Nuns get season off to strong start with a bonus point win on the road.
The Nuns got their new season off to the perfect start with a bonus point, 34-22 win away to Market Harborough. As they start life in a new division it was an encouraging start against opponents that finished 4th in the league last season and who had the best defensive record.
Played in sweltering conditions, on a picture perfect pitch, the Nuns kicked off in to a breeze as the game got underway. Both sides started to sound each other out and the hosts showed a strength at scrum time that they looked to exploit and the Nuns were looking to keep the ball moving around the pitch when possible.
As the Nuns got themselves into some good field position, they won a penalty which was kicked into the corner. From the resulting lineout catch and drive, the forwards worked hard and Fin Aherne was bulldozed across the line for the first try of the season. Converted by Lucas Brindley, who had a fine day off the tee, to give them a 0-7 lead after 13mins.
It didn’t take the hosts long to hit back though. From an attacking scrum in the Nuns 22m, they worked the ball nicely down the blindside for their winger to score and converted to bring the score to 7all after 18mins.
Un-wavered, the Nuns came battling back and after some positive line breaks and continuity the ball was worked wide between back and forwards for Harry Beverley to collect and finish off from about 15m out, again Brindley got the extras to put the Nuns back in the lead 7-14 after 23mins.
The game showed no sign of slowing down and the host came back again with their own pressure and moved the ball wide to score again, this time going unconverted leaving the score at 12-14 on 27mins.
As the heat started to have an effect on players, scoring slowed down but both sides showing good endeavour. The Nuns lost Matt Foxon to a knee injury with the evergreen Chris Smith entering the field.
Market Harborough finished the half with more pressure and again scored out wide with an added conversion to take the halftime lead 19-14.
The hosts restarted the game and a healthy crowd watched on in anticipation. The Nuns put some good kicks and worked the ball well through the hands to take play down to the 22m where there pressure forced a penalty for Brindley to put through the posts. 19-17 after 48mins.
The penalty count started to build against the hosts as possession was recycled and pressure forced by the Nuns. This led to a yellow card for the home scrum half on 52mins but the Nuns couldn’t capitalise on their field position this time. Market Harborough actually came away with the only points when down to 14 with a penalty kick scored taking the score to 22-17 on 59mins.
However, the extra work when down to 14 men, the energy sapping heat, good fitness levels of the Nuns and a defence that was now in control all seemed to combine to give the Nuns some control for the last 30mins. With Harborough struggling to cross the half way as the Nuns defence repelled attacks they got punished with an increasing penalty count. On 65minutes a penalty was put into the left hand corner. Line out ball was secured and from the ensuing catch and drive Danny Southall dotted the ball down with Brindley adding the extras. The Nuns now led 24-22 and it was a lead they wouldn’t give up.
Harborough tried to battle on but on 78mins it was a repeat with a penalty put to the corner and Southall came away with his second try from the resulting line out and maul. With a conversion added the lead was now 22-31.
In the dying moments of the game with the hosts trying to salvage something they were again penalised on their 22m line. Brindley stepped up to finish the game off with 3 more points to take his haul to 14 for the day and secure the Nuns a 5-point bonus point win.
This was a hard fought game throughout against a team that will be pushing for success throughout the season. The players deserve credit for perseverance and work rate but understand it’s just one small piece in a big puzzle.
1 James Redman 2 Toby Dearden 3 Fin Aherne 4 Rudi Reid 5 Matt Foxon 6 Todd Bullions 7 Dan Southall 8 George Wallis 9 Tom Smitham 10 Lucas Brindley 11 Harry Beverley 12 Tom Eales 13 Stewart Davies 14 Ryan Southall 15 Travis Bennett; 16 Huw Thomas 17 Chris Smith 18 Tom Sumner
The Saxons made it over to Syston with 14 warriors on Saturday in their first league game to. In a spirited performance the scores were level after 65 minutes but Syston had the luxury of subs and pulled away to win 40-26. Coach Arron Skyrme was full of praise for his side and also stated that they battled from start to finish, scored some excellent tries and never gave in. It was also encouraging to see so many players in the squad that have come out of the Colts in the last couple of years.