Coventry 32 Fylde 5
Fylde head coach Mark Nelson believes only his side’s courage stopped a blow-out score as Coventry stormed to a resounding National One victory at the Butts Arena.
The Midlands club raced into a 17-0 lead in the first half-hour and continued to dominate through an inspired display by centre Clifford Hodgson, who racked up 17 points (a try and five goals) for a Coventry side Nelson rated the hardest they had faced all year.
A solitary Warren Spragg try on the stroke of half-time, making it 17-5 at the break, was all Fylde gained from their efforts, slipping down a place to seventh in the table.
But once the first half damage was done, Nelson insists the only way his men could take heart from the game was through sheer determination.
“The better team won,” he said. “Coventry were very committed and up for it, and we struggled to get anything going and had no go-forward.
“When we went from 14-0 behind to 17-0 it became very difficult to get back in the game against a very well-organised Coventry side, who are unbeaten at home.
“The positives were we didn’t give up and at the end we threatened a bit. We tried to be creative and we tried to play our game.
“But it was just one of those games where things didn’t come off and we got tackled behind the gain-line.
“We kept going and there were no signs we could have capitulated . For a lesser side that could easily have been a 60-pointer but we managed to keep battling until the end. I think in a rugby match guts and determination are as important as skill sometimes.”
Besides the character shown, Nelson was also encouraged by the performance of Ben Rath, who switched from his customary wing position to full-back.
Fylde have navigated their way through a season of up and downs so far.
And Nelson believes this is par for the course in a league that routinely produces surprise results.
“The league is such that it’s hard to get a string of wins together,” he added. “Coventry lost to Worthing last week and Worthing lost to Hull this week. It’s a topsy turvy league.
“I’d say Ben Rath played very well for us in the backs, Evan Stewart led by example and played with a broken hand for most of the game.
“I thought some of the younger players who came on did well. Everybody tried very hard and you can never criticise your team if they try their best.”
Coventry’s other scorers were Mark Kohler, Danny Hobbs-Awoyemi and Locker