Fylde RFC aim to build on in-house match after full season of fixtures is wiped out

Fylde RFC’s joint-head coach Chris Briers hopes an in-house game will serve to ease the players’ frustration and pave the way for a normal pre-season this summer.

Wednesday, 26th May 2021, 12:30 pm

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The Woodlands club’s final hope of playing any matches this season was dashed when an upsurge in Covid cases in east Lancashire led to this month’s friendlies against Blackburn RFC being cancelled.

It was a huge disappointment to the players who returned to training two months ago – more than a year after their last game - and were preparing to face Blackburn last Saturday and this.

Chris Briers (second left) says an 'internal' game can prove valuable for Fylde as they look towards 2021/22

Briers told The Gazette that the squad continued to train after the cancellation of the Blackburn fixtures with a view to playing “an internal game” which would serve a valuable purpose.

He said: “Yes, it’s very disappointing because we’ve been gearing up for the Blackburn games. I see it from the players’ perspective in terms of what we wanted to get out of it. The committee may not be as emotionally involved but they have to look at the broader picture in making the decision.

“The players are frustrated but we have to look forward and stay positive.

“We decided to continue training for another week or so and play an internal game within the club, which means everyone who would have been involved against Blackburn gets a game.

“It will be competitive but lighthearted too and hopefully an enjoyable social occasion.”

Briers had expressed the fear that a full season without any onfield action would result in a more rigorous pre-season ahead of 2021/22, with more warm-up games and greater risk of injuries.

But he says that will not be the case, adding: “A competitive match against each other gives us a bit of what the Blackburn games would have in terms of physical contact for bodies that haven’t been used to it for 15 months.

“It will jog people’s memories about how we play, the shape we have and how we work together. It’s not exactly what we wanted it but it’s an opportunity to do some of the things we were hoping for against Blackburn.

“We don’t want more pre-season games than normal. We just want a regular pre-season and that’s the plan.

“Obviously the players have never experienced anything like this but hopefully things are on the mend.”

Pre-season will begin in July, with the long-awaited league campaign starting at Tynedale on September 4.

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