Stroud Nomads
Fri 16 Feb 2024  ·  Gloucester & District 3
Stroud Rugby
Stroud Nomads
Matson III


Tom Allen19 Feb - 21:49
Share via



Friday night lights returned to Fromehall with the Nomads looking to continue their good work from a fortnight ago. Matson were the visitors and brought a sizeable squad both in terms of numbers and experience for what would prove to be a hard-fought, physical encounter. Nomads were short of some their regular back division but were still able to field a sizeable squad themselves.

1 Chase Stokes 2 Owen Winstone (Captain) 3 Bailey Beale 4 Tom Holmes 5 Lee Marshall 6 Mark Phillips 7 Joe Moylan 8 Mark Samak 9 Harry Baker 10 Dylan Kay 11 Will Mapletoft 12 Iain Bushall 13 Aaron Raath 14 Jamie Leworthy 15 Rhys Bleach

Replacements: Damien Cox, Rob Higgins, Rhys Sowdon, Chris Jones, Josh Jenkins, James Ferry.

Baker secured the initial kick-off and Nomads began to work through the phases. Phillips and Samak were as ever keen to carry and along with Holmes and Moylan got through a good amount of early work. Matson, as usual, were extremely combative in defence and exerted their physicality early on. Nomads to their credit did not back down and despite an early switch with Cox replacing Beale briefly more than held firm at the scrummage with Stokes performing well in his new front row role.

Phillips was forced off with a blood injury and enabled Head Coach Higgins to come out of retirement. Wasting no time, he exhibited his vast skills as a lineout technician, securing ball along with Moylan and also disrupting Matson ball on occasions. Nomads enjoyed the majority of territory and possession in the first 20 minutes and came close when a penalty for a high tackle was kicked to the corner by Kay. Winstone found Moylan at the resulting lineout before Phillips (patched up and returned), Marshall and Samak drove on. The drive was halted and play spread wider with Raath cutting an excellent line crossing the advantage line. Unfortunately, the subsequent offload did not go to hand and Matson cleared.

Matson were keen to mix some strong forward runners with more expansive play. First up tackling was generally good with the back row getting through a good share of the work. Bushall as ever was solid in defence and did well to marshal Matson’s powerful inside centre. One burst from their centre took play towards the Nomads 22 and quick ball was spread wider. With Nomads defence sucked in, a strong line found a weak shoulder allowing Matson to cross under the posts. Try converted. 0-7.

Raath unfortunately left the field with a reoccurrence of a knee injury – Phillips moved out into the centre with Higgins returning to the fray permanently this time.

Matson scored a second after 30 minutes. A strong catch and drive from the lineout took play into the 22 before play was spread wider resulting in a try in the corner. 0-12.

Sowdon and Jones replaced Marshall and Samak and were soon heavily involved in the defensive effort with Matson enjoying the momentum. After a number of forward carries that were repelled, Matson kicked deep – Bleach was well placed to collect and set off on the attack before kicking deep into the Matson half. Good follow up work from Mapletoft and Sowdon forced an error enabling Nomads to once again have an attacking platform. Higgins showed the benefit of his experience first in securing the lineout and then directing the pick and drives as Nomads inched closer to the line. Holmes first, then Beale came close before Leworthy burrowed through the smallest of gaps to cross. 5-12.

Half Time Stroud Nomads 5 Matson 3s 12

More changes and reorganisation after half time involved Kay moving into scrum half with Bushall moving to fly half and Holmes moving out to join Phillips in the centre and Jenkins on the wing.

The first 15 minutes of the second half were fairly even but again Matson’s strong defence stifled any Nomads attacks. Nomads continued to secure ball and Kay provided excellent service to Bushall as Nomads began to work through phases. Holmes despite moving out into the centres produced a number of strong carries and always gave momentum to the attack. Leworthy also carried hard and made a half break on the right before being dragged down by the scrambling defence.

Nomads continued to work hard in defence with Stokes leading from the front. All the forwards were working hard in defence and showing great attitude in the tackle – Ferry and Stokes making tackles in quick succession as Matson pressed for the next score. Another driving lineout set the platform, before a series of pick and drives resulted in a score in the corner. 5-17.

With 25 minutes to go, it would have been easy for Nomads to retreat into their shell however despite all the positional changes, they pressed on. (Samak returned to the field along with Marshall). Uncontested scrums were now in operation – a feed from the base to Holmes, who again was running a strong line, punched a rare hole in the Matson defence before Phillips continued the momentum. Kay spotted a hole in behind the defence and kicked intelligently. Matson were able to clear but Nomads had another attacking lineout. Higgins again secured Winstone’s throw before Jones drove on. Kay spread the play to Bushall, whose long pass found Samak out in the wider channels and he was able to distribute to Mapletoft to show excellent pace and race in at the corner despite the covering defence. 10-17.

Nomads looked to push for another score with Beale first and then Kay carrying well. Phillips and Holmes - despite playing out of position – always looked to take play on. To their credit, the Matson defence was excellent all night and again stifled any momentum. Matson were patient with ball in hand and themselves went through a number of phases, which eventually forced Nomads to concede a penalty. A kick to the corner and a well-executed catch and drive saw Matson crash over in the last attack of the game. Try converted. 10-24.

Full Time Stroud Nomads 10 Matson 3s 24

This was a hugely physical test for the Nomads against a highly experienced Matson side. Despite the result, the commitment shown by all players could not be questioned – the attitude to keep battling was much appreciated by the sizeable crowd. With the mixture of youth and experience continuing to help the Nomads develop, the rest of the season should continue to provide the opportunity to test themselves even more – starting in two weeks when Nomads travel to Redwell Road for the reverse fixture.

Man of the Match: Tom Holmes

Match details

Match date

Fri 16 Feb 2024




Gloucester & District 3

League position

Stroud II
Matson III
Team overview
Further reading

Team Sponsors

Main Club Sponsor - Stroud Brewery
Club Sponsor - Nortim Engineering Ltd
Sponsor - Cotswold Appliances (Oxford) Ltd