Pace profits from solid forwards work
By joshua stratton
This was another hugely positive performance from the Nomads and showed the importance of being able to field a large squad. Although the backs ran in the points and showed great handling as well as pace the forward effort should not be forgotten as their
A cold but bright afternoon provided the backdrop for a strong Nomads squad to face Newent for the first time this season. The pitch had thawed and was in remarkably good condition for the time of year. Nomads had the luxury of 22 players and were also boosted by the return to the club of Kurtis Herbert.
Cory Baker, this week at Full Back, kicked off and an excellent chase from Carl Ranscombe on the wing and Sam Davies forced an early error. Mark Samak was able to secure loose ball at set up a number of close quarter pick and goes and wider forward drives. Aussie Bob Reid and Mark Phillips were at the forefront of the wider work with Reid in particular carrying strongly and regularly breaking the gain line. Jordan Phipps looked dangerous around the fringes a was also providing swift service to Marsh to allow him to release Jamie Leworthy and Herbert in the centres, who both made good ground with direct lines of running. The defence from Newent however was strong and Nomads could not find a way through in the first 10 minutes.
The scrummage was as solid as ever with the front row of Lee Marshall, Davies and Tommy Allen provided a solid base – Nomads own ball was totally secure and Newent ball was disrupted on a number of occasions. Newent had their share of possession in the opening quarter but solid defence often forced errors and allowed Phillips and Samak to regularly scavenge loose ball on the ground. The lineout is a work in progress at the moment for the Nomads but Adam Clark and Ryan Kibble won their share of ball from Marshall’s throwing. Unfortunately, Kibble had to leave the field due to injury and was replaced by James Bashford.
Short range drives again provided the initial impetus for the first score with carries from Bashford and Samak making yards before Phipps again found Reid hitting a great line. Great clear out work from Davies and Phillips provided quick ball for Phipps to feed Marsh who in turn found Herbert cutting a great line. Breaking through, Herbert was able to find Marsh back on the inside to run in from 25m. Herbert converted to give Nomads a well-deserved lead. 7-0
From the restart, a secure take from Bashford and offload to Reid instantly set up another Nomads attack. Another strong Leworthy carry took play into opposition territory and allowed Phipps to once again spread play wide. Marsh found Herbert, who once again showed pace and power to break the defensive line before scrambling defence brought him down. Just as another score seemed imminent, Nomads were penalised at the breakdown allowing Newent to clear their lines. Newent won the line out and drove up field. Their scrum half switched play and they appeared to have an overlap on the blindside but excellent pressure from Samak and Ranscombe forced a loose pass that Ranscombe was able to pocket and race in under the posts from the half way line - Herbert Converted 14-0.
An error at the kick off and a Newent penalty gave them their first foray into the Nomads 22. The initial drive from the lineout was repelled although Nomads were penalised for encroaching around the edges of the ruck. A quick tap was taken by the Newent Number 8 but a solid double tackle from Samak and Reid kept him out although they were adjudged not to have retired 10m. Newent
this time opted for the scrum. A crash ball was well defended by Leworthy and Herbert and allowed Phillips to produce a great turn over, which enabled Marsh to clear.
Newent were looking to force Nomads back and often kicked over the top of the defensive line. From one kick, Tom Flanagan was well positioned to collect the ball on the run and set off up the field beating a number of defenders. More quick ball allowed Phipps and Marsh to release Ranscombe in the 15m channel to outpace his opposite number. With only the Full Back to beat, he found Marsh in support but unfortunately the pass went forward. Nomads were soon back on the attack and were putting the Newent scrum under pressure. They scrambled the ball back from the scrum but Phillips put great pressure on the kicker and a loose kick was picked up by Ranscombe, who weaved his way towards the posts. More swift distribution from Phipps and good hands from Marsh, Herbert and Baker freed Flanagan to score on the right wing 19-0.
Half Time Stroud Nomads 19 Newent 2nd XV 0
The break seemed to come at the wrong time for the Nomads and stopped their momentum. The first 15 minutes of the second half saw Newent on the attack and although Nomads defence was initially solid, Newent managed to drag the defensive line out of position switching play from left to right and back again. Eventually, they created a huge overlap allowing their Number 8 to score out wide 19-5.
Newent now had the momentum and continued to attack; with good handling from both forwards and backs they broke into the Nomads 22, where a rare error in the defensive line close to the ruck allowed their scrum half to snipe and score under the posts. Try Converted 19-12.
Nomads took this opportunity to use the luxury of their large squad. Dan Smith and Josh Stratton replaced Marshall and Allen in the front row whilst Chris Jones entered the fray replacing Samak. Jones was immediately involved with a strong tackle forcing a turnover. Nomads continued to dominate at the scrum however Smith and Stratton were unable to show their scrummaging prowess as injury to a Newent player meant scrums had to be uncontested for the remainder of the game. Despite this, both Smith and Stratton both had an instant influence on the game with strong carries, driving play back into the Newent half. Reid was continuing to carry strongly and one carry allowed Phipps to once again opt for the narrow side. More quick hands from Marsh and Baker allowed Herbert to beat his man on the outside and cross out wide. Herbert converted his own try 26-12.
Jack Keightley replaced Clark and Craig Hill came on for Phillips on the flank. Tom Taylor also came on for Flanagan and immediately was in the action with a secure take and powerful run from the kick off. The Nomads backs were now ready to run from deep with Phipps initially sniping before releasing Herbert. With Baker and Ranscombe holding the interest of the defenders out wide, Herbert surged through the gap to score his second of the game. Again he was successful with the conversion to extend the lead to 33-12.
Keightley was next to return a kick-off with interest, breaking a number of tackles. Jones and Hill carried on the drive back into Newent territory before Phipps combined with Leworthy, who with a powerful run sucked in a number of defenders. With the defensive line stretched Marsh was able to
show quick footwork to jink through a gap to score under the posts. Herbert converted to complete the scoring 40-12.
Full Time Stroud Nomads 40 Newent 2ndXV 12
This was another hugely positive performance from the Nomads and showed the importance of being able to field a large squad. Although the backs ran in the points and showed great handling as well as pace the forward effort should not be forgotten as their hard work laid solid foundations for the result, which again showed the potential of this team.
Next Fixture (Home) v Cheltenham Saturday 3rd March Kick-Off 1430.