Fylde 29 Bishop's Stortford First XV 22
A disappointing first visit by Stortford to the dark side of the Pennines!
Stortford fail to take early chances and are made to pay the price for a generally lacklustre performance against an effective and determined Fylde side, battling desperately to try and move off the bottom of the table. The visitors did produce some good individual performances – notably by the two Dans, Leo and Elsom, but, after the first 10 minutes, struggled to get a hold on the game. Fylde in contrast, outweighed at the scrum made the most of the possession they won and scored three good, opportunist tries before the break. All Stortford could muster in reply was a penalty try from a 5 metre scrum just before the break.
The visitors came out more positively in the second half and finally managed to break through the strong tackling of the Fylde backs for Chris Smith to score out wide. George Cullen’s excellent conversion brought added momentum, which led eventually to a try for Steve Ball from one of a number of driving mauls, previously very well defended by the home side. This time Cullen’s attempt to add the two extra points flew wide, leaving the scores tied at 22-22. A lesser side than Fylde might have folded after losing a 15 point lead in this way, but they proved to be made of sterner stuff. They flew back onto the attack and, with time running out, finally showed the penetration up the middle that had eluded Stortford all day to touch down by the posts for a deserved win. Enough time was left for the visitors to mount a final attack but, despite a good break by Matt Riddington, they were unable once again to produce the necessary guile and patience to finish off the move.