Nomads make it 4 wins in a row
After three home victories, Nomads were back on the road with a much changed team especially in the back line. Once again, lack of numbers meant players having to play out of position. Mark Phillips returned to the Nomads from 1st XV duty to play inside centre whilst Harvey Mead swapped his usual role in the forwards for a game on the right wing.
Nomads started on the front foot with the scrummage, as it has been in recent weeks, in the ascendency. An excellent driving lineout, which led to Lee Marshall making good ground and strong carries from Aussie Bob and Mark Samak coupled with excellent recycling at the breakdown pushed Nomads deep into the Cheltenham 22. Secure ball from a scrummage allowed Joe Spurrell to feed fly half Cory Baker, who ghosted around his opposite number before powering through the full back to score near the posts. Joe Spurrell converted.
From the kick off Cheltenham secured possession and kicked long but Jonny Toon gathered confidently and set off on a strong run back into the Cheltenham half. Quick ruck ball allowed the ball to be transferred left and Chris Toon to break the line before offloading to Aussie Bob. Great support and another excellent offload allowed Nick Stringer to drive over out wide. Joe Spurrell was once again successful with the conversion despite the tight angle.
Nomads were very much deserving of their 14-0 lead after 20 minutes but a knock on inside their own half seemed to shift the momentum of the game. Cheltenham attacked left from the scrummage but were initially kept out by solid tackling from centres Mark Phillips and Chris Toon but well recycled ball allowed the Cheltenham fly half to weave a path through a disorganised defensive line to score a try near the posts, which was converted.
This one lapse seemed to affect the Nomads as the next passages of play were dominated by Cheltenham, whose big ball carriers were starting to make good ground.
The ascendency in the scrummage was also lost as injuries to both Fred Mcllenan and Damien Cox, who had both been very solid, meant the scrums had to become uncontested for the remainder of the game. Scrambling defence on the right by Mark Phillips and Mark Samak and by Joe Spurrell on the left curtailed two attacks but an excellent line from their back row forward enabled him to run in from 20m, under the posts. The conversion levelled the scores at 14-14.
Nomads were however quick to put this second concession behind them with another strong kick return from Jonny Toon and a long kick from Cory Baker turning the Cheltenham defence. A good chase from Chris Toon put a huge amount of pressure on the opposition winger, who was forced back towards his own line. Cheltenham manged to recycle the ball but a knock on behind their own line allowed an alert Sam Davis to dive on the ball to score.
Cheltenham 2nd XV 14 Nomads 19
Nomads started the second half in the positive vein they had ended the first period. Another confident catch at the kick off from Lee Marshall and good ruck ball allowed Cory Baker to free Aussie Bob on a short ball. Good continuity in terms of short pick and drives pushed the Nomads towards the Cheltenham 22, where an infringement at the ruck gave Joe Spurrell the opportunity to kick a penalty from in front of the posts to extend the Nomads lead.
Nomads continued on the front foot with secure line out possession allowing Mark Phillips and Chris Toon to run strongly in the centre and giving the forwards a great target from first phase possession. One run from Chris Toon produced very quick ball that allowed Mark Phillips to change the direction of attack and feed Mark Samak, who committed two tacklers before releasing Andre Sharp on the left wing. Appearing to be clear and moving into the opposition 22, he was only stopped by an injury, which unfortunately meant he couldn’t take any further part in the game.
Further secure retention of the ball allowed Nomads to exert more pressure on the Cheltenham defence, who once again transgressed at the breakdown allowing Joe Spurrell to again kick a penalty to further extend the lead to 25-14 with 20 minutes to go.
Cheltenham continued to pose a threat through their big runners but were also now showing some pace and creativity out wide, which freed their left winger, who seemed certain to score only to be denied by more excellent covering from Joe Spurrell. Excellent disruption at the line out from Nick Stringer allowed Nomads to regain the ball and gradually work their way away from their own line. Cheltenham most definitely had the momentum in the game but solid first up tackling from both forwards and backs prevented too many line breaks. Cheltenham though continued to press and eventually their back row forward powered through to score close to the posts. The conversion narrowed the gap to 4 points.
Nomads heads did not drop, if anything this score seemed to galvanise the defensive effort even further. Solid defensive work led by Josh Merrett , Sam Davis, Mark Phillips and Cory Baker meant that despite a much greater amount of possession in the final 10 minutes, Cheltenham were unable to break the Nomads defensive line.
Cheltenham 2nd XV 21Nomads 25
As Nomads reflected on another highly positive performance, due note was paid to excellent support work in attack and an incredible collective defensive effort, particularly in the final 20 minutes of the game.
Saturday 11th November v Coney Hill (Home) Kick Off 1430.