Nuns 1st XV slip to another defeat...
By Daniel Everett
Nuns 1st XV slip to another defeat...
Nuns 15 Bridgnorth 33.
Injuries to regular starters and non availability of players continued to plague Huw Thomas’ team selection. There were 7 faces missing from the side that started the last game at Bournville. Back from injury though were Danny Southall, Tom Aherne and Ben Kirby and making his first appearance in a Nuns first team shirt was Tiarnan Kelly.
In surprisingly good underfoot conditions the Nuns went in search of their first win since beating Old Halesonians on February 2nd. It didn’t start well, conceding three penalties in the first 3 minutes but the visitors failed to take advantage. The Nuns then sprung into attacking mode and on 7 minutes after good interplay amongst the forwards Ben Kirby in space eluded two covering tacklers to score an excellent try. Huw Thomas’ conversion attempt drifted wide. With both sides using their forwards to advance it was the visitors’ pack that looked the stronger particularly at the set scrum. Fourteen minutes played and Bridgnorth drew level. Powerful running and swift passes gave full back Matt Farrington space on the outside and he scored in the corner. Llew Williams missed the conversion. The initiative was now with the visitors but the Nuns defence held up under the pressure. However, the Nuns were about to be hit with a blow that would turn the game in Bridgnorths favour. Referee Sarah Toll adjudged Nuns’ Huw Thomas to have deliberately knocked on and was sent from the field for 10 minutes. Without their chief organiser the Nuns soon went behind. Firstly the visitors pack created space and Williams cut through to score a try which he converted. Barely 2 minutes later a break out saw replacement Will Biddell go over and when Williams added the conversion the visitors had a 14 points lead. Nuns were still in the game but threw away a good attacking opportunity with a poor lineout routine and Bridgnorth were able to clear the danger. In first half add on time the visitors went further ahead. Swift handling sent scrum half Gaz Blades in for a try and Williams added the conversion to give Bridgnorth a flattering 26-5 interval lead.
Whatever was said by the Nuns’ coaches at the break had immediate effect as the homeside went on the attack. Tom Smitham weaved his way deep into the visitors half and Kirby was on hand to round off the move with a try under the posts. His second try of the game and with the conversion the scoreboard had a respectable look about it at 12-26. Bridgnorth continued with their powerful running and offloads but could not convert their advantage into points. Ten minutes into the half and Nuns were unlucky to have a Tom Aherne try disallowed for crossing.
They continued to attack with their backs and Thomas kicked a penalty to bring them to within 11 points. Any thoughts of a memorable comeback were quickly extinguished. After a bout of continual pressure in Nuns 22, “Man of the Match” Llew Williams stormed through to score his second try and with his conversion settled the result of the game. Despite their obvious limitations the Nuns battled on using their replacements in an attempt to narrow the gap. Near the end the Nuns suffered a cruel blow. Ben Kirby left the field with an ankle injury that subsequently needed a hospital visit and probably rules him out for the rest of the season. Another name to add to the long list of players currently on the injured list. A brave show by a Nuns side that won the second half 10-7, but the first half yellow card cost them dear. With many inexperienced players at this level, the Nuns nevertheless gave it their all.
Ben Holmes, Callum Grant-Smith, Sam Greening, Rudi Reid, Tom Aherne, Arron Skryme, Danny Southall, Todd Bullions (capt),
Tom Smitham, Huw Thomas, Adam Stauvers, Moses Liwaliwa, Ben Kirby, Manasa Volaikisuva, Jackson Hughes,
Dan Oselton, Sam Wallis and Tiarnan Kelly.
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