Fylde RFC’s first visit to Bishop’s Stortford’s Silver Heys ground was memorable for the wrong reasons as they lost 71-24.
They were hit by an 11-try display by the Hertfordshire club and, although scoring four fine tries of their own, went down to their heaviest defeat in this most disappointing season.
Fylde started off strongly and threatened the home defence as they pressed forward.
It was against the run of play when the home side took a seventh minute lead as a telegraphed pass was intercepted and Sam Winter cantered under the posts, George Cullen converting.
Fylde hit back two minutes later when a neat backs move resulted in Connor Wilkinson sprinting through the home defence to score out wide.
The breathless early cut and thrust continued when, in the 12th minute, Cullen made space to set Ryan Hutler free to score in the corner and make it 12-5.
Once again, Fylde stormed back and, in the 23rd minute, Tom Carleton finished off another fine move to touch down in the corner, converted by Greg Smith to level the scores.
However, the last 13 minutes of the half were dominated by Hutler, who demonstrated outstanding finishing to score three tries, all converted by Cullen to see the hosts 33-12 ahead at half-time.
As with the first half, Fylde began the second period on the attack.
Superb combination work between forwards and backs resulted in Carleton once again piercing the home defence to score on 46 minutes.
Within a few minutes, though, Hutler scored his fifth try, converted by Cullen, before Baxter Wilson forced his way over to give Bishop’s a 45-17 lead.
Fylde’s Nick Ashcroft was sinbinned in the 63rd minute, and three minutes later, Josh Linney scored with Cullen converting.
Wilson was next to see yellow and Fylde exploited their man advantage with Olli Parkinson driving over and Smith converting.
This was as good as it got for Fylde as the home side stepped up their efforts with Will Roberts driving over before two more converted tries came in the last two minutes of the game from Chris Smith and Nick Hankin.