The Vandals start 2017 with a bang!
Fylde Vandals welcomed Colne and Nelson 2s to the Woodlands on Saturday and it was on a pretty murky and misty afternoon, more akin to the weather the visitors are used to playing in up’t valley, that the two teams took to the pitch to kick off the second half of the season.
The Vandals forwards were heavily involved in the early exchanges and it wasn’t too long before this pressure enabled Stuart Livesey to cut an excellent line, just like his days in the centre and dot down near the posts. The easy kick was missed! There was a rustiness to some of the play in the first half but at times there was some good attacking rugby played by the Vandals which needed some pretty dogged defending from C and N to keep the home teams scoring to a minimum but the Vandals soon found themselves with a lineout only 5 metres out from the defensive line.
Unfortunately though the Wrong Hodgkins had got some mud in his eye and had to be replaced by the old warhorse that is Adey Grey and yes you’ve guessed it the ball found its way to the old’un and over he went for a try after being on the pitch for about 5 seconds. The slightly harder kick was missed!
Richard Todd, having a storming season from prop, was the next beneficiary of the pressure being piled on C and N, being driven over in the good old fashioned Vandals way. The kicker was replaced by Jack Jones who unfortunately couldn’t add the extras and at halftime it was 15-0 to the Fylde boys.
C and N had some fairly direct runners and a couple of pacy backs but the Vandals defence was up to the task as it usually is however there was still a tendency to give needless penalties away and unless this is rectified it will cost more in the sterner tests still to come later in season down Orrell and Aspull way.
Early on in the second half Cecil Holland and Alex Grey replaced Ian Pearson and Tom Benstead respectively. Jack Jones had a fine game from full back and latterly from 10 after Andrew Murray pulled a fetlock and there was a quick shuffle in the backs. He managed to bag the next Vandals score and also slotted the wide conversion too. As the mizzle got a little more like drizzle the Vandals forwards worked hard for more territory and Jon Whitby who also had a strong game was soon adding the next five pointer to the scoreline. The conversion was successful
C and N deserved something from the game and they were rewarded with a try in the last quarter after some determined play from the backs but the last say in the game was from Gary Andrews. Never mind the Carlisle Cannonball he was more like an misfiring Exocet missile as he stepped one way and another before heading for the corner and diving over for the score…nice! The kick was missed but the game finished with the score 34-5 to the Vandals and they pro-longed their stay at the top of the league for another week.
Thanks very much to Colne and Nelson for a tough game. I hope they manage to keep putting out a full side and finish the season strongly..all the best to them for that. Thanks to those who wore the Fylde shirt and to the hardy spectators who had nothing better to do on a Saturday afternoon.
Next Saturday Thornton/Cleveleys 3s make the very short trip to Fylde and with the EPD swanning around across the pond next week it’s ex-first teamer Patrick Townsend who will be pulling the strings from the sideline. See you all for that.
The team was – Stuart Livesey, Chris Cardwell, Richard Todd, The Wrong Hodgkins, Mike Hewitson, Jon Whitby, Tom Benstead, Ben James, Andrew Murray, Phil Swindells, Ian Pearson, Gary Andrews, Pete Acton (c), Sean Townsend, Jack Jones, Adey Grey, Alex Grey, Cecil Holland
EPD – Sean Townsend
Report – Phil Swindells