Steve Simpson

Oliver Brennand
Oliver Brennand
Share this article

It is a landmark occasion for two Fylde RFC players as the Woodlands Memorial Ground prepares to welcome Ampthill & District tomorrow afternoon in National League One.

While prolific try-scorer Oli Brennand chalks up his 250th appearance for the club, at the opposite end of the experience scale Connor Wilkinson is poised to make his debut from the replacements’ bench.

Wilkinson, who can play centre or fly-half, is a product of Kirkham Grammar School and a member of the Lancashire Under-20 squad, and he could well get some game-time in tomorrow’s 3pm kick-off.

Player-coach Paul Arnold said of Wilkinson: “It is a good time to see what he is all about. He looks good in training.

“There will be a bit of experimenting between now and the end of the season.”

By contrast to Wilkinson, Brennand has been a fixture at Fylde for many seasons, scoring 220 touchdowns in National League and cup matches, a formidable try-to-game ratio since making his senior debut in the 2004/5 campaign.

Arnold said of the 30-year-old speed merchant: “Oli is an extraordinary talent and a role model for any aspiring young back. “His strike record speaks for itself and it is quite exceptional. If anything, he has got better as a player.”

Prolific goal-kicker Chris Johnson is an absentee from the Fylde line-up for the Bedfordshire club’s first visit to the Woodlands.

He is due in action tonight at Galashiels for England Counties against a Scottish Club XV.

In his absence, Tom Morton takes over at fly-half, having signed on a dual registration from Sale Sharks.

Scott Rawlings returns to the starting line-up, replacing Ralph Dowds, who moves to the bench.

Arnold said: “Scott has a bit of a point to prove. He is trying to show me that he is worthy of starting and getting his shirt back.”

Rawlings’ brother Gareth is absent from the second row tomorrow with sore ribs.

Player-coach Arnold said: “Gaz tells me his ribs are still sore. He would like to play but I’d rather rest him and make sure he can finish the season.”

That means Sam Beaumont comes into the Fylde side to lock the scrum with Nick Gray.

There is no place yet for Tim Jeffers, , like Morton a dual registration signing from Sale.

The Aviva Premiership club don’t want him to play for Fylde tomorrow because he is due to take part in a Sale Jets match on Monday.

Tomorrow’s match is a re-arranged fixture because the Woodlands pitch was waterlogged on the original December date. It is one of only three fixtures in National One tomorrow.

Fylde: Dorrington; Brennand, S Rawlings, Briers, Spragg; Morton, Nicholls; Birchall, Mills, Lewis, Beaumont, Gray, Goodman, Vernon, Fairbrother. Replacements: Griffiths, Burtonwood, Robinson, Dowds, Wilkinson. Kick-off 3pm.