Fylde RFC: An unknown legacy on rugby union

Fylde RFC
Fylde RFC contesting a lineout during a national league game with Wharfedale.

100 years later, Fylde RFC have become one of the more nationally respected clubs in England and one of the strongest clubs in the North West.

Despite the club’s success, Fylde has left a major if perhaps unknown success on the game in England. 

Whether it was producing one of England’s finest ever talents in Bill Beaumont, or their role which has seen Exeter Chiefs becoming a European and domestic powerhouse or simply being one of the flag bearers for the game in the North West the club has been there for it all. 

Few could imagine the success Fylde would achieve and even fewer could envisage the role the legacy they would have with the elite in Premiership Rugby. 

The most notable example is the Exeter Chiefs. 

The Chiefs, who on Saturday qualified for their first Champions Cup final have a long storied history with the men from the Woodlands. Exeter butted heads with them as recently as the 1996-97 season when both were competing for promotion in the old National League 3. 

Fylde RFC: its legacy and history among the current stars

The Lytham team then followed the Chiefs into the old Premiership 2, which was where they remained for two seasons before suffering relegation once more. 

The Claret & Gold are one of the most illustrious teams outside of the Premiership elite and two of their current players Elliot Horner and Tom Grimes say it is a huge honour to play for the club.

“I think it is a great honour to play at Fylde, such a prestigious club with its history and is known around the local area and around the country. I think we just want to push each other just as possible.” Elliot Horner said

Grimes acknowledges the history the club has and wants to do his bit to push the club into the future. 

“We have had a lot of top players, top coaches, top forwards. We had Brian Ashton a few years ago, we had Jason Robinson, Bill Beaumont, Grimes said.

There is so many big names that have come through the club and to be a part of it is an honour itself and hopefully we can do our bit to push the club higher.”

Developing the youth in the North West

As one of the few teams in the North West the club has access to a wide range of talent in the region. If the game is to thrive it is largely down to Fylde to develop that youth, especially when considering their status as a feeder team to the Premiership’s Sale Sharks.

A number of current Sharks players including Gus Warr, Tom Roebuck, Bevan Rodd, Joe Carpenter and Ewan Ashman enjoyed success at the Woodlands before earning a promotion to the senior team, Warr in particular has featured regularly in 2019-20 featuring 15 times. 

Sale’s confidence in the Fylde set up is clearly evident and the club also found their future and current captain Josh Beaumont, who is Bill’s son. 

Beaumont enjoyed a strong spell at the Woodlands before returning to the Sharks, later becoming a key cog in their side. Finding hidden gems in North West rugby is vital for not only Fylde, but to help the Sharks find success in the Gallagher Premiership.

The Sharks have entrusted highly promising youngster Matt Sturgess to the club, as such is the trust in the project at the Woodlands. Despite his tender age, Sturgess has already been a regular in the Sale Jets line-up, and has made replacement appearances in the Sharks European Challenge Cup, LV Cup and Premiership Rugby Cup tournaments. 

To acquire a player of that calibre is a coup for Fylde, and a testament to what they have achieved with youth in English rugby.

Fylde stars Horner & Grimes believe it is a perfect place to continue development

Fylde’s current batch of stars at the club are one of the youngest groups in the entire competition, but the club aren’t stopping there. They hope to find their next generation of stars and possibly next Beaumont in their half term camp of rugby.

Regardless of what the future holds the Claret & Gold, Grimes and Horner believe the club is the best place to continue their development. 

Yeah it is definitely a good place to continue development and I think it helps that we are such good mates and want to push each other.” Horner said

Fylde, who have been coached by current Sharks academy coach Warren Spragg since the 2017-18 season have placed an emphasis on finding and developing local talent, even if it results in a few minor setbacks short term.

Grimes believes that Spragg has made a huge impact on the young players in the squad and that it is already paying dividends.

“To have someone like Spraggy come in as well. Since he has taken over he has driven hard especially with our skills and has a high focus on our work rate. Grimes said

Spraggy always wants us to push each other. If we keep doing that we are just going to get better and better with such a young team we can only get better that way.”