Otley 3 Fylde RFC 14: Fylde keep Otley out to end season with pleasing win
Fylde ground a win in West Yorkshire to end the season, consolidating sixth place in National Two North and halting a four-match losing run.
Otley too had lost their previous four and this was a rather dour and turgid match, with only brief flashes of excitement as Fylde completed a double over the team they had beaten at the Woodlands on the opening day.
Fylde had the early pressure in the driving rain as outstanding prop Bevan Rodd powered over for the opening try after good work by skipper Adam Lewis and Tom Carleton.
Greg Smith converted into the squally wind from wide out and Fylde were seven points to the good after 10 minutes.
Otley scored their only points four minutes later, when Alex Loney was adjudged to have been off his feet when playing the ball in the tackle and fly-half Ben Smith landed a 40-metre penalty.
The hosts seemed content to use the boot in the poor conditions but finally pressed just before half-time, when Carleton’s clearance kick was charged down but Henry Hadfield tidied up manfully as it remained 7-3 at the interval.
Lex Botha replaced Hadfield on the wing for a second half which saw periods of sunshine and less of the wet stuff.
Conor Wilkinson claimed the final touch and a try after kicking through but had to settle for a five-metre scrum, from which Tom Grimes was held up.
Despite the improvement in the weather both sides were struggling for fluency, with too many scrum penalties and possession lost in the tackle.
Carleton made another good break but lost the ball, then Otley centre Joshua Hall’s fine break ended with an interception by Wilkinson.
Fylde lost Chris Briers to the sinbin, though the centre’s high tackle appeared unlucky, and Ben O’Ryan’s fresh legs replaced Ben Gregory, who had put in a fine performance out of position at wing forward.
Otley sensed it was now or never from a scrum on the Fylde 22, but the visiting pack produced a great steal against the head and Wilkinson kicked deep for Carleton to outpace the defence, toe the ball over the line and dive on it to score.
Smith added the goal to complete the scoring and Fylde’s mean defence saw them through the rest of the game, displaying the desire to play for each which has been evident pretty much all season.
Special mention should go to Carleton, Gregory and Wilkinson who have featured in all 30 league games.
Spragg said: “I was really pleased to finish the season with an away win. We’ve had a difficult few weeks and the lads showed a lot of maturity.
“Not many teams will have stopped the opposition from scoring a try in the last game of the season and I was really happy with our defence all game.”
The season at the Woodlands is not quite over. Lancashire will face Yorkshire there in their final Bill Beaumont Senior Men's Championship group game on May 18, as the Red Rose teams seek to contest the final of the county competition at Twickenham for a 10th time in 11 seasons.
Fylde: Carleton, Hadfield, Briers, Wilkinson, Grimes, Smith, Crampton; Rodd, Loney, Lewis, Garrod, Ashcroft, Gregory, Dugdale, Conner; replacements: Botha, Forster, Horner, O’Ryan, Parkinson