Five tries sees Fylde home against strugglers

Win for five-try Fylde
Win for five-try Fylde

Fylde 35, Henley Hawks 21


Fylde won this match by five converetd tries to three and at the same time ensured that their struggling rivals continue to live on borrowed time in National League One.
The vital phase of this match came in a 16 minute period in the first half when Fylde rocked the visitors with three tries, which effectively decided the outcome.
Not that it broke the spirit of a gallant Henley side, who were boosted in midfield by scrum-half Connor Murphy, very much a player to note to the future and also on the books of Premiership club London Irish.
Fylde certainly did not have things their own way, but they had a match-winner in Oli Brennand, who claimed two tries and could have finished with double that tally had things worked out differently.
The home side boasted influential men of their own, not least Chris Johnson, who had a hand in most of Fylde's good work in a first half in which they scored four tries.
It was perhaps no coincidence that Fylde only scored one try in the second half, with Johnson removed after suffering a cut mouth.
Though the likes of Brennand and Johnson led the way, there were some fine back-up displays, not least by Alex Loney who put in some important hits and whose line-out throwing was exemplary.
Mark Goodman was another significant figure on a day when Fylde were without nine regulars for one reason or another.
Chris Briers showed tremendous appetite for the fray and was invariably in the thick of things.
Due credit must go to Henley, who didn't play like a doomed team and made their hosts work all the way and they certainly had plenty of territory, but Fylde were the more penetrative in attack.
Fylde made an early breakthrough after three minutes, player-coach Paul Arnold powering through for the touchline, following up an incisive break through the middle by Sam Beaumont, which did much of the damage.
Chris Johnson, playing at fly-half after Tom Morton cried off ill overnight, landed the conversion.
Henley hit back straightaway and in a very unequal contest in terms of size, Fylde scrum-half Greg Nicholls executed a try-saving tackle on prop Billy Moss.
Fylde spent the next phase of play defending their own line as they struggled for possession.
Sloppiness crept into Fylde's play as Henley drew level on 17 minutes.
Scrum-half Murphy slipped through two attempted tackles that failed miserably - the Henley half-back shifted the ball to forward David Clements, who had an easy, run-in score. It was converted by Murphy.
Straight from the kick-off the home side regained the advantage - Johnson intercepted an ambitious Henley pass and needed no invitation to stroll in for the try, which he himself goaled (14-7 to Fylde).
On 22 minutes, Johnson had a hand in Fylde's third score.
M Goodman made early inroads before the ball came to Johnson - he fired a cute grubber-kick that was eagerly gobbled up by winger Oli Brennad, who embarked on a 50-yard diagonal run that high-tailed him over the try-line. Johnson added the goal points (21-7)
Brennand nearly did it again, this time from far further out, but as he tried to side-step the opposing full-back, his pass inside to a colleague went astray.
Next up it was Arnold who went close, but Fylde were pulled up for interference as a fourth, bonus point seemed to beckon.
But that fourth try did arrive on 35 minutes - Johnson was again the instigator, sharply feeding skipper Briers, who raced in on the left flank. Johnson converted a try in which centre Ralph Dowds played a key part in the build-up (28-7).
In the second minute of stoppage time, Henley showed they were still a factor as they crossed for their second try.
The home defence bought Murphy's dummy near the line, and the pay-off was a try, which the lively Henley number nine converted (28-14 half-time)
Johnson, who sustained a cut to the mouth towards the end of the first half, did not re-appear for the second period - he was replaced by Anthony Bingham returning from injury, with Scott Rawlings operating in an unaccustomed fly-half role.
Bingham threatened to make a speedy impact with a dodging, weaving run as Fylde began the half on the front foot.
Seconds later, Fylde had scored a fifth - Brennand collected Briers ball - and in a flash the Fylde wing roared in for a try. Scott Rawlings, taking up the kicking duties, converted Brennand's try from in front of the sticks (35-14)
There followed a dust-up between players from both sides, which the referee had to break up.
Not to be daunted, Henley came back doggedly and Fylde found themselves under strong pressure and went down to 14 men for 10 minutes when Arnold was yellow-carded for offside - Fylde had been given a warning about this from the official seconds earlier.
Despite being a man light, Fylde came back with a highly effective rolling maul, which put them in an attacking position, but Henley held them at bay.
Dowds and Brennand combined to scythe down the right touchline, but they could not finish it off with a try - to cap it all, Brennand was penalised near the line as Henley had a narrow escape.
Brennand's then came agonisingly close to intercepting a Henley pass when he looked to have a clear run to the line.
Arnold did not come back after his time banished to the sin-bin was complete and replacement Gareth Rawlings brought them back to the full complement of 15.
Brennand tested Henley with another good run after Scott Rawlings turned defence into attack after intercepting Murphy's pass.
By the closing stages, Fylde had brought on Jonny Wild and Jamie Brookes as replacements for Danny Birchall and the excellent Goodman.
Henley came with a late flourish and on 75 minutes they moved the ball well along the line, the sweeping attack finished off by left-winger Simon Perry in the corner. Ben Palmer added the goal points.
Fylde: Briers; Jeffers, Dowds, S Rawlings, Brennand; Johnson, Nicholls, Birchall, Loney, Griffiths, Gray, Arnold, Goodman, Vernon, Beaumont. Replacements: Wild, Burtonwood, G Rawlings, Bingham, Brookes