Sheffield Tigers 12 Fylde RFC 43: Fylde bury their Tigers hoodoo
Fylde continued their pressure on the top group of National Two North clubs with another high-scoring victory on the road.
Fylde had lost all three of their previous games against Sheffield Tigers and, for the first 40 minutes, the contest was delicately balanced.
However, once Tom Carleton scored Fylde’s third try in the 44th minute, the floodgates opened and the visitors pulled away for a clear victory, moving them into fourth place in the division.
The quiet, benevolent weather conditions at Dore Moor suited Fylde’s open, running game, though their ambitions weren’t helped by a late training injury to prop Zack Barrow which saw the Hawks’ young tighthead Ethan Hulme brought into the squad.
Playing downhill on the sloping pitch, Fylde dominated the early minutes of the game and were quickly on the scoreboard.
They attacked down their left in the first minute, flanker Phill Mills carrying the ball powerfully and offloading to Tom Grimes who forced his way over for the opening try, converted by Greg Smith.
Grimes was playing for the first time at full-back for Fylde and put in some excellent early long kicks downfield.
In the eighth minute, Fylde won a lineout and a rolling maul resulted in skipper Ben Gregory driving over.
The Tigers fought their way into the match and exerted pressure inside the Fylde 22 but the visitors’ defence held firm.
However, errors crept into their play as they struggled with discipline and conceded numerous penalties right up to half-time.
Additionally, handling errors undermined their attempts to sustain attacking in the Tigers’ half.
In the 26th minute, a series of drives from the Tigers’ pack sucked in Fylde defenders and the home backs moved right with a long pass to winger Rob Davidson, who strolled in for an easy try to make the score 12-5.
The Tigers continued to batter their way towards the Fylde line in the last 15 minutes of the first half and the visitors continued to fall foul of the referee.
Their cause wasn’t helped by the sinbinnings of Marcus Blake and David Fairbrother but, given the circumstances leading up to the half-time interval and the amount of possession the Tigers had enjoyed, Fylde were fortunate to go into the break in the lead.
The second half was quite different as Fylde’s discipline suddenly improved and their running game was unleashed.
In the 44th minute, still down to 14 players with Fairbrother off the field, their backs attacked down the right and Henry Hadfield released Carleton, who sped past defenders to score a crucial try.
Carleton was at it again three minutes later, this time down the left side.
He saw a gap in the defence and accelerated through it to score near the posts, Smith converting to give Fylde a 24-5 lead.
It was now the turn of the Tigers’ discipline to falter under the pressure of Fylde’s rejuvenated second-half assault.
Prop Will Bennett was shown a yellow card for a high tackle and Fylde immediately profited as they scored the best try of the day.
Carleton and Sam Fisher linked up before Carleton again released Smith, who burst through to score under the posts before adding the conversion for a 31-5 advantage.
The Tigers earned some sustained pressure inside the Fylde half and, in the 63rd minute, a series of drives near the line ended with Connor Scott forcing his way over with Mark Ireland kicking the conversion.
That was just a temporary comeback as Fylde added two further tries in the dying moments.
Tigers’ head coach Jamie Broadley had come off the replacements’ bench in the second half but was yellow-carded 10 minutes before the final whistle.
In the 72nd minute, a Fylde attack down the left saw Scott Rawlings drive into the Tigers’ defence 35 metres out, and with a lovely offload, he freed Carleton to race in for his hat-trick try.
In injury time, Carleton finished off a highly productive afternoon by finding another gap in the Tigers’ defence to cross once again and complete the scoring.
Sheffield Tigers: Duffy (Ireland 53); Davidson, Wager (Broadley 47), Church, Mellor; Farrell (Cone 73), Floyd; Bennett, Archer (Scott 48), Cone (Taylor-Dawes 61), Rank (Calladine 33), Fitzsimons, Hughes, Townsend (Archer 59), Taylor-Dawes (Anderson 51).
Fylde RFC: Grimes; Hadfield, Carleton, Rawlings, Fisher; Smith (Lanigan 74), Sturgess; Kyle-Clay, Gregory, Bowker (Hulme 74), Parkinson (Parker 64), Garrod, Blake (O’Ryan 58), Mills (Turner 76), Fairbrother.
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