Forwards and Backs combine well for a Positive Start.
By joshua stratton
Nomads opened their season with a short trip to Victory Park on a warm afternoon
Nomads opened their season with a short trip to Victory Park on a warm afternoon. Mustering together a squad of 16 players, hopes were high for a positive start and the first of two friendly games before league games start in two weeks time.
Squad: Damien Cox, Fred McCllellan, Lee Marshall, Craig Hill, Jack Keightley, Adam Clark, Nick Stringer, Grant Nash, Mark Samak, Callum Gibbs, Joe Spurrell, Luke Peer, Cory Baker, Fred Stephenson, Tom Flanagan, Pete Sykes.
Nomads started positively with the first of a number of secure takes from the kick off by Marshall setting up a solid platform for forward drives from Keightley and Samak. Cainscross instantly however gained the ascendancy in the scrum and pressurised the Nomads ball as well as securing their own with ease. A penalty kicked to touch gave Cainscross an early scoring opportunity but disruption at the lineout from Clark and excellent scavenging work from Nash and Samak forced a turnover. Despite being under the shadow of their own posts the ball was quickly spread wide from Spurrell and Peer to Baker, who cleverly kicked through. Sykes gave chase and was only beaten by a Cainscross player scrambling the ball into touch. An accurate Marshall throw and Clark take at the lineout set up a well organised forward drive that ended with Nash breaking off to score in the corner. 0-5.
Nomads were soon back on the attack with a number of forward drives sucking in opposition defenders before Gibbs and Spurrell spread the play wide. Excellent hands from Peer and Baker released Sykes, who held the remaining defence before feeding Stephenson for a clear run into the corner. 0-10. This pattern of play would prove highly successful throughout the afternoon with hard close quarter work from the forwards allowing space for the backs to show accurate handling. Cainscross were however never out the game and a penalty awarded for massive pressure on the Nomads scrum gave them great position and this time a line out catch and drive gave them their first score, which was converted. 7-10.
As soon as ball was secured, Nomads always looked dangerous. Strong carries from Keightley, Stringer and Samak drove play deep into Cainscross territory before a long miss pass found Sykes, who once again was able to release Stephenson to score in the corner again. 7-15.
Nomads defence in open play was solid with Peer and Baker stopping any great gains in ground through the centre and close to the ruck forwards tackled well to stop the large Cainscross forwards gaining territory. Cainscross were always dangerous from the set piece and were soon back on the score sheet with another score from a driving line out. 12-15.
Nomads were soon back on the attack with Flanagan making ground up the right wing before play was switched back to the left. Gibbs fed Samak, who broke the defensive line producing quick ball for the backs. Baker released Spurrell, whose perfectly weighted kick allowed Stephenson to touch down for his Hat-trick try. 12-20.
Another secure take from Marshall, instantly put Nomads back on the attack. Carries from Hill and Clark enabled Gibbs to free Nash and an offload in the tackle to Baker who released Sykes to run in at the corner. 12-25.
McCllellen had entered the fray in the front row and had stemmed some of the Cainscross ascendancy in the scrum. Pushing the ball wide again allowed Peer and Baker to free Sykes out wide. Making good ground he found Flanagan back on the inside and despite being tap tackled he quickly regained his feet to score under the posts. Spurrell converted. 12-32
Cainscross to their credit never gave up and scored two quick tries – the first from a close range tap penalty and some rare missed tackles in the Nomads defence. The second was also the result of some rare inaccuracies in Nomads handling but showed the game was far from won. Both tries were converted narrowing the gap to 26-32.
Nomads however showed great discipline by returning to their game plan of close range drives before releasing the backs. Pick and drives from the base of the ruck from Keightley and Samak pushed play into the Cainscross 22 before more quick hands this time allowed Baker to float a long pass to Peer to score out wide. 26-37.
With both teams competing well to the final whistle, Nomads had the last word with a driving lineout, sucking opposition forwards in before Baker freed Sykes, who released Stephenson to coast in for his fourth try. 26-42.
This was a very positive start to the season with Forwards and Backs combining well. The lineout functioned effectively although further work is needed on the scrummage whilst the backs showed accuracy and creativity to finish off the scoring chances.
Nomads face Gloucester All Blues at home (KO 3pm) next Saturday and hopefully the return of more players will boost the squad even further and allow Nomads to continue this positive development.
Thanks to Cainscross for both a good game played in a great spirit and their hospitality afterwards. Hopefully, another fixture can be arranged later in the season