Vintage Vine

Pictures Martin Bostock'Fylde RU v Stourbridge.'Oliver Viney scores a try for Fylde.
Pictures Martin Bostock'Fylde RU v Stourbridge.'Oliver Viney scores a try for Fylde.
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NEW Fylde RU signing Olly Viney insists the club must continue to aim high in the second half of the season and maintain their promotion push in National League One.

Ahead of tomorrow’s visit to Sedgley Park, Fylde lie in third spot, only three points adrift of leaders Rosslyn Park.

There is a solitary promotion place up for grabs, which goes to the champions, and Viney said: “The feeling among the lads is that we want to go up.

“We’re not here to lose. We’re here to enjoy it, but to win as well and I think that if we can keep injury-free and keep going there is nothing to stop us.

“The end of the season is pretty tough, when we play teams around us, but if we can still be in the mix anything can happen.”

Now 28, Viney joined Fylde last month after a four-year stint Down Under, playing for Wanneroo in Western Australia.

He had previously played club rugby with Preston Grasshoppers, Orrell and Sale Sharks, earning representative honours with England Counties and the Barbarians.

When the chance arose to leave these shores to live and play in Australia, Viney felt it was an opportunity he couldn’t turn down. He explained: “I always wanted to travel before we started a family, so the opportunity came around and my wife and I jumped at it.”

Viney found it rewarding, broadening his rugby experience as well as picking more than a touch of Aussie twang!

He added: “I am trying to get rid of the accent. I don’t like to sound like an Aussie, but if you are surrounded by them for four years you are going to pick up a few words here and there.

“I knew back in September that I was coming back to England because my wife Louise is due to give birth next month.

“Mark Nelson (Fylde coach) got back in touch a few weeks before we came back. We started talking and he told me a bit about what was happening at Fylde.

“When we arrived in England, I met up with ‘Nelly’ again and it just went from there.

“I had a few offers but we were always going to stay local and I wanted to play at as high a level as I could.”

Viney’s settling-in process was straightforward as he knew several of his new team-mates already, though he says he is yet to work his way up to full fitness.

He added: “I know Nelly quite well and pretty much all of the lads I’ve played with at Lancashire or at schoolboy level.

“They have been around Lancashire for ten years, so it’s not as though I am coming to a club with a bunch of strangers.”

Viney scored a try in last weekend’s home win over Stourbridge but took a few knocks in the process.

He said: “I’m not really surprised at how well Fylde are doing if you look at the calibre of the players they’ve got down, and at the coaching staff and set-up.

“We’ve got a good mix of local lads and guys who have been around Lancashire.”

Joining Fylde in mid-season has had its teething problems for Viney, but they are handicaps that can be overcome.

“My last game in Australia was at the end of August, so that was over three months without a game before my Fylde debut.

“I am trying to do a bit of extra (training) to get my match fitness. “A couple more matches and I should be up to speed – it’s around 80 to 90 per cent at the moment.”

Viney is a versatile performer, which will be useful for Fylde, and he says he is prepared to fit in where required.

“I can play full-back or wing. I even played a bit at No.10 in Australia but I’m just happy to be out there and getting a run.”

n OLIVER Viney has to be content with a place on the bench tomorrow at Sedgley Park (2.30pm kick-off), where the stage is set for Fylde wingers Nick Royle and Oliver Brennand to return.

Callum McShane keeps his place at scrum-half, with coach Mark Nelson stressing he operates a rotation policy.

He says he is in a happy position of having two other high-quality No.9s in Steve Depledge and Martin Wallwork.

The sides met at the Woodlands in September, when Fylde gave one of their best displays of the season to win 43-10. Nelson insists their rivals will be keen to put the record straight.

Fylde: C Briers; Royle, S Briers, Waywell, Brennand; Kenyon, McShane; Griffiths, Roddam, Lavelle, Arnold, Rawlings, J Beaumont, Stewart, S Beaumont. Replacements: Livesey, Loney/Altham, Stephenson, Depledge, Viney.