REPORT BY MARK SAMAK
Nomads ran out at Fromehall for the first time this year after three weeks on the road. Friday night lights drew a sizeable crowd and the promise of an exciting game on an ever-drying pitch. After a tight game earlier on in the season, it was sure to be a tough assignment for the Nomads – especially against a sizeable Old Boys pack.
1 Jason Richings 2 Tom Stone 3 Bailey Beale 4 Chase Stokes 5 Lee Marshall 6 Mark Samak 7 Joe Moylan 8 Archie Powis (Captain) 9 Lewis Holder 10 Iain Bushall 11 Tom Johnson 12 Luke Dowemoore 13 Eddy Davey Jawara 14 Kieran Mitchell 15 Dylan Kay
Replacements: Keelan Jackson, James Ferry, Rob Shipton, Jamie Leworthy
Nomads showed their positive intent from the start with Johnson unlucky not to regather Holder’s restart and burst through. The Nomads scrummage instantly put the Old Boys scrummage under some pressure, disrupting the quality of ball. Old Boys sent their large runners up but found the Nomads defence up to the task with Stone, Powis and Moylan to the fore. Old Boys enjoyed no more success when attempting to spread the ball wider with Dowemoore and Davey Jawara particularly solid. One Davey Jawara tackle forced the ball to be spilled – Samak was able to snaffle the loose ball and allow Holder and Bushall to begin to work through the phases. A strong carry from Stokes gave the attack momentum before Powis took play up towards the 22. Bushall and Dowemoore spread the play wider to the left to free Johnson, who showed his pace to round his opposite number and score wide out. 5-0.
With the scrum securing ball and Stone finding Powis and Moylan the majority of time at the lineout, Nomads were beginning to dominate possession. Samak and Powis were getting through their share of carries, regularly getting well beyond the advantage line. The Nomads pressure gained a number of penalties, one of which was drilled into the 22 by Kay. A secure driving line out set a platform for Bushall to feed Dowemoore to take play within 5m of the line. The forwards then took over with pick and goes from Marshall and Moylan before Powis crashed over from a metre out. Kay converted. 12-0.
Nomads looked dangerous when they spread the ball wide – Johnson showed his strength as well as his speed to cut back and surge into the 22 before a lack of control at the breakdown stopped the attack. Mitchell was also showing his pace on the right wing when released by Kay. This time the attack continued its momentum with Samak carrying into the heart of the defence before Bushall found Powis cutting an excellent line to scythe through the defensive line before showing his pace to cross on the left. 17-0.
(Jackson replaced Samak). After 25 minutes, Nomads looked in complete control however it was clear that Old Boys would not just fold and lie down. Beale was beginning to be a greater influence with some bullocking runs however pouncing on a loose ball, Old Boys moved the ball wide and a great step and burst of acceleration took an outside back away from the scrambling Nomads defence. 19-5.
Old Boys continued their momentum – winning a penalty with competitive work at the breakdown after Nomads had failed to secure the ruck. Kicking the corner, Old Boys were able to make use of their sizable pack with a well-executed catch and drive. Only great defensive work from Richings and Stokes nullified the surge however Old Boys were able to cross in the next phase with a strong carry taking a forward over despite the attention of two Nomads tacklers. Try converted. 17-12.
Half Time Stroud Nomads 17 Gloucester Old Boys 2 12
Nomads restructured the backline with Leworthy coming onto the wing replacing Bushall. Mitchell moved in to full back whilst Kay stepped forward to fly-half.
Old Boys looked to continue their momentum however a secure take from the kick-off, another solid carry from Beale gave the platform for Kay to show his proficiency with the boot, this time with a superb clearance a full 50m upfield.
Nomads defence continued to be solid and with Richings, Stone and Beale more than holding their own in the scrum, Nomads once again began to dominate possession – Kay and Dowemoore linked well with Davey Jawara for Leworthy to have a strong run up the right wing. Moylan and Powis showed their handling skills with great work - offloading after taking the ball to the line. Another Beale carry took play into the 22 before Holder and Dowemoore continued the attack. Within metres, the forwards opted for the pick and drive before Kay spread the play wider. A misplaced pass meant a bouncing ball for Johnson to collect – but once again he showed his strength before racing way from the defence to score. 22-12.
(Ferry replaced Marshall while Shipton entered the fray in place of Richings with Stokes stepping up to prop for the first time.)
The next 10 minutes involve play moving between the two 22s. Beale and Moylan carried well for Nomads whilst Shipton showed that he can lost none of his combative style with some great defensive work around the ruck. (Bushall returned to the field in place of Holder with Dowemoore moving to scrum half).
With 20 minutes to go the game was still in the balance. Old Boys were continuing to send up strong runners whilst Nomads continued to mix play between forward carries and spreading play through the backs. (Samak returned in place of Moylan). Stokes took to the prop forward position like a duck to water with one Nomads surge taking the ball against the head allowing Samak to break from the base and carry into midfield. Another penalty was forced and Kay’s left boot again drove Nomads forward. Stone and Powis combined at the line out prior to Nomads showing patience to go through phases and retain the ball. Carries from Ferry and Stokes took play towards the line before Dowemoore used his strength to surge over the line. Kay converted. 29-12.
Jackson’s secure take from the kick-off set the platform for another attack. Beale again broke the defensive line before Kay and Bushall spread the ball wide via Mitchell to Johnson to make good ground up the left. This momentum forced another penalty and a yellow card – Kay calmly kicked the points to extend the lead to 32—12.
Another solid take from the restart, this time by Stokes and a surge from Samak looked to have set the platform for another attack. This time however, loose ball when moving play wider and an isolated player conceded a penalty to Old Boys, which they kicked to the corner. Disruption at the lineout and a great turnover from Powis allowed Kay to clear as Nomads looked to finish the game on the attack. Old Boys however retained possession well and forced a series of penalties against the Nomads – the final one resulting in a yellow-card for Samak for not retreating far enough from a quick tap.
Going down to 14 players did not temper Nomads attacking intentions with Beale and Stone continuing to take play directly to the opposition. Quick distribution from Dowemoore found Kay taking the ball to the line and showing great strength he forced his way within touching distance of the line – only to be penalised for a double movement in the act of scoring. This proved to be Nomads last scoring opportunity.
Full Time Stroud Nomads 32 Gloucester Old Boys 2 12
Friday nights under lights at Fromehall tend to produce excellent games and this was no exception. Played in good spirit and allowed to flow by the referee both sides contributed towards a highly enjoyable game to both play in and watch. The Nomads consolidated their place at the top of their District League but more importantly, the young players that form the majority of the Nomads squad played a confident, organised game which showed great commitment as well as no little skill. With the number of young players growing the future certainly looks bright for both the Nomads and the club as a whole.
Man of the Match (sponsored by Mark Powis): Bailey Beale
Next Match: Nomads v Matson 3 (Home) Friday 16 February KO 7:30pm