Lancashire set up a “winner takes all” clash in Cheshire next Saturday when they made it two wins out of two in the northern section of the Bill Beaumont County Championship with a 26-15 over Yorkshire at Fylde.
Lancashire took the game to the Tykes from the kick-off with Fylde flanker Steve McGinnis causing panic in the visitors’ ranks when he charged down an early clearance kick. And sure enough, the Red Rose side took the lead after nine minutes when lock Louis McGowan was driven over from a line-out, fly-half Alex Davies converting.
But winger Curtis Wilson gave the home fans a warning when his kick ahead was just too strong after a break by scrum-half Craig Hampson. Wilson made no mistake though on 20 minutes when centre Kyle Dench put him away and this time his kick was perfectly weighted for an unconverted try.
Lancashire piled on the pressure and prop Dan Birchall dived over from close range, but Davies could not convert.
Back came Yorkshire – and Wilson – with his second try after another Hampson break and good support from Dench and prop Jimmy Browne.
Fly-half Tom Barratt was having a bad day with his kicking, missing his second conversion and then a mid-range penalty.
A similar miss by Davies left it 12-10 to the holders at the end of a fairly uninspiring first half.
After the break, Lancashire claimed further tries from Fylde lock Paul Arnold and Alex Loney.
Davies converted both for a comfortable 26-10 lead, before it became “backs to the wall” for a spell as the Red Rose had to survive a strong and lengthy Yorkist siege.
They kept the visitors at bay until skipper and No 8 Rob Baldwin forced his way over from near the line for yet another unconverted touchdown.
Of the other Fylde players, Oliver Brennand, Peter Altham and Sam Beaumont all made useful contributions, with clubmate Grant Ferguson getting on for the last quarter too.
Scrum-half duties were shared between Fylde’s Steve Collins and Vale of Lune’s Jimmy Moore and both operated effectively to keep their side going forward.
Preston Grasshoppers’ Tom Hughes won praise from Nelson for his performance out of position on the wing.
Lancashire now head to Macclesfield to play a Cheshire side which has also won two out of two after disposing of Warwickshire 36-15.
“It’s effectively a semi-final,” said coach Mark Nelson, with the winners going on to Twickenham for the final against the victors in the southern group.
l Kendal ended their National League Two North season with a 14-35 defeat at Huddersfield to remain in 10th place.