Fleet slightly rusty but still shipshape

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Fleetwood RU 22, Blackburn 10

SIGNS of rustiness prevented a more convincing scoreline, but Fleetwood continue to sit pretty at the top of the North Lancs and Cumbria League after this 15th win in 16 games.

After a dour start, Fleetwood broke the deadlock after 20 minutes, with a 25-metre drove to the try-line from a lineout, Roger Banks claiming the touchdown. Ryan Riches added the conversion.

Blackburn came back strongly and strong defence was required from the home side.

They turned this into attack as Riches chipped through for the impressive Bobby Jones to chase. The winger was held back by his opposite number, who was duly sin-binned. From the resulting penalty, Craig Aikman was held up over the line when he appeared to have grounded the ball.

Fleet continued to dominate possession, winning a Blackburn line-out from Dale Thompson pounced for a well-deserved birthday try. Then good work in the pack resulted in the ball being fed out for Tom Evans to cut through the defence and make it 17-0 at half-time.

Ben Corless had a fine game in the front row, along with debutant James Lilly at hooker. Dave Hart threatened with ball in hand and open-side flanker Danny Maher was always at the heart of the action.

The second half also started slowly but more Fleetwood pressure allowed player-coach Banks to find space in the centre to crash over for his second try.

Some changes disrupted Fleet’s rhythm slightly and Blackburn scored a well-deserved try with 15 minutes left.

Fleetwood’s wingers Phillips and Jones always looked dangerous with ball in hand and were well supported by full-back Craig Cowley.

The game was over as a contest and Blackburn scored a second try.

The man of the match award went to prop Nick Smith.