A cruel defeat for valiant Nuns
A cruel defeat for valiant Nuns
Nuns 20 Peterborough Lions 21.
Injuries to regular starters Tom Smitham and Elliott Brown, and the non availability of Richard Johnston plus the late withdrawal of Tom Ahern meant a hastily reorganised team took to the field for this clash with the second best team in Midlands Premier.
From the start the Nuns showed their attacking intentions taking the game to the visitors. Sweeping the ball wide full back Ben Kirby was put in the clear and easily outpaced a ponderous defence to score a try which Rory Vowles converted. Nuns then wasted two attacking opportunities. A crooked throw in at a line out deep in the Lions 22 and lost possession on another occasion stopped them adding to their 7 point lead. The Lions eventually got their hands on the ball but the Nuns tackled resolutely easily kept the visitors at bay. Nuns continued to dominate play – holding their own in the set scrum and threatening to out speed a surprisingly pedestrian Lions back line.
Nuns were retaining the ball well in close counter attacks. On 39 minutes the Nuns suffered their first yellow card. Rudi Reid was adjudged to have tackled the jumper at a line out 5 metres from the tryline and had to temporarily leave the field. Peterborough couldn’t take immediate advantage and the half drew to a close when the Nuns holding a 7 point lead. Encouraged and marshalled by Coach Huw Thomas, the Nuns had put together a first half performance that surpassed their high flying rivals.
Despite being down to 14 men, the Nuns opened the second half as they had the first - on the attack. At a Lions lineout they won a penalty and Vowles stepped up and extended the Nuns lead to 10-0. Just one minute later and the Nuns further extended their lead. After a strong run by Ben Kirby, Scott Makepeace took a pass and galloped over for a try in the corner which was not converted. Vowles then missed a very kickable penalty as the Nuns continue to dominate. With Reid back on the Nuns continued to press with a kick ahead which was fumbled by the Lions defence for a Nuns lineout. On 68 minutes a Nuns counter attack led by Vowles ended with his cross field kick outsmarting the Lions defence for Jackson Hughes to win the chase to the touchdown. Vowles missed the conversion and the Nuns had a 20-0 lead. A loose ball 35 metres from the Nuns touch line was picked up by Lions No.8 Vaha Halaifanua and he trundled in for a try which Nico Defeo converted. With injured players being replaced and players playing out of position the Nuns went into add on time having to defend in depth.
Two minutes later Huw Thomas received a yellow card for a deliberate knock on close to the tryline and with him went the ability to organise an under pressure defence. Lions saw their chance and from close in scrum half Thomas Dougherty went over for a try which Defeo converted. Eight minutes into add on time and the Nuns could not hold a now rampant Lions team. Full back Dan Malem ran through a tired Nuns defence and with Defeo’s successful conversion all Lions players and supporters celebrated enthusiastically this remarkable turnaround. There was still a further 2 minutes of play as the referee extended the second half to 50 minutes before he blew the final whistle.
This was an agonising defeat for the Nuns. They more than matched a high flying Peterborough Lions team and only very late in the game did they succumb to the narrowest of defeats.
Ben Holmes, Callum Grant-Smith, Jon Patemen, Matt Gibbs, Scott Makepeace, Rudi Reid, Todd Bullions, Adie Hall,
Huw Thomas, Rory Vowles, Ryan Southall, Moses Liwaliwa, Apo Satala, Jackson Hughes, Ben Kirby,
Ryan Leake, Dan Oselton, and Adam Stauvers.
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