Nomads lose away
By joshua stratton
Numbers let nomads down
Nomads made the short trip over to Gloucester with a squad of only 13 due to a huge amount of unavailability. Only 12 of these were Stroud players (thanks to Lee from Widden OB for helping us out) so Nomads were always going to be up against it, especially as scrummages had to be uncontested, negating a key strength in recent weeks.
Nomads started confidently with strong carries from Mark Phillips and Mark Samak and excellent distribution from Cory Baker at Fly-Half releasing centres Jamie Leworthy and Liam Downer to make good ground. With scrums being uncontested, the line-out was going to be crucial and Old Crypts were soon in the ascendency with a well-executed catch and drive from the 22m line resulting in the first score.
Nomads were however immediately back on the front foot with an excellent kick chase from Nick Stringer, forcing an error. From the resultant scrummage, Jamie Leworthy again made considerable inroads into the Crypts defence. A series of pick and goes from the forwards brought the Nomads close to the line, where the bal unusually flew out of the back of the breakdown. Joe Little, at Full Back, quickly changed the direction of play and a clever show and go bought him enough space to drive over the line.
Cryptians dominated the last 10 minutes of the half with their line-out continuing to function much more effectively than the Nomads. Brave defence, with Sam Davies putting in his usual quota of tackles, kept Crypts at bay until they exploited the extra numbers out wide to score in the corner. An excellent conversion stretched the Crypts lead.
Cryptians again soon took advantage of their numerical advantage to work a blind –side move off a scrum to release an outside man to score.
Half TimeOld Cryptians 2nd XV 17Stroud Nomads 5
Nomads attitude remained positive and they were soon deep into opposition territory at the start of the second half. A pick and go from Mark Samak freed Jamie Leworthy to break the first line of defence yet again. A pick and drive from Mark Phillips was only stopped by an infringement at the breakdown. The ever alert Joe Spurrell took a quick penalty and his initial break caused enough havoc to the retreating defence that his off-load to Liam Downer resulted in the centre powering over under the posts. Joe Spurrell converted to reduce the deficit to 5 points.
Nomads were now most definitely in the game and were competing well, disrupting the Cryptians catch and drive that had been so effective in the first half. The defence was solid with Mark Phillips, Mark Samak and Cory Baker to the fore around the breakdown and Full Back Joe Little, stopping a certain try when once again Crypts made use of extra men out wide. Cryptians extended their lead with a long distance penalty after some Nomads indiscipline at the breakdown.
With 20 minutes to go Cryptians made a number of replacements, bringing on fresh legs that would in the end prove crucial in deciding the outcome of the game. Nomads legs were tiring and twice Cryptians took advantage of gaps in the defensive line due to tiredness and numbers to score out wide and one of these tries was converted by the Cryptians Fly-Half.
Despite being up against it, Nomads continued to push forward. Joe Spurrell weaved his way into the Crypts half to allow Cory Baker to pin the opposition back into their 22 with an excellent cross field kick. Secure ball from the lineout continued to elude the Nomads and the territorial advantage was lost. A miscued clearance however was powerfully returned by Liam Downer, who took play back into the 22. Forward drives again threatened the Cryptians line but unfortunately an untimely knock on coughed up possession and allowed Crypts to clear into touch to end the game.
Full Time Old Cryptians 2nd XV 32Stroud Nomads 2nd XV 12
Despite the final score, which possibly did not reflect how close the contest was, attitudes remained positive at the end of the game. Another week of committed defence and some confident work with ball in hand showed what Nomads are capable of even with a reduced squad of 13 players. With a week off, it is hoped that Nomads can generate a bigger squad for their next fixture and coupled with a continuation of the resilient attitude shown, return to winning ways.
Next Fixture v Cheltenham Saracens 2nd XV (Home – Archway School)
Saturday 9th December KO 1430.