team from scoring any points after those early tries, and overall it was a decent performance on a difficult pitch.”
Fylde had to settle for three tries and so missed out on a bonus point, which leaves them three points behind leaders Caldy from one more game.
Their immediate challenge is to extend their five-point advantage over third-placed Sedgley Park, who have a game in hand, in tomorrow’s final Woodlands fixture of 2019.
After facing the Manchester club, Fylde end the year with visits to fifth-placed Sheffield Tigers and to Preston Grasshoppers, who are desperate for points to climb out of the relegation zone.
Spragg added: “It’s a very exciting run-up to Christmas. Sedge finished above us last year and have started well.
“They lost a few players and had a change of coach, and some people thought they might not be as strong this season.
“But Scott Barrow has done a really good job. We played together at Fylde and he’s a top bloke.
“We’ll have a coffee in the office before the game and a beer afterwards, but there will be a healthy rivalry during the game.
“They have won all their close games and this will be a real challenge for us.
“Its a derby game and there will be a lot of players looking to prove a point with a view to Lancashire selection.”
But Spragg insists he has set no specific goals for this challenging run of December games.
He explained: “We are not setting targets for different stages of the season. We did look at that last year, when we were trying for a final push. But where we are now, the focus has to be on trying to get better week by week and not being distracted by anything longer-term.”
Fylde again expect to be without key back row duo Hal Chapman and David Fairbrother as they recover from injury, though Spragg should have dual-registered duo Joe Carpenter and Tom Roebuck available from Sale Sharks.
Woodlands stalwart Chris Briers, also part of Spragg’s coaching team, could lace up his boots as he approaches full fitness.