Effort and Commitment goes unrewarded
By joshua stratton
The score line did not show the great effort and commitment shown by all Nomads players
Nomads travelled to Old Cryptians with another much changed squad. Injury and unavailability had once again hit the Nomads hard. With guest players and some late arrivals, Nomads were however able to field 17 players but were again without many of their back division.
Squad: Lee Marshall, Rupert Wakefield, Damien Cox, Josh Merrett, Jack Keightley, Adam Clark, James Nash, Rob Shipton, Callum Gibbs, Cory Baker, Mark Phillips, Tom Taylor, Paul ?, Steve Dechan, Ben Dodd, Charlie Foote, Dave Clutterbuck.
Nomads had the benefit of the slope in the first half and enjoyed some early possession after a secure take at the kick-off from Marshall. Carries from Merrett and Keightley provided early momentum before Gibbs spread the play to Baker, who was able to find Phillips running the first of many hard lines in the centre. The set –piece appeared much more efficient than in the last few weeks with the scrummage being solid throughout and Clark and Keightley securing good ball at the line-out, courtesy of accurate throwing from Wakefield.
Despite this early possession for the Nomads, Crypts were first on the scoreboard. A line-out on the Nomads 10m line was secured and driven well before their half –backs spread the ball wide. Excellent hands provided their winger room on the outside to round the Nomads defence to score in the corner. 0-5.
Crypts cleared the kick off but it was returned with interest by Dodd, who looked sharp all afternoon on his return to rugby. His break gave a great target for the forwards to clear-out; allowing Gibbs and Baker to this time find Taylor running strongly in the centre. Crypts were forced into conceding a penalty at the breakdown, which Baker kicked to touch 5m out. A well-rehearsed catch and drive from the Wakefield-Clark combination resulted in Shipton crashing over to level the scores. 5-5.
Clutterbuck entered the fray, replacing Shipton and was soon in the action carrying well from a Marshall off load from the kick-off. A half break from Baker was capitalized on by strong carries from Keightley and Merrett. Taylor once again made yards in the wider channels before the forwards took over. Close quarter drives from Wakefield and Cox pushed play deep into the Crypts 22. A resultant scrummage was moving forward and it looked as though a push-over try was on the cards – however Gibbs fed Baker, who popped a short pass to Phillips on the crash ball allowing him to surge through two tacklers to score. The conversion drifted narrowly wide. 10-5.
Although Nomads had the upper hand up front, Crypts always looked dangerous out wide, especially in broken play. Their full-back always looked to attack from deep, while the fly-half brought their outside backs into play through some excellent distribution. One wide pass facilitated a kick through and a foot race to the corner saw their winger touch down out wide. An excellent conversion saw Crypts take the lead. 10-12.
Although Crypts were making ground out wide, Nomads defence through the middle was extremely solid with Merrett and Clark tackling well round the fringes and Baker and Phillips providing a solid barrier if the ball went wider. One low chop tackle from Phillips allowed Baker to produce a tremendous turnover, which allowed Gibbs to clear down field just as the half time whistle blew. Baker however suffered a shoulder injury during this phase and was unfortunately unable to take any further part in the game.
Half Time Old Cryptians 2nd XV 12Stroud Nomads 10
The injury to Baker caused issues for Nomads in terms of positional personnel. Clutterbuck dropped to fly-half with Shipton returning to the back row. Cryptians took full advantage of this disruption to the Nomads team and scored 4 tries in the first 15 minutes of the second half to put the result beyond question. 2 of the tries came out wide but Crypts were also beginning to find gaps around the ruck and exploited them fully. 3 of the tries were converted giving Crypts a 38-10 lead.
Another reshuffle saw Dodd step up to Fly Half, Clutterbuck return to the back row and Nash drop out to the wing after Shipton sustained a knock to the jaw. It would have been very easy for Nomads heads to drop at this point however this was far from the case. Great disruption at the kick-off from Marshall and Keightley saw Nomads recover the ball. A short interchange of passes between Wakefield, Clutterbuck and Phillips took play up field. Marshall, Cox and Merrett continued the pick and drive game before once again Crypts were penalised at the breakdown. Gibbs found touch and another Wakefield- Clark combination set up a drive that was only foiled metres out. Keightley then appeared to have been driven over the line by Merrett however the ball was adjudged to have been held up.
Nomads spent 15 minutes camped in the Crypts 22 but were unable to cross the line. A scrum gave Dodd the chance to feed Phillips on another crash ball but this time he was stopped just short. Foote, who had replaced Merrett, was also held up with the line so close. This spell of pressure would come to nothing as Crypts were able to first clear their lines and then gain possession from Nomads handling error. Only a solid tackle from Nash on the wing and a great last ditch tackle from Taylor stopped Crypts from scoring however swift distribution from their half backs allowed a gap to be found and score under the posts followed. 45-10.
The effort and commitment continued to the very end but luck was against the Nomads when a misplaced kick from Crypts bounced kindly for their winger who raced in at the corner for the final try. 50-10.
Full Time Old Cryptians 2nd XV 50Stroud Nomads 10
The score line did not show the great effort and commitment shown by all Nomads players and was definitely not a true reflection of a game in which Nomads set –piece was much more secure and possession and territory was dominated during significant periods.
Nomads continue their search for a win next week with a home fixture v Gloucester Old Boys 1500.