<![CDATA[Torrential rain, thunder and lightning didn't sour the spirits of the 3rd XV at Sunnybrooke Park. Buccaneers were celebrating their 40th anniversary and club day with two hard fought wins over Saracens and were looking to make history by having a third win – Bucs rarely get three men’s sides on one day. The game was sloppy, the ball was quite slippery. At halftime, Nomads were up 12-5, courtesy of returning players Joe and Adonis. In the second half, Buc’s bolstered their scrum and began to dominate (helped by some very unusual calls by the ref, he must have a different rule book). Each time they scored, the boys in blue got one back, which kept them ahead by a converted try. The final score was 24-22 with Joe running in a hat-trick and kicking two goals. Best on ground honours went to Sean Quentin, who is enjoying a renaissance at club-level rugby.
Nomads 2nd XV kicked off with optimism knowing they were rid of Texas for a week. Mehdi got a little over-excited and kicked the mud instead of the ball, the disgusted ref saying enough is enough and ending the match as an official 5-5 draw. Man of the match was God for his fantastic lightning show and sound effects.
After an uncertain pre-game wait, the 1st XV ran onto a field that was more water than land. The wet weather was likely to limit the attacking flair of both sides, but Nomads didn’t get that memo. Dominating possession and territory, a strong touch finder from Romain led to a turnover in the pack, which in turn gave the backline a good shot at the line. Evergreen flyhalf Alisdair didn’t even need his outside backs, running around the Pagan defense and under the posts for the opening try of the match. The in-form 10 then added the extra two points himself for a 7-0 lead early on. For their part, Peterborough played an effective game plan of cutting up the middle, splitting the Nomad defense in two. It paid off quickly after the restart, with slippery conditions giving their backs a run through the tacklers for a responsive seven-pointer. It seems the early to mid-season slump in which Nomads had plenty of kick-offs actually had some benefits; a good chase leading to a well-earned turnover and more territory. Once again, the pack did the job and laid on good ball for Manto to feed the backline, a neat move putting Romain over just wide of the uprights, but not too wide for Ali’s boot – 14-7 to Toronto. A shootout in wet weather would usually be three pointers all day, but with clearing skies and cooler than usual conditions, the end-to-end scoring was of the major variety, Peterborough hitting back not long after. Fortunately for the Nomads, the conversion was missed and the first real advantage of the game swung in the blue and white favour. To add to that advantage, Evan Underwood got his try before half-time, with Ali adding the extra two points – 21-12 at the half time break.
The second half should have been a lot freer flowing with tiring legs and a dry ball, but shoulds have no place in reality. A midfield slugfest ensued, and the players started feeling the battle. Jake’s recovering ankles gave way after the lanky lock put in an Eales-esque shift, hat-monger Aussie Mike taking his place in his 17th comeback this season. Next was Welsh No.8 Rob, who twisted his knee. More brawn than brains, he tried to play on, only to fall over again in the next play. Roman came on for him, thinking he was finally getting his shot at No.8. It was not to be as the more adept captain Ronan moved to the back row, the aging front rower taking his place where he belongs. Roman was on the field for about 45 seconds and lucky to make it longer as he got caught up in some shadow boxing with Peterborough’s token ginger – to be fair, it was meant to be actual boxing, but neither party had the skills. Speaking of 45 seconds, that was about all Tomas had left in him at this point. The Argentine hooker needed to have some milk and a little lie down so he made way for rookie Deishawn who has a very bright future in the game, so long as he stops trying to take out his own team mates. Steve Rowlands also made way for the fresh legs of Vu, and the Zimbabwean Zinger did everything like a professional.
Peterborough peppered the Nomads goal line for what seemed like an afternoon, but took nothing for their efforts, tackles being made left, right and centre. Adding to the tackling some well-earned penalties got the Nomads up field and a crisp lineout throw from Deishawn met the safe hands of Steve Parfitt at the back of the lineout after the flanker had come on late in the match. A quick tap down to Young Ryan, who had come on for Manto’s hamstring, followed by a passing move through the entire backline saw Romain get his second of the match in the corner, and Ali’s first miss with the boot. A tight second half ending with a sole five-pointer to the home side, and a bonus point win to help jump above the visitors on the table into fourth place. Man of the match went to Felix, who just edged out his fellow hard working flanker Kaveh. It should be said, every single player in a Nomad jersey played to the standard that is expected.]]>