Stricken Fylde Rugby Club have given their backing to coach Warren Spragg at a point when they are having their worst season in years.
The club, stranded at the foot of National League One, has extended his appointment to cover the 2018-19 season regardless of the very real prospect of relegation.
Spragg has been rewarded for “doing an outstanding job in difficult circumstances” in the words of World Rugby chairman Bill Beaumont, who still closely follows the fortunes of the club.
Chairman of rugby Roger Banks added: “We have been very pleased with Warren’s performance.
“He has impressed us with his organisational skills, technical knowledge and player management.
“In the last couple of seasons we have lost more than 15 experienced players through retirement, relocation and them moving on to other clubs, almost all competing in lower divisions than National One.
“It is an extremely tough league and requires exceptional commitment from players to train and compete against top clubs located all around England.
“We are determined to plan for the future and, while we continue to battle to stay at level three, we need to ensure our coaching arrangements are top quality, whichever division we are in next season.
Spragg said: “It is proving a very challenging campaign for our young, mainly homegrown squad. We have put in some strong performances but we are certainly not where we want to be in National One.
“The club needs to improve in a number of respects, on and off the field. I believe that we are moving in the right direction to achieve this and I want to be a part of it.
“I am sending a clear message to players, both in the existing squad and to those who might want to join us. I’m excited about what the future holds here at the Woodlands,” Spragg added.
Fylde R will be without forwards Mark Irving and Nick Ashcroft for tomorrow's Woodlands clash with Bishops Stortford (3pm).
Both players came off injured in the opening quarter of last Saturday’s 50-12 defeat at Esher. Prop Irving suffered concussion and second rower Ashcroft sustained a knee injury.
Jake Pope and Matt Garrod will cover for them as bottom club Fylde face Bishops Stortford for the first time.
The half-back partnership of Greg Smith and club captain Greg Nicholls will be back in harness, both having recovered from injury.
Fylde give a debut to back row forward Will Hopwood.
Bishops Stortford are sixth in National One, having won eight and drawn one of 12 fixtures. They have won four away and ran leaders Coventry close, going down 30-27 there.