Fleetwood RU 77 Furness 7
IT was party time at Melbourne Avenue, as the North Lancashire and Cumbria champions ended their season in style.
Having sealed the title with victory over Kirkby Lonsdale seven days earlier, Fleetwood were able to relax and enjoy the occasion.
Despite injuries to Lee Storton (back), Dale Thompson (back) and Craig Aikman (broken jaw), and the unavailability of Ben Corless and James Lilley, Fleetwood showed the strength which will be important next season in North One West.
The writing was on the wall from the kick-off, when Furness immediately lost possession and Fleetwood put together eight phases of play before player-coach Roger Bank scored under the posts. Ryan Riches added the extras.
Furness enjoyed a period of possession and pressure, but Fleet defended well and hit back as Lee Jones dummied over. Furness continued to defend well, but Fleetwood’s patience was rewarded when Dave Hart scored from a line-out drive.
Bobby Jones lost the ball with the line in sight, but the scoring soon resumed when centre Tom Wilson put Hart in for his second try.
From a quick tap penalty, Tom Evans supported well for a close-range try. Riches converted all five first-half tries to make it 35-0 at half-time.
A much-disputed penalty try started the second half scoring for Fleetwood, and a trademark try by flying Kris Phillips followed.
A deserved Danny Maher try brought up the half-century for Fleetwood, and a superb team move ended with replacement winger Steve Dawson touching down. Craig Cowley was forced off with a shoulder injury, though the scoring continued as the excellent Wilson finished after good work by both wingers, Bobby Jones and Phillips.
Wilson unselfishly put Bobby Jones in for the final Fleetwood try, Riches completing a 100 per cent afternoon with the boot by landing his 11th conversion. Furness, to their credit, refused to give up and were rewarded with the final try through full-back Ethan Davies.
But it couldn’t take the shine off a magnificent season for Banks’ green and golds, who will relish the challenge of North One West next season.