Nuns secure early Christmas present
The Nuns battle Lichfield and the elements to win 19-14
The Nuns finished 2017 off with a win in winter conditions at Lichfield on the weekend. The pitch passed a morning inspection and although there was still some snowy patches on top it was fine to play on come kick off.
The Nuns played into the elements at the start of the game and it was the hosts that applied some early pressure around the Nuns 22m line. The Nuns defensive line was holding strong and Lichfield couldn’t find a way through despite pressing hard. On 9 minutes, after a ball was ripped out of a tackle and in to the air it was the home second row that reacted first and found a gap through a standstill defence to score from the 22m which was converted for a 7-0 lead to the hosts.
It was the Nuns though that would go on to control the next 30 minutes up to half time. As the pitch conditions worsened the Nuns started to play a successful kicking game. Long kicks from half backs Thomas and Vowles allowed them to move up the pitch and force the hosts into possession turn overs or mistakes as they tried to run the ball back.
On 19 minutes, from a lineout just outside the 22m the Nuns went through a few phases through tight runners and ‘pick and go’s’ when the ball was fed to number 8, Apo Satala, who showed great strength to ground the ball just to the side of the posts. Rory Vowles added the conversion to draw the Nuns level, 7-7.
The game continued for the next 15 minutes in the centre of the field with neither side really creating t0o much in the tricky conditions. It was the Nuns who were to strike next though. A box kick from Thomas on the half way was regathered just outside the home 22m. The Nuns then patiently edged closer to the line and 12 phases later it was Captain Elliott Brown who grounded the ball near the corner flag. Vowles’s conversion drifted across the posts but the Nuns now lead 12-7 after 34 minutes.
The Nuns were now in the ascendancy and again putting the hosts under some pressure. With the ball recycled just on the edge of the 22m Rory Vowles spotted a gap behind the defence and with a neat chip over he re-gathered his kick to cross behind the posts. He duly converted his try on the stroke of half time to give the Nuns a 19-7 lead.
The second half began under heavy rain fall and it was no surprise that the Nuns continued to play a percentage based game with plenty of kicks pinning the hosts deep in their territory. The elements determined that the play wasn’t going to be glamourous but the Nuns were started to exert pressure on the Lichfield line. A few penalties were won and the ball kicked to the corner, unfortunately the line out missed fired but the hosts couldn’t escape the pressure. The Nuns turned their attention to the set scrum and again won a couple of penalties.
They were held up over the line twice and knocked on at the base. A little more patience and accuracy would have secured the fourth try but it didn’t come and the host made their way up the pitch after a couple of penalties were conceded.
Lichfield managed to have the last score in the game, as they battled their way into the Nuns 22m. After some sterling defence the Nuns line was breached out wide and with the home fly half converting the score was 19-14 with 1 minute to play.
The Nuns kicked off and Lichfield began a 70m attack towards the line. Again though, the Nuns defence held strong and when the ball was turned over on half way the Nuns kicked off the pitch to end the game.
In tricky conditions the Nuns will be happy with the win but could they have secured a bonus pint try? Maybe. A good end to 2017 though and the team will be looking to continue good form as they have 4 home games during January.
Final Score – Lichfield 14 Nuneaton 19
Tries – Apo Satala, Elliott Brown, Rory Vowles
Conversions – Rory Vowles x 2