Fylde v Kendal

Fylde v Kendal

Fylde fly-half Steve Nutt once again tests the Kendal defensive line. Picture by Simon Gardiner

Mike Waywell scores Fylde's dramatic last minute try. Picture by Simon Gardiner

First published in Fylde RUFC

A last minute try by replacement fullback Mike Waywell saved Fylde's embarrassment and forced a 24-all draw against Kendal at the Woodlands in an extraordinary and heart pounding last ten minutes.

This was hard on the Cumbrians who had dominated the game from the 25th minute when skipper Ian Voortman scored the first of their four tries and by the 72nd minute they had built up a 24-9 lead.

But their indiscipline ultimately was their undoing as they conceded numerous penalties to what was by then a desperate Fylde team who had themselves been reduced to 14 men by the sending off of prop Darren Clark on 60 minutes.

Fylde's biggest crowd of the season watched a dramatic and a predictably fierce physical confrontation unfold on a fine and sunny afternoon. From the start, Fylde took immediate control and launched attack after attack playing towards the Clubhouse end.

Inspired throughout by a fine performance from fly-half Steve Nutt, they put together some flowing moves with wingers Oliver Brennand and dubutant Jordan Davies being brought down near the try line by a hard pressed Kendal defence.

As Kendal repeatedly offended so Nutt took advantage with straightforward penalty kicks on three and eleven minutes for a 6-0 lead.

On the Cumbrians first attack on 11 minutes referee Dave Edmunds surprisingly yellow carded Fylde lock Nick King. Kendal fly-half Dan Stephens' awful penalty kick hardly got off the ground as the chance to reduce the deficit went begging.

Being down to 14 men hardly seemed to make much of a difference as Fylde continued to attack.

A re-run of the first few minutes saw another Kendal offence in the danger zone after 16 minutes and Nutt gladly kicked his third penalty for a 9-0 lead.

This all looked remarkably straight forward for the home side who were playing some good rugby.

But they should have remembered the typical fighting spirit of the Cumbrians and this was to haunt them for most of the rest of the match.

In fact, Fylde were to play the next 60 minutes of the game without scoring another point.

The turning point was on 25 minutes when Kendal skipper and Man of the Match Ian Voortman powered through some powder puff Fylde tackling and scored an excellent try which was converted by Stephens.

Worse was to follow for the home side on 30 minutes when Oli Brennand burst down the left touchline once more. 35m out from the Kendal line he threw a loose pass which was picked up by Voortman who raced down the touchline for a 65m opportunistic try.

Stephens' attempted conversion from wide out drifted wide but Kendal had the lead for the first time at 12-9.

Fylde suffered a further blow a minute before half-time as lock Nick King's disappointing afternoon came to an end as he dejectedly trooped off to hospital with a broken right arm, later diagnosed as a spiral fracture to the radius bone.

He was replaced by Grant Ferguson. Unusually, Kendal's players stayed out on the pitch at the interval, keeping warm with a series of drills. This seemed to pay off as they proceeded to dominate the third quarter completely.

The harder Fylde huffed and puffed, the more mistakes they made, spilling ball in contact frequently and losing turnover ball to the Cumbrians.

Kendal camped on the Fylde line for a period and their impressive lock Gareth Gore looked certain to score as he drove over the try line.

Somehow Fylde's small scrum-half Craig Aikman got under the ball and prevented a certain try. He picked up a cut eye for his trouble and required stitching.

Martin Wallwork moved to 9 and Mike Waywell came off the bench for what was to prove a fine cameo performance.

By this time Nutt was a stand out leader for Fylde as his mesmerising footwork constantly threatened the Kendal defence.

Referee Dave Edmunds was almost as notable for his dramatic suntan as his officiating during the game. But he was very tolerant of an increasing number of doubtful challenges and off the ball incidents.

On 60 minutes Fylde prop Darren Clark took the law into his own hands and was shown a straight red card for retribution on his opposite number Richard Harryman.

