Fylde RFC test Ampthill in all-action friendly

Fylde v Ampthill action
Fylde v Ampthill action
Share this article

Fylde have lost five of their six league matches against Ampthill and District but gave the Bedfordshire club a thorough test in Saturday's final pre-season warm-up game at the Woodlands.

Fylde have lost five of their six league matches against Ampthill and District but gave the Bedfordshire club a thorough test in Saturday's final pre-season warm-up game at the Woodlands.

Fylde led 19-14 with 20 minutes to play but conceded two late tries to go down 26-19.

Ampthill dominated possession in the first 20 minutes but the Fylde defence was fierce, with Chris Briers sin-binned for a high tackle.

The National League One side exploited their one-man advantage as winger Sam Baker scored out wide.

Sam Hanks added another neat try to extend the lead, with both scores converted.

In the last 15 minutes of the half Fylde came back strongly with concerted pressure.

Impressive right winger Lex Botha made a determined burst for his third try in two pre-season gmaes to cut the deficit to 14-5, though Greg Smith's conversion cannoned back off a post.

Fylde’s scrummage stood up well and new scrum-half Cam Crampton enjoyed the freedom to launch his backs.

Forwards Elliot Horner and Ben O’Ryan impressed on debut, while the Fylde backs began to gel, with England Under-20 pair Connor Wilkinson and Tom Carleton posing all kinds of problems.

They closed the gap to two points when lock Nick Ashcroft reacted quickest to a loose ball and Smith added the goal.

The best was yet to come for Fylde as the impressive Sam Dugdale, of Sale Sharks Academy and England U18, made a powerful break inside his own half to send Tom Grimes speeding down the touchline for a splendid try, excellently converted by Smith.

Smith made way for Tom Forster, who looked at home at fly-half after three seasons away with Preston Grasshoppers.

Ampthill stepped up their efforts in the final quarter as Fylde’s defence faltered.

Winger Will Foster levelled the scores with a try in the corner, then Baker raced down the left touchline for his second try in the final moments, superbly converted by Elliott Reeder.

Warren Spragg and his Fylde coaches will be pleased with the performance and face the right kind of selection problems ahead of Saturday's National Two North opener at home to Otley.

Spragg said: “We’ve had much more stability running into this season and I’m pleased with the progress the group had made during pre-season training.

"Our attack was really sharp at times, and we looked organised and hungry to get the ball back when we were out of possession.

“I think I can speak for the whole club in saying there is a real excitement building for next Saturday, and I can’t wait to be back in league action.”