Cinderford almost pulled off a remarkable recovery against Blackheath at the Rectory Field, but ultimately they paid the price for a horrendous opening 28 minutes which saw them concede 33 unanswered points.
In perfect playing conditions early unforced errors from the visitors were to set the tone for what followed as Blackheath quickly took advantage with kick ahead and chase saw winger Oyoni Gbla outpace the cover defence to touchdown for the opening try, after just four minutes of play, with Alex Gallagher adding the conversion. The hosts then kicked a penalty to the corner and from the ensuing lineout they drove over for a second try from flanker Dave Allen, with Gallagher adding the conversion.
Worse was to follow for Cinderford when they failed to secure possession from their own attacking lineout and Blackheath kicked back deep into their opponents 22. Visiting No8 George Evans was yellow carded for coming in at the side of the ruck, and once again the home side set up a catch and drive from which Allen emerged to claim his second try. Wave after wave of attacks followed as the hosts continued to take advantage of the extra man. Home centre Markus Burcham was next to score an excellent try as the Londoners tore through in mid-field to secure their bonus point try after just 25 minutes of play, Gallagher converting.
A fifth try soon followed when prop forward James Cleverley forced his way over from close range, with Gallagher again adding the extras. Cinderford were looking shell-shocked at this stage, but with the return of Evans they finally put together some promising phases of play, and as half-time approached winger Sam Baker showed good skills to go around his opposite number and score an unconverted try.
The second-half saw the visitors continue to transform their fortunes, with centre Sam Hanks crossing for a well taken try, before Baker raced down the touchline to claim his second score, both of which were unconverted.
The revival suffered a setback though when replacement outside-half Lloyd Evans was harshly yellow carded, and Blackheath once again took advantage of the extra man to score a sixth try through Jesse Liston to make it 38-15 to the home side after 63 minutes of play. Back came Cinderford and a series of pick and goes from the forwards eventually led to George Evans crashing over for his side’s bonus point try, which Charlie Norman converted.
A fine break from the returning Lloyd Evans then created the opportunity for Hanks to score his second try, which Evans converted with five minutes remaining. However time ran out on Cinderford’s brave come back and they were left to reflect on that opening 28 minutes.
Cinderford: M.Wilcox, S.Hawley, C.Norman, S.Hanks, S.Baker, M.Davies, A.Frame, A.Gordas, L.Cole, E.Booley, L.Randall, M.Reynolds, G.Mills, C.McNeil, G.Evans. Repls all used; J.Smart, D.Wheeler, R.Birkin, L.Evans, C.Stuart-Smith.