Lots of new faces assembled on time for the first City league fixture of the season. Spirits were high and all appeared to go well with pre match preparation the only thing missing was the opposition. The result was a delayed kick off and extended warm up – the latter being the worst nightmare for well summered forwards and backs alike.
Lloyd’s started the game well spending the opening 30 minutes camped in the opposition 22. However, due to same dogged defence from the Nomads combined with turnovers and handling errors by Lloyd’s, the pressure yielded no points.
After half an hour and against the run of play following the Nomads first visit to the Lloyd’s 22 the deadlock was broken. Determined running from the Nomads back row and missed tackles by Lloyd’s lead to a score under the posts. The conversion was added.
Lloyd’s hit back almost immediately through a try finished off by Freer following some direct running in the midfield and excellent recycling from the forwards. Conversion missed. 7-5 to the Nomads.
Lloyd’s continued to push forward and look by far the better team. Freer again broke through following some good defence by Lloyd’s in their own 22 only to be pulled back off the ball chasing his own kick which would surely have seen him gallop in. The infringement went unpunished much to the disappointment of the Lloyds’ support.
Justice was done just before half time when Lloyd’s went over courtesy of a try from Sam Martin. All on the side line agreed the loss of his “grizzly” beard has made him much more dynamic and effective around the field. Tom Gregory stepped up to add the extras. 12-7 to Lloyd’s.
After a frustrating first half for Lloyd’s the half time whistle couldn’t come soon enough. Unfortunately the Nomads team weren’t prepared to give in and grabbed their second try 2 minutes into time added on at the end of the first half. Once again as a result of some limp Lloyd’s defence.
Half time: 14 -12 to the Nomads.
Lloyd’s made a whole host of changes at half time replacing the majority of their back line. The general consensus was we needed to tighten up the contact areas both in attack and defence. Numerous turnovers when in possession during the first half had prevented us from putting the points on the board our possession merited. Our lacklustre defence had gifted the opposition 2 scores.
The second half got off to a fiery start with a crunching tackle flying in from Tom Berril on his opposite man. Guy House, on at fly half, then made one of his characteristically winding runs deep into Nomad territory before possession was again turned over and the nomads were let off the hook.
With 55 minutes on the clock the Nomads crossed for their third try after a string of penalties conceded by Lloyd’s gave them easy territory. The conversion was missed. 19 – 12 to the Nomads.
Lloyd’s were unable to find their fluency and became increasingly frustrated by their inability to string more than a few phases together before turning the ball over or being penalised for breaches at the contact area. Added to this the Nomad pack continued to be very physical at ruck and maul. Whilst Lloyd’s had plenty of cover for the backline the forwards were not as fortunate and fatigue began to set in.
Fearsome hits by the front row of Martin, Owers and the returning Baird signalled that Lloyd’s were not prepared to give in. Lloyd’s got their reward in the 80th minute with a try and conversion from House bringing the scores level at 19 -19.
Indeed Lloyd’s had an opportunity to win the game with a penalty some 35 metres from the posts but elected to go for the corner. The final whistle went and the honours were shared.
There were many positives to take from the game including the great response from new members with 9 debutants featuring in the fixture. Thank you to all those who played. We’ll need a massive effort in the remaining group games in order to secure progression to the business end of the tournament. To those who were not available I would urge you to get involved as soon as possible and lay down your marker for the knock-out stages and future tours. The game showed we have an awful lot of quality new talent in the market this year and competition for places will be intense.
An email for the next fixture against Deloitte on the 14th October at Charlton Park will follow shortly.