Nailsea & Backwell score late try to earn a draw
PUBLISHED: 10:23 24 January 2018 | UPDATED: 10:23 24 January 2018
© Ian Rice
Nailsea & Backwell scored a try with the last play of the match to earn at draw at home to Imperial.
Nailsea & Backwell 24 pts
Imperial 24 pts
On a dismally dank and wet day, Nailsea & Backwell welcomed Imperial to the West End ground.
The weather promised an arm wrestle with the forward-oriented Imperial side, but while that turned out to be somewhat true, the game was fascinatingly entertaining.
In the first 20 minutes honours were fairly even with Nailsea coming close with a held-up ball and forward last pass on separate occasions.
However, it was Nailsea who opened the scoring when from a line-out drive, Luke Caswell driving over and Dave Price converting. Minutes later from a well-fielded ball by Harvey Pike, who offloaded to Dickie Palmer to set up Dave Price to power over.
On the half-hour Imps responded when a good offload saw them go over. Nailsea then found good territory and from a maul set up from a line-out, Ryan Barrow crashed over, Price adding the extras making the half-time score 19-7.
Five minutes after the restart, Nailsea were penalised at a line-out and Imps gained good ground from the penalty kick. The inevitable maul was set up and Imps found space out wide to score.
Twenty minutes later Imps scored two tries in quick succession winning them the bonus point, one came from a scrum close to the Nailsea line where quick ball was fed wide, the other when the Imps scrum-half gave an imperious display of tactical box kicking to place his forwards close to the line for the inevitable maul.
However, Nailsea were not beaten and a couple of penalties found them positioned deep in the Imps 22 on the attack. With the electronic clock on the new scoreboard showing time was up and the last play was live, the Nailsea forwards went through a dozen pick and drive phases moving towards the posts a metre from the Imps line.
The ball control by Nailsea was just as impressive as the Imps stubborn defence, until young Nailsea scrum-half Cory Love (on his debut) decided it was time to go wide and a great line cut by winger Charlie Bircham Davies saw him go over to tie the match.
The conversion proved to be too far out to win the game, but Nailsea showed excellent spirit to snatch the draw from an Imperial side lying fourth in the table and whose players’ faces reflected a game lost rather than drawn.
Nailsea are away to Minehead on Saturday, kick-off 2.30pm.
Old Bristolian 3rd XV 21 pts
Nailsea & Backwell 2nd XV 22 pts
Due to the recent wet weather, the OBs pitches were deemed unplayable so the game was brought to Nailsea & Backwell to allow the match to go ahead.
Nailsea played down the hill from the off and were in for a battle with the big OB forwards holding the youthful home side at bay. With both teams playing on the edge, the referee constantly questioned both teams’ discipline and from one such infringement Nailsea opened the scoring.
From a quick tap penalty, Matt Heasman took contact drawing in the opposition defence allowing Nailsea to quickly move the ball wide to Reece Hulland, who outpaced his man to score in the corner.
Nailsea scored a second try on the quarter mark when from another penalty territory was found, but the ensuing line-out was over thrown allowing OB to kick clear. However wing Hulland collected the ball and offloaded to full-back Josh Le Ouedec, whose pace took him through the defence where upon contact his offload was gathered by Joe Swanson who crashed over from 10 yards.
With the half coming to a close, OB took advantage of poor Nailsea discipline and strung several phases together to score a converted try of their own.
But it was Nailsea who had the final say of the half when captain Ryan Love kicked through for winger Dom Gordon to chase, but OBs just managed to carry over for a five-metre scrum.
From here, Nailsea got the nudge on and scrum-half Matt Thomas offloaded to Liam Harris who crashed over from close range to give them a 15-7 lead at the break.
The second half was a result of further indiscipline by both sides and with the pitch becoming increasingly heavy, the youthful Nailsea backs were unable to take advantage of any possession won.
It was OBs playing down the hill with the bigger pack who had the better of play with a penalty try and a third try ground out by the forwards to take the lead for the first time.
With Nailsea staring at defeat, a last 10-minute rally gained a good spell of pressure, unfortunately discipline and small mistakes stole the show.
With time almost up, Nailsea finally strung several good phases together and with the fit young backs willing to push on, an OBs high tackle was deemed to have been a final result by the referee, who went under the sticks for an Nailsea penalty try which gave them a 22-21 bonus point lead.
Nailsea man of the match was Sam Cook, who tackled with ferocity and never lost his head when others did in what was a frustrating game to play in.