Prolific backs and hooker from Cyprus among four more Fylde RFC signings for next season

Fylde RFC have confirmed that four more players have signed contracts for the 2021/22 season, including a new recruit to the Woodlands.

Tuesday, 20th April 2021, 1:28 pm
Updated Tuesday, 20th April 2021, 1:32 pm

Read More

Read More
Fylde RFC planning to stage May friendlies with or without spectators

And supporters will be delighted that two of the four are free-scoring backs Tom Carleton and Connor Wilkinson.

Full-back/wing Carleton and centre Connor Wilkinson have shared 79 tries between them over the 2018/19 and 2019/20 season, though neither has seen any competitive action since Fylde last played in March last year.

Tom Carleton has shared 79 tries with Connor Wilkinson over Fylde's past two seasons

Carleton told the club website: “To think it’s now over a year since we last played a game of rugby at the Woodlands is a grim thought.

“The past year seems to have flown by, yet lockdown felt never-ending at times.

“One thing that has remained constant is how much myself and the rest of the squad are looking forward to returning to rugby.

“For me, the past year has been a frustrating one. If anything, this forced period of time away from the game has reinvigorated my passion for the sport and made me realise why it is we spend so much time playing it.

“We can now look forward to the return of rugby matches, hopefully in the not too distant future, as well as enjoying some long overdue beers with friends after them.”

Wilkinson, like Carleton, a former Kirkham Grammar School pupil, added: “The past year has been a very strange experience for me, from fighting week in, week out at the top of National Two North to sitting at home wondering how to fill my days back in March 2020.

“The past year has been challenging for me, as it has been for everyone else, but it has given me time to spend with family, start a community coaching course and work with my dad on various home projects.

“The time away from the game has just increased my passion to train and play. With the government giving the green light for outdoor sports, we can finally look forward to some competitive rugby matches and the return of league rugby.”

The new arrival to the first XI squad is Pan Stylianou, who developed his rugby career at Cheadle Hulme School in Manchester while also playing in Sale FC’s junior ranks from the age of five.

Hooker Pan earned representative honours for Cheshire Under-16s and U18s, while also featuring in the North of England U18 squad.

He is also the youngest player to be capped by Cyprus in both the seven-a-side and 15-man versions of the sport.

The Sale U18 player began his studies at Lancaster University last year and said: “It has been difficult, especially coming into a new environment at Lancaster and having all lectures online, which was definitely a struggle.

“With regards to rugby stopping, I definitely took a hit physically and mentally as it’s a definite outlet for having fun and competing. I’ve still been keeping fit, doing as much as I can with the weights and now I’m very thankful we are back playing.”

The fourth player to sign up may feel like a new signing too as scrum-half Matt Sturgess is yet to take the field for Fylde since joining last summer.

The former Tarleton, Preston Grasshoppers and Sale Sharks Academy player earned a full-time contract at Sale in 2017.

He said: “The first lockdown was difficult as I had an operation on my knee and wasn’t able to rehab the way I wanted. I managed to get my hands on some equipment, so was able to continue weight training.

“I work in a school now and was able to continue going to work in the last lockdown to teach key workers’children. The school also has a good fitness room, which I had access to every day.

“Training at Fylde has been excellent so far, I’m loving it. Each session has been challenging.”