Nelson RFC | 1st Team 28 - 13 Dowlais RFC | 1st Team

Match Report
13 October 2023 / Team News

30/09/2023 Nelson v Dowlais Admiral National League 1 EAST Match Report ...

Nelson Vs Dowlais 30/09/2023 Match Report


Dowlais: 13

Nelson: 28

Another defeat for Dowlais this week away over in Nelson.

Nelson got off to an aggressive start in the early stages of the match, putting Dowlais under some heavy pressure in the opening minutes, but despite a few close calls, the home side wouldn’t be the ones to take the first points of the match.

The first strike on the score board would instead come from Dowlais shortly after managing to pull away from their twenty-two in the form of a penalty, kicked by Sion Martin.

Things would ease off following Dowlais setting their 3-0 lead, with the action hovering around the halfway line and outside of both sides’ twenty-twos for some time.

While Dowlais managed to keep themselves out of any perilous situations like the one they’d found themselves in at the start of the match, they wouldn’t be able to extend their lead even after a long period of possession and a few prolonged attacks on Nelson’s defence.

Instead, the next points would go to Nelson, eating away at all of Dowlais’ lead with a penalty of their own, bringing the score to an even 3-3.

With a good chunk of the first half gone, both sides were determined to finally get a try under their belts to start pushing ahead. Perhaps surprisingly considering the aggression they’d shown at the beginning of the match, Nelson didn’t mount many attacks on the Dowlais defence, and the few that they did didn’t get very far.

Instead, Dowlais dominated the latter stages of the half in terms of possession and especially in terms of attack, with the action straying closer and closer to Nelson’s try line.

But despite a massive amount of possession, an equal amount of pressure and several nail-bitingly close attempts, Dowlais didn’t manage to get the try they needed to shoot ahead.

Their first major attempt came painfully close, with an excellent chain of passes and a close try ultimately being disallowed by an earlier forward pass. But having built up a bit of fire and momentum following these moves and Nelson being struck with a yellow card shortly after, Dowlais seemed to be in prime position to make up for it.

But unfortunately, none of those successive attempts would fare any better and Dowlais ultimately failed to get much of anything on the board while their opponents were one man down other than another penalty, kicked once again by Sion Martin.

However, even that slight lead was short-lived, as Nelson were soon granted another penalty of their own, bringing things right back to even once again at 6-6.

Dowlais would take another valiant shot at the Nelson try line, however that one was also thwarted by a forward pass in equally painful fashion.

Although they challenged the home side with a few more close attempts in the twilight of the half, these too would all fail to hit their mark. And while Nelson would also leave the half behind without a try, they did manage to finally take the lead with a late penalty, bringing the first half to an end at a close 9-6.

While the half hadn’t been disastrous by any means and the score gap was far from unsalvageable, it was clear that Dowlais were feeling quite frustrated with having nothing to show for their onslaught of attacks and sizeable chunk of possession, as well as having dropped their lead in the dying minutes thanks to just one of many penalties.

They’d fumbled a lot of chances in the first half, and if they wanted any chance of reclaiming and then solidifying a lead, they needed to score first and needed to do so quickly.

But unfortunately, things wouldn’t at all end up going that way, as the honour of the first try of the game would not only go to Nelson, but would also be touched down in the opening seconds of the second half.

With the following conversion finding its way in-between the posts, the score rose to 16-6, and Dowlais were left with a much more daunting points gap to bridge.

However, the situation wouldn’t get any better from this point on. Following Nelson’s first try, Dowlais’ attack seemed to lose its fire, not hitting the home side with the same pressure that they had during the first half and ultimately keeping the game in the visitors’ half.

And sadly, Nelson’s first try would in fact only end up being their first, as the home side would add two more to their tally over the course of the rest of the half, one converted, one unconverted, with each one pushing their score higher and higher out of reach, eventually plateauing at a daunting 28-6.

As the second half settled into its final stages, it seemed all but certain that a comeback was something that Dowlais simply didn’t have enough time for.

But to the boys’ credit, they didn’t back down from the struggle or go gently into the night, and continued fighting until the very end.

This grit and perseverance was ultimately rewarded with the try that they’d sought for the entire game, finally being touched down by Rhys Wilkins and converted by Sion Martin, biting away at some of Nelson’s vast lead.

Although Nelson seemed determined to land one last killing blow and secure their fourth try, the Dowlais defence managed to hold it together until the final whistle, preventing them from claiming their bonus point and leaving the score at a final resting place of 28-13.

But while Dowlais did well to hold out like they did and at least salvage something from the end of the game, it was ultimately a small victory in a mostly weak performance.

While a lot of the blame can be levied at their failure to capitalise on any of the numerous try opportunities they had in the first half and failing to make the most of the time when Nelson was a man down, those had merely prevented them from pulling ahead when they could have.

The real end of Dowlais’ chances came with the tries that they conceded (some quite easily) during the early stages of the second half. They’d already been struggling to pull ahead the entire game, and widening the lead they had to overcome from a paltry three points to a staggering twenty two quickly took the task out of the realm of possibility.

Once more, penalties remained a scourge on Dowlais’ efforts to gain ground, while the three penalties kicked by Nelson in the first half allowed them to keep the score even throughout most of the half before allowing them to pull ahead near the end, ultimately leading to the insurmountable lead that they’d soon place on their visitors over the course of the following forty minutes.

Hopefully the boys can shoot for a victory next time after the upcoming week’s break when they face Brynmawr.


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