JASON Robinson’s Fylde proved too strong for Harrogate on Saturday, prevailing 35-12 in the National Two North contest.
The Fylde backs mounted a sparkling attack from the start and Brennand seemed certain to score after splitting the Harrogate defence with a dazzling run. A knock-on near the goal line saved Harrogate but the pressure continued and a drop goal from stand-off, Richard Kenyon, gave Fylde an early lead.
Not to be outdone, Harrogate came straight back at them and forwards and backs linked well to test the home defence. Flanker Alex Rieder, drove strongly for the line but a try was denied when his foot fractionally brushed the touchline.
Dan Harland then won good line-out ball and a backs miss move led to Sam Bottomley carving an opening from which Jamie Broadley showed speed and strength to score in the corner.
James Rothwell kicked an excellent conversion to put Harrogate ahead.
Both sides continued to test each others’ defences although Harrogate certainly had to do most of the tackling.
Fylde’s next score came from their powerful second row Nick King, who burst through the middle from a short penalty. Mike Waywell then made a midfield opening for Fylde and his fellow centre, Stephen Briers, backed up to score. In the final move of the half, Robinson created an overlap for Royle giving him just enough room to beat the defence.
The second half opened with Harrogate attacks stretching the home defence. Kyle Dench burst through the middle, gathered his own clever chip kick and slipped the ball to Rothwell whose well angled run took him over the goal line.
More Harrogate attacks followed but a promising move was halted by a puzzling forward pass decision. From the ensuing scrum, quick Fylde passing gave the ball to Royle who kicked ahead and had enough pace to win the race for the touchdown.
Harrogate continued to take the game to Fylde and another attack was set up by Harland stealing line-out ball. Ed Smithies created space and kicked ahead but a Fylde defender just got to the ball in time to kick it desperately over the dead ball line.
A Kenyon penalty extended Fylde’s lead after a Harrogate “holding on” offence and, shortly afterwards,
Harrogate’s tireless Tim Heaton was unluckily sin binned for supposedly handling in a ruck. Royle scored the game’s final try by gathering a fortunate ricocheted kick ahead and crashing over the line.