Failure to capitalise on early pressure costs Stroud
By joshua stratton
Nomads took the field in a rearranged game with Cheltenham being unable to field a team last week.
Stroud Nomads v Cheltenham 2nd XV
Failure to capitalise on early pressure costs Stroud.
Nomads took the field in a rearranged game with Cheltenham being unable to field a team last week. Bolstered by a number of 1st Team players they were sure to provide tough opposition for a Nomads side that unusually were able to field a squad of 19 players. With the wind howling down the pitch it appeared that it would be a “game of two halves” with the morning’s rain adding to the difficulty posed by the wind.
Squad: Fred McCllelan, Rupert Wakefield, Lee Marshall, Jack Keightley, Adam Clark, Paddy Shipton, Mark Phillips, Mark Samak, Callum Gibbs, Ian Bushall, Jamie Leworthy, Tom Taylor, Harry ?, Sam ?, Sam Strange, Charlie Foote, Rob Shipton, Chris Jones, James Nash.
Nomads had the advantage of the wind in the first half and a brave take from Marshall at the kick-off secured possession despite being under great pressure. Cheltenham were penalised at the breakdown and a great touch finder from Bushall pushed Nomads into the opposition 22. The lineout was always going to be difficult and Nomads were unable to secure possession. Cheltenham struggled to clear their lines however awarding Nomads another opportunity. Clark took advantage of an accurate Wakefield throw to secure possession. Despite the initial drive being stopped, Gibbs was able to spread the play to Bushall, who found Leworthy on a hard line. A strong carry set the platform for Gibbs to switch play back to the blind side and feed Samak, who broke the first tackle before being stopped metres short. A number of short range pick and drives from McCllelan, Marshall, Keightley and Paddy Shipton sucked in more defenders before Gibbs found Phillips, who crashed over from short range. An excellent conversion from Bushall defied the wind. 7-0.
With the ball swirling in the wind, Nomads knocked on at the kick-off giving Cheltenham their first attacking opportunity. Playing into the wind, they began a series of short range pick and drives but the Nomads defence close in was secure with the back row of Paddy Shipton, Phillips and Samak to the fore. Cheltenham were slowly making ground but when they spread the play wider found Leworthy and Taylor secure in defence. A fine turnover from Strange regained possession inside the Nomads 22 but keen to keep the ball in hand Gibbs freed Phillips, who linked well with Samak taking play up field. Paddy Shipton, who had an excellent all round game in both attack and defence carried on the momentum before play was spread wider by the backs. Sam, on his debut on the wing, made good ground before being tackled on the 22. Bushall released Samak, who again carried strongly. Unfortunately, he suffered an injury in the tackle and was unable to take any further part in the game. Jones replaced him and was soon in the thick of the action leading the forward charge. Nomads were deep in the opposition 22 and despite carries from Keightley, Jones and Paddy Shipton were unable to break through a strong Cheltenham defence. With momentum subsiding Bushall took control and slotted a perfectly executed drop goal to extend the lead. 10-0.
Nomads were soon back deep in opposition territory but were unable to make any significant inroads into the Cheltenham defence. This failure to turn possession and territory into points would prove costly as spilled ball was picked up by Cheltenham and spread towards their right flank. Good hands freed their winger, who with his first touch of the ball stepped and sped around would be Nomads tacklers to score a tremendous individual try under the posts. Try converted. 10-7. This seemed to galvanise Cheltenham who, resecured possession when Nomads, failed to clear out a ruck. Nomads initial defence was strong but the Cheltenham winger drifted left to create an overlap to score on the left wing after good handling. 10-12.
Half Time Stroud Nomads 10 Cheltenham 2nd XV 12
The second half was always going to be a battle and Nomads suffered another early injury blow with Clark having to leave the field. He was replaced by Rob Shipton giving Nomads a father and son combination in the pack. The Nomads scrum was far more solid than in recent weeks with first McCllelan and the returning Foote providing a solid base with Wakefield and Marshall.
Nomads were instantly on the back foot with the Cheltenham fly-half using the wind to his advantage and putting in a long kick downfield. It was not able to be collected and the lightning fast Cheltenham winger was quick to swoop on the bouncing ball to scoot in under the posts. 3 touches of the ball and 3 tries had definitely given Nomads a mountain to climb. Try converted. 10-19.
Starved of possession, Nomads were still defending well close in with Phillips and both the Shiptons putting in a number of solid tackles. Cheltenham were however beginning to find space out wide and scored two tries in quick succession with their outside backs again being the beneficiaries. Both tries were converted to really put the game out of sight with 20 minutes still remaining. 10-33.
Nomads however refused to lie down and strong carries from Foote, Wakefield and Taylor took play up field. Bushall was able to spread the ball wider and Harry, on his debut to make an excellent break up the left wing. Unfortunately, the final ball inside went to ground and was snapped up by the last player Nomads wanted to see with ball in hand. The Cheltenham speedster was off again and his pace was too much for the Nomads defence. Another conversion followed. 10-40.
Battling to the end, Paddy Shipton continued to provide energy and drive with his work and Wakefield, Phillips and Jones all continued to carry strongly but Nomads were unable to cross the opposition line again.
Full Time Stroud Nomads 10 Cheltenham 2nd XV 40
The score line did not really represent this game with Nomads exhibiting commitment throughout and dominating possession and territory in the first half. Being unable to convert that first half domination into points was ultimately crucial as with both the elements in their favour and the game’s outstanding individual Cheltenham certainly did take their scoring chances.
Man of the Match : Paddy Shipton – tremendous energy and excellent contributions to all aspects of the game.
With the increased numbers in the Nomads squad this week it should be hoped that a positive mood continue within the camp and these numbers become a regular occurrence as opposed to a rarity. It was great to see players such as Charlie Foote, Rupert Wakefield and Ian Bushall return to the Nomads ranks and despite the result look forward to next week.
Next Fixture: v Old Cryptians 2nd XV (Away) Saturday 20th October. Kick-off 1500