Kendal took due advantage. On 68 minutes a lovely chip over the Fylde defence saw Kiwi winger Zane Butler win the race for the touchdown in a well worked move.

Following a couple of kicks that had struck the posts and fallen away, this time Stephens got it right and a good kick from wide out bounced off the post to extend Kendal's lead to 19-7.

With 14-man Fylde in disarray, a misplaced box kick from Aikman on 72 minutes sailed into midfield to set up a Kendal counter attack.

The ball eventually reached winger Lewis Boyd who reproduced the superb pace that had seen him score so many tries in Fylde's 2nd team colours last season on this same turf and he raced clear for an excellent and surely match winning try.

His smile could have powered the National Grid! Stephens' missed conversion hardly seemed to matter as Kendal had a 24-9 lead against their hapless opponents. It looked like a rout for the Cumbrians.

But the final dramatic chapter of this match had still to be played out.

Fylde somehow managed to raise their game and were assisted by the injection of energy off the bench as replacement hooker Alan Holmes entered the fray against his old club - and facing his brother Gary, Kendal's openside flanker.

Fylde threw everything into attack and on 76 minutes launched an attack down their right.

Centre Richard Kenyon found Holmes lurking on the touchline 20m out and he picked a good line but was held up.

He flipped the ball to Oli Brennand who sprinted in from 10m for a smart try, his eighth of the season. Nutt's kick sailed over and Fylde were 16-24 down.

Fylde poured forward and Kendal infringed once more just to the right of their posts in the last minute of injury time.

At this stage Fylde seemed to have settled for a losing bonus point.

Nutt's penalty was his least convincing of the day but somehow struggled over the bar to take the score to 19-24.

Suddenly Fylde's players saw the chance of something better and threw everything into attack. Kendal once more killed the ball and referee Edmunds at last resorted to a yellow card for a visiting player, this time fly-half Dan Stephens.

The home side took a tap penalty, drove on for a couple of phases before launching what would be their final attack, moving right along their backline.

The ball reached winger Jordan Davies and hero Boyd turned villain as he missed the tackle on the young England Academy player.

As Davies fell he popped up a lovely pass to the supporting Waywell who scored with ease.

The home crowd's jubilation was tempered by relief as their side had really played their 'get out of gaol' card at the death.

Nutt had the touchline kick to win the game for Fylde but, somehow fittingly, his kick drifted wide.

Defeat for Kendal would have been rough justice indeed.

Given that Fylde had been down to 14 men after 60 minutes and that they had lost four of their backline leading up to the game - Albinson, Hunter, Royle & Waywell - and two further players injured during the game - King & Ferguson - then they did well to recover and claim two points for the draw.

The mounting injury list at the Woodlands is of great concern to everyone connected to the club.

With a trip to leaders Caldy coming up on Saturday, then Director of Rugby Mark Nelson will have to consolidate his playing resources if he is to inspire this weakened squad to an unexpected win at Paton Field. 15 Martin Wallwork (Mike Waywell 49); 14 Jordan Davies, 13 Richard Kenyon, 12 David Wiseman, 11 Oliver Brennand; 10 Steve Nutt, 9 Craig Aikman; 1 Sam Simpson, 2 Chris Tyms (Alan Holmes 52), 3 Darren Clark, 4 Nick King (Grant Ferguson 39, Stephenson 79), 5 Roger Banks(c), 6 Dan Bowman, 7 Dan Palmer (Andrew Irving 62), 8 Sam Beaumont.

15 Chris Park; 14 Zane Butler, 13 Matt Gracie, 12 Ian Voortman(c), 11 Lewis Boyd; 10 Dan Stephens, 9 James Gough; 1 Billy Coxon, 2 Duncan Green, 3 Richard Harryman (Allen Martindale 66), 4 Liam Hayton, 5 Gareth Gore, 6 Rob Quarry, 7 Garry Holmes, 8 Craig Wilson. Non-playing replacements: Ian Ross, Joel Howse, Luke Ladell, Dan Murray.

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