A game of two halves!
Before the kick off Fleet knew they were in for a tough game
The visitors from Bolton had won the previous encounter and were sitting second in the league.
The first ten minutes was backs to the wall stuff as Bolton created lots of pressure with the Green and Golds unable to break out of their own half. Wave after wave of attack was repelled with a huge defensive effort. Finally, the forwards managed to break forward and find some territory, scrum half Howe was linking well with fly half Seymour who in turn was providing ball to centres Woodhouse and Maddern. After several phases it was Seymour who fed No. 8 Tomlinson to crash over and score the try, 5-0. Fleet by now had settled and were crafting some decent phases of play, winger Harland was showing his pace with some great breaks with ball in hand. Not to be outdone the burly figure of second row Bedford produced a great drive forward. At this stage Fleet were dominating the set pieces with Tomlinson stealing many an opposition line out. The next try was a cheeky one from Howe, he saw the gap in defence and scampered over to make it 10-0. Although on top, discipline was costing Fleet, in particular the number of high tackles was too much for the referee. Bolton were not going to be beaten easily so it came as no surprise when they hit back with a try themselves to make it 10-5. Again, Fleet found territory in the opposition half with Seymour providing Maddern with a chance, he rounded the defenders before straightening up and smashing over to score making it 15-5 at half time.
Whatever Bolton had to drink during the break certainly made a difference, they came flying out of the blocks and literally blew their hosts away. Two tries in two minutes and a red card for hooker Shuttleworth had the score line at 17-15, and down to14 men. Moments later the home side were reduced to 13 men when Holden saw yellow for yet another high tackle, during this period Bolton increased their lead to make it 24-15. However, a degree of composure from the backs saw a brilliant move whereby from just inside the Bolton half the ball spun from Howe eventually provided Maddern with a great burst of speed to power over and score, Jackson adding the extras to make it 24-22. If Fleet thought they were back in the game they certainly had to think again- despite lots of effort and endeavour from the men in Green and Gold Bolton grabbed a further three tries, making a final score of 38-22.
Overall, this was not a great day at the office for Fleet, a lack of discipline was the main cause for defeat coupled with too many missed tackles. However, some good performances were noted, from a forward perspective Holden carried the ball well and the returning Tomlinson was busy around the tackle. Out of the backs Harland showed plenty of pace and was busy, Seymour showed flashes of his known talent. Without question the man of the match was outside centre Maddern, who worked hard in defence and was always a menace in attack.
Next week is the final home game of the season when West Park visit Melbourne Avenue.
Report by Dan Jefferson