Nomads Hindered By Lack of Options
By joshua stratton
The scoreline did not reflect the huge effort and commitment
Nomads were back in action at Fromehall and were looking to build on their victory of two weeks ago. They were however once again hampered by massive player unavailability and were only able to field a squad of 13 players. In contrast, Longlevens brought a sizeable squad of 20. This was reduced by one as their skipper kindly stepped forward to referee the game as the designated official was also unavailable.
Squad: Craig Hill, Rupert Wakefield, Lee Marshall, Jack Keightley, Rob Shipton, Fred McCllellan, Mark Samak, Callum Gibbs, Chris Toon, Tom Taylor, Tom Flanagan, James Nash, Ben Dodd.
Nomads kicked off and early signs were positive with the defensive line being solid despite being a man down. Wakefield and Samak stopped early carries close to the ruck whilst Taylor and Flanagan were secure when the ball was spread wider.
When possession was secured, Nomads regularly opted for territory with some astute kicking by Toon. The kick chase and defensive line was solid and Nomads stopped any great gains in territory from Longlevens.
On the occasions that Longlevens broke the line, great scrambling defence from Flanagan and Dodd forced errors and allowed Nomads to regain possession. Opting for close range pick and drives, strong carries from Marshall, Keightley and Samak took play into the opposition half before Shipton and McCllellan continued the forward momentum. One close range carry too many allowed Longlevens to force a turnover and spread the ball wide. Making use of their numerical advantage good hands released their winger, who made ground before being brought down by a combination of Dodd and Toon.
Longlevens were however able to recycle well and switch play back the other way allowing their left winger a clear run in out wide. 0-5.
Longlevens continued to dominate possession but committed tackling kept the line intact. Hill and Wakefield were next to shine defensively allowing Flanagan to force a great turnover and allow Gibbs to clear. However Longlevens were soon back on the attack and used the ball well to again free their winger to score out wide again. 0-10.
Taylor and Flanagan carried strongly in the centres from Toon’s distribution but were well marshalled by the opposition defence. Longlevens continued to press and broke through the middle with a fine burst from their second row. Samak this time was back with a last ditch tackle to thwart the attack but at a cost as he was forced from the field through injury. With numbers reduced further Longlevens exploited their advantage and crossed again right on half time. Try converted. 0-17.
The timely appearance of Kyro Thomas pushed numbers back up to 13 for the second half.
The half began in disappointing fashion with the kick-off not being secured and some unusually fragile tacking allowing their centre to cut back against the grain and run through to score by the posts. Try Converted. 0-24.
Nomads continued to play with commitment with Keightley and Marshall continuing to carry whilst Thomas was unlucky to see his kick ahead run dead just before he could touch down. Injury hampered Nomads even further with Toon the next to suffer as he carried strongly. Now down to 12 and even with Longlevens dropping a player Nomads were up against it and conceded two quick tries with the elusive Longlevens winger being the beneficiary of a kick ahead and good handling. With both tries converted the lead was extended to 0-38.
To their credit Nomads did not lie down, with first McCllenan making ground before an excellent interchange of passes between Wakefield, Marshall , Gibbs and Taylor pushed play towards the 22. Longlevens transgressed at the breakdown allowing the alert Gibbs to take a quick tap penalty and catch the retreating defenders out to scoot in under the posts. On a day where Nomads were not really showing any great structure but commitment couldn’t be questioned, Marshall took responsibility for the conversion but unfortunately proved unsuccessful.
This just about summed the Nomads day up and a last minute breakaway try for Longlevens just rubbed salt into the wounds.
Full Time Stroud Nomads 2nd XV 5Longlevens 2nd XV 45
The scoreline did not reflect the huge effort and commitment the players showed but it did hammer home the fact of how difficult it is to compete in this league without a sizeable squad of players playing in their regular positions. Nomads on paper have the players to compete in this league but they need to be on the field more regularly if results are to improve.
It is hoped that numbers will be up and some familiar faces return when the Nomads visit Spartans on Saturday December 1st.
Final thanks to the Longlevens skipper, who did a great job refereeing and enabling the game to go ahead.