On a day when Welsh hearts were heavy following the semi final loss to France in the World Cup it seemed that Llanishen were still in shock when they took to the pitch against Nelson being very slow to come out of the blocks and gifting the opposition a large first half lead.
After just 5 minutes Nelson drove a line out towards the Llanishen line and when the drive was halted spun the ball through the backs and went over in the corner for the opening score of the game. From the restart Nelson immediately attacked again and after winning a scrum on Llanishen’s 22m went further ahead on 8 minutes with a neatly taken drop goal. With eight minutes gone and eight points conceded things got even worse on 15 minutes when Nelson picked up and went over for another try from a close range scrum which was duly converted to take to score to 15-0 and keep up Nelson’s strike rate of a point a minute.
One minute later Llanishen had the opportunity to open their account but missed the penalty attempt and then on 19 minutes from a line out on Llanishen’s 10m line, Nelson moved the ball through the backs and some poor Llanishen tackling allowed the visitors to score in the corner. The conversion was successful taking the score to 22-0 after 20 minutes.
Llanishen then started to wake from their slumber and after a patient attack going through the phases won a penalty in front of the posts for hands in the ruck which outside half Phil Thomas slotted between the posts to take the score to 22-3 with 10minutes of the half remaining.
As the half moved into injury time prop Denis Pugh
replaced injured second row Owen Parkhouse. Seven minutes into injury time Nelson kicked ahead and when full back Bonner was unable to clear the ball the visitor went over for another try but missed the conversion to make the score 27-3. Incredibly this was not the last play of the game and on 49 minutes Llanishen won another penalty which Phil converted to take the half time score to 27-6 and the players prepared to face the wrath of coaches Woody and Simmo.
Llanishen started the second half in much better form and with new faces as injuries forced changes with flanker John Southcott
replacing flanker Dan
Coombs but also hooker Mike Dacey
replacing flanker Ben Howie
which required another reshuffle of the pack. A good break from centre Nigel Gumbleton showed Llanishen’s intent but the support play was not quite quick enough and a penalty was given away which allowed Nelson to clear. After 8 minutes of the half Llanishen made their final change with Matt Lewis replacing Gonzo at scrum half.
After being awarded a penalty on 10 minutes Llanishen kicked to the corner and launched a series of attacks which resulted in the Nelson blind side flanker being sin binned. Llansihen kicked to the corner but couldn’t capitalise from the line out however four minutes later Llanishen took a quick penalty and recycled the ball quickly from the breakdown to enable Phil Thomas to go in for the home sides first try which the outside half then converted to take the score to 27-13 in Nelson’s favour.
Just five minutes later good chasing work by Matt Lewis allowed the ball to reach young Gumby who broke the defensive line and fed winger Shep who was held up just short but hooker Gwion Rees
now playing on the flank was on hand to take the ball over for a try. Phil converted to take the score to 20-27 which brought Llanishen right back into the game.
Llanishen continued to press forward but couldn’t find a way through but with 35 minutes of the second half gone the Nelson No.6 barged tackled without wrapping the arms round which resulted in his second yellow card of the match and therefore a red card reducing Nelson to 14 men for the remainder of the game.
As per the first half the referee was playing a generous amount of injury time and with 5 minutes of injury time gone Nelson were awarded a penalty which they kicked making the score 30-20 and it looked like Llanishen wouldn’t even come away from the game with a losing bonus point. However, there was still time for the restart from which Llanishen were awarded a penalty which Phil Thomas kicked to take the score to 23-30 which secured the losing bonus point.
This was definitely a game of two halves and the coaches will be looking for the team to put in an 80 minute performance and come out all guns blazing in next week’s match against league leaders and local rivals St Peters.