Match report: Rosslyn Park 31 Fylde 15
Fylde suffered their eighth defeat of the season away from the Woodlands when they went down 31-15 to Rosslyn Park at the Rock.
This isn’t Fylde’s favourite ground as they have lost their last five National One matches there.
However, they put in a gritty performance and were in touch as they trailed 17-7 at half-time – but conceded two second-half tries which assured the home side of victory.
Fylde received noisy, encouraging support from a group of former first team players who made their annual trip to London for the game.
Once again, though, Fylde found themselves behind early in the game.
In the ninth minute, Park’s winger Benjie Marfo sneaked into the corner after a quick tap from just inside Fylde’s 22 but Harry Leonard’s attempted conversion drifted wide.
Fylde eased their way into the match as they fought hard for territory and possession.
However, they conceded a penalty in the 20th minute and Leonard kicked for the corner.
Concerted forward pressure from the home side led eventually to flanker Arthur Ellis forcing his way over to claim the try with Leonard adding the extras to give his team a 12-0 advantage.
Fylde came back strongly from the restart as it was their turn to pressurise the Park line.
From a lineout five metres out, number eight David Fairbrother drove over for the try which Greg Smith converted well to reduce the deficit to 12-7.
In the 30th minute a case of handbags in midfield led to a Fylde penalty.
Smith went for goal but was unable to narrow the scores further.
As so often, Fylde were again vulnerable as the half-time whistle approached.
Park earned a penalty, kicked for touch and, from the ensuing driving maul, tight-head prop Nick Lovell forced his way over the line.
The gloomy, damp conditions made goal kicking rather difficult, even on the artificial pitch.
Leonard missed the conversion but Park had a useful 17-7 lead at the break.
Fylde hit back early in the second half when they earned a penalty in front of the posts and Smith reduced the deficit to within a converted try difference at 17-10.
As both sides struggled for dominance, it seemed as though the next score might be crucial and it was Rosslyn Park who claimed it.
Park camped inside the Fylde 22 and, in the 56th minute, fly-half Oli Grove powered over for a smartly-taken bonus point try.
Leonard kicked the conversion and Park began to stretch away at 24-10 up.
Fewer than 10 minutes later and they added to their lead when replacement hooker Owen Hughes was at the back of another driving maul to get the touchdown.
Leonard kicked another conversion for a 31-10 lead.
But Fylde were not finished and showed the guts, even in adversity, that they have displayed throughout the season.
Park’s replacement prop Stewart Maguire was adjudged to have made a high tackle in the 70th minute and was sinbinned for his trouble.
Fylde attacked immediately and winger Tom Carleton raced away past a startled Park defence to score one of his typical tries out wide.
Smith’s attempted conversion drifted wide but the deficit had been reduced to 16 points at 31-15.
Park attacked once more in the final 10 minutes but an obdurate Fylde defence kept them out as the final whistle was blown.