Fylde RFC confirm five more signings as six leave Woodlands

Connor Wilkinson is in a group of five more Fylde players to re-sign for next season
Connor Wilkinson is in a group of five more Fylde players to re-sign for next season
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Fylde RFC have announced that five more players have re-signed for the club for the coming season, taking the total so far confirmed to 11.

Jacob Conner, Ben Gregory, Olli Parkinson, Ben Vernon and Connor Wilkinson have committed to the Woodlands for 2019-20, while six departures have also been revealed.

Since becoming Fylde’s first-choice centre, former Kirkham Grammar student Wilkinson has appeared in 59 of the 60 National League games over the past two seasons and has made 83 appearances in all, scoring 32 tries.

Packman Vernon has been capped by Lancashire, England juniors and England Counties and has topped 150 appearances over seven seasons with Fylde.

Gregory was an ever-present last season, sharing the hooker responsibilities with Alex Loney. The 21-year-old Lancashire and England Counties U20s player has made 66 senior appearances over three seasons.

Former Northampton Academy back-rower Conner made a timely arrival in view of David Fairbrother’s serious shoulder injury last season but was himself stretchered off on debut against Hull Ionians, though he went on make 15 appearances.

Powerful lock Parkinson, a Sedgley Park product, returns for a third season at the Woodlands

Head coach Warren Spragg said of the quintet: “Jacob was an unknown quantity when he first came to the club. He quickly showed us all that he is a top-quality player and a great bloke who has started to become a big character within the squad.

“BV was excellent for us last season, captaining the side when Adam Lewis was out through injury. His leadership and experience will be an important part of next season’s push.

“Connor has had another excellent year and was pushing Tom Carleton all the way in the try-scoring charts. He has matured as a player and is certainly one of the best centres in this league.

“Ben is a great lad to coach. I think that along with Alex Loney we have the best two hookers in the league.

“Olli’s work rate is exceptional and he is always near the top of the tackling and ball-carrying stat.

Among those moving on are Dan Orwin, the Second XV coach who occasionally took charge of the senior side on matchdays in the absence of Spragg. The demands of a new lecturing role at UCLan have led to Orwin taking a break from the game

Back rower Harlan Corrie has left the club after two seasons to play closer to his Cumbrian base. Winger James Bailey made 29 National League appearances over the past three seasons but has struggled with injuries.

Luke Fowden, Lewis Pattison and Jake Foster also move on hoping to find more first-team opportunities.