OAs beaten in season finale

Rayner kicks for goal

Rayner kicks for goal - Credit: Archant

This match was a tribute to the type of running rugby that both sides elect to play and in the fast and furious encounter Fylde proved themselves to be just a little more adept at the offloading game, writes Brian Quinn.

This was a pulsating contest from start to finish starting off with a try by Fylde lock Paul Arnold who drove over from the scrum conceded by the visitors immediately after the kickoff. Chris Johnson converted.

Albanians recovered their composure and patiently forced their way into Fylde territory where Lawrence Rayner notched a penalty. Then Ross Hamilton charged over by the posts and Rayner added the extras.

Lively Winger Warren Spragg began what turned out to be a hat-trick of tries after a quarter of an hour speeding into the right corner and Johnson’s fine conversion gave his side a lead they were not to lose.

The second quarter was a disaster for Albanians who lost their skipper Billy Johnson to the sin-bin after a deliberate knock-on. Evan Stewart, Spragg again and Chris Briers all crossed the line with Johnson converting the first two giving Fylde a 33-10 interval advantage.

England winger Nathan Earle took a hand in proceedings after the restart with two fine individual efforts and though Rayner couldn’t convert either he was successful with a penalty eleven minutes into the half leaving A’s just ten points adrift.

Then Maro Itoje fell foul of the referee and was sent to the bin and in his absence Fylde scored twice more through Spragg and scrum half Ryan De La Harpe, neither of which was converted.

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Then with ten minutes left Stephen Briers scored the most popular try of the afternoon in his final match before retirement. Johnson’s conversion brought up the half century for Fylde and Itoje strolled through the home defence on his return to the fray. Rayner’s conversion brought an enjoyable match to a close.

Albanians finish the season in ninth place in the League Table and will reflect on a mixed set of results. Probably the high spots were the Home wins against Esher and Coventry and an amazing comeback at Blaydon all of which have shown Billy Johnson’s men just what they can achieve.

Final score: Fylde 50 Old Albanian 30