Nuns claim bonus point win over Syston
By Huw Thomas
3 wins in a row now for the Nuns
The Nuns made it 3 wins in a row on Saturday with a hard fought, but eventually, bonus point win over Syston 30-11. Although it had rained overnight and through the morning the pitch was in good condition if a little slippy and there was a slight breeze down the pitch which left playing conditions reasonable.
The hosts made a couple of changes to the squad with Sam Greening resting a knee injury, Ben Holmes
started at tight head prop with Ryan Leake
coming on to the bench and in the backs Tom Smitham
swapped places with Huw Thomas to start at scrum half.
It was the Nuns that kicked off the game and both teams looked to show their arm early in the game. Syston had the first chances after a couple of penalties at the break down and scrum saw them reach the hosts 22m for a lineout. Fortunately for the Nuns it was overthrown, Todd Bullions
caught and carried forward and the with the following kick pressure was relieved.David Melville
won a penalty for the Nuns at the breakdown, a theme that both sides continued throughout the game, and flyhalf Ben Cooper
put the ball to within 35m of the Syston line. This was the Nuns first real attacking platform. The line out was secured and then the ball moved to midfield crossing the gain line. Cooper then threw a wide miss pass out to Nemani Rayabo
who from 22m out and some fancy footwork, left his opposite man sitting on the floor and crossed the line for his frits try for the club. Conversion successful and 7-0 to the Nuns after 7mins.
Syston were next on the score board after a short period of kick tennis they attacked deep into the Nuns 22m and went through a number of phases before spreading the play wide to score in the corner, the conversion was missed but 7-5 after12 mins.
The Nuns were looking good in phase play but weren’t having their own way in set pieces. From another period of sustained attack though they pressurised the visitor’s line and when a penalty was awarded Cooper struck the ball through the posts to extend the lead to 10-5 after 21 minutes.
Straight from the kick off the Nuns failed to gather the ball and gave a penalty away. The next 8 minutes were spent manfully defending line out catch and drives and penalties in their 22m. The pressure finally told and Syston finally chose a shot at goal after struggling to break through the defensive lien. 10-8 after 29 minutes.
The next 8 minutes were almost a carbon copy of the last set. With the Nuns conceding a penalty and then being pegged in their 22m again, Syston exerted plenty of pressure but couldn’t break down a resolute defence. A penalty was kicked leaving the visitors with a slender 10-11 lead on 37 minutes.
The Nus did finish the half on a positive after maintaining some possession in and around the Syston 22m but a turn over 10m short of the line allowed the guests to clear the ball for half time.
The second half started out with both teams trying to get a strangle hold of the game but neither side asserting any dominance. The Nuns were first to score though on 51 minutes. A break down penalty was awarded and sent to touch 30m out. A catch and drive was set up and drive 15m forward. When brought to ground the ball was moved from the left-hand side through the back to the right and Rayabo created an extra man to feed the ball to Jackson Hughes
, who crossed for his first try of the season. The conversion was missed but the Nuns were back in to a lead that they would surrender, 15-11.
From the kick-off the ball was kicked down field by the nuns and the Syston scrum half went down awkwardly in a tackle when returning the ball. It looked a nasty injury and we wish him a speedy recovery if it turns out to be. From the resultant scrum the Nuns managed to put some tempo and direction into their play and after going through a number of phases and working the ball from side to side Rayabo was fed the last pass by Theo Knight
to cross for his try of the game in the corner. Conversion missed but the lead moved to 20-11 after 60 minutes.
4 minutes later and with a spring in their step the Nuns got back on the attack from a scrum in their own deep in their own half. Elliott Brown
made the first break carrying the ball 40m before feeding David Melville
who took it on to within 5m of the line. Two quick rucks later and with a pair of offloads from Moses Liwaliwa
and then Leigh Thompson
, Adie Hall
crossed for the bonus point try which Cooper converted. 27-11 after 64 minutes.
On the front foot again and then Nuns were awarded a penalty for offside in front of the posts 22m out which Cooper again converted to extend the lead to 30-11 on 70 minutes.
For the last 10 minutes Syston threw everything at the Nuns who lost a little discipline. They did gain a few penalties and came close to crossing the line, but the home defence held out and saw the game out.
A game that showed plenty of flashes of attacking potential when they upped the tempo and also a strong defence to keep a gritty Syston down to one try prevailed for the Nuns. The 5 points sees them move up to 6th in the league with 18 points and Syston remain 14th with 2 points.James Redman
, Dale Bowyer
, Ben Holmes
, Sam Wallis
, Wills Messum
, Todd Bullions
, David Melville
, Leigh Thompson
; Tom Smitham
, Ben Cooper
, Nemani Rayabo
, Moses Liwaliwa
, Elliott Brown
, Jackson Hughes
, Theo KnightRyan Leake
, Adie Hall
, Huw Thomas
Tries: Rayabo 2, Hughes, Hall
Cons: Cooper 2
Pens: Cooper 2