PDMS Southern Nomads battled it out with Prenton in the Cheshire Plate final held at New Brighton R.U.F.C.
Prenton started strongly in the first twenty minutes with an eagerness to win the Plate at their third attempt in as many years. Their efforts were rewarded with a fifth minute penalty which their fullback converted to give them a 3 – 0 lead. PDMS Nomads responded with a penalty of their own to level the scores at 3 – 3 following Prenton being caught offside.
From the restart the game became quite scrappy with a number of knock-on’s. Powerful running from the base of the Prenton scrums resulted in a well worked try from some hard work and forward drives around the fringes of the rucks, with the fullback adding the extras to make it 3 – 10 to Prenton. This was soon followed up by another penalty to Prenton to make it 3 -13. Towards the end of the first half PDMS Nomads had most of the ball and spent the last five minutes of the half camped out on the Prenton five metre line but were unable to turn this pressure into points. The half ended 3 – 13 to Prenton however during this period the referee lost patience with some persistent high tackling from Prenton and sent their number 4 to the sin bin for ten minutes.
The second half saw PDMS Nomads continuing to have the greater share of possession with the pack taking advantage of being a man up to put pressure on the Prenton scrum and began to push them backwards. The back row continued to turn over Prenton possession in the rucks and disrupt Prenton’s lineout ball and prevent them having clean ball.
The dominance in the forwards allowed the backs to throw the ball around and gain territory with some good running lines. The PDMS Nomads forwards won quick ball in the ruck from which Dave Horan produced a miss pass to get the ball out to the centre where some quick hands opened up the defensive line allowing Dave Caldwell to run through the gap and score a try. A Duncan Miller conversion brought the PDMS Nomads to within 3 points of Prenton.
With twenty minutes to go another penalty for offside gave PDMS Nomads a chance to level the scores. Duncan Miller duly converted the points to level the scores and set up a tense finish.
Following a kick to relieve pressure a strong chasing run from centre Harry Bereton made their winger kick the ball into touch right in front of the travelling PDMS Nomads support when there was a clear opportunity to secure and recycle the ball. This delighted the travelling fans who had been drowning out any noise the Prenton fans could muster. PDMS Nomads began to feed off the atmosphere in the ground and began to really take control.
The continued pressure from PDMS Nomads won another penalty but with their first choice kicker on the sidelines Dave Caldwell was unable to take the points.
With only five minutes left on the clock the crowd were on the edge of their seats and as vocal as ever. Ben White who had come on for scrum half Dave Horan but was playing centre in a reshuffled back line received the ball just outside the Prenton 22m line and with supporting runners drawing in defenders managed to jink his way through two attempted tackles to run in under the posts. The conversion was missed leaving the scores at 18 -13 to PDMS Nomads.
For the next three minutes Prenton piled on the pressure to try and produce a winning score. The aggressive defence from the PDMS Nomads won them a turnover which Captain Ste McHugh ran it out before offloading to the backline who seeing the clock had run to forty minutes kicked it into touch to secure the win.
Unfortunately the ref had an additional minute on his watch for stoppages. PDMS Nomads still had some work to do to finish the game off, with Prenton winning their own ball in the resulting lineout and running it in through the 10 channel PDMS Nomads managed to turn it over for Mark Young to kick it into touch to end the game and spark a pitch invasion and a streaker to begin the nights celebrations for a historic win for both PDMS Southern Nomads Rugby Club and Manx rugby.
PDMS Southern Nomads
Tries: David Caldwell, Ben White
Conversions: Duncan Miller (1)
Penalties: Duncan Miller (2)
CHAMPIONE , CHAMPIONE !!