A freak cold snap descended upon Dockham Road for this Zoo Shield Clash between Cinderford United and Ampthill 2nd XV, Credit must go to both teams as they were willing to throw the ball around rather than go for the more conservative approach in such bitter conditions.
The home side featured centre Jack Adams returning from injury and Alex Frame who was back in his preferred position at scrum half. The United stretched the visitors defence but it held firm until 12 minutes in when Cinderford set the scrummage tone for the game with the referee awarding a penalty try in their favour. Tom Law converted for a 7-0 lead. United continued to stretch the Ampthill defence with some fantastic interplays between captain Al Bryan and notably fullback James Butler who illustrated great pace and footwork throughout the match. But it was the scrum once again that held the visitors in good stead. The United drove back on an Ampthill scrum 5m out and Alex Frame scooped up a loose ball off the back of the scrum to score. The conversion was missed but the lead was now 12-0.
Al Bryan bagged a try after a charge down on an opposition clearance kick allowing him run in unopposed. Alex Frame kept the visitors on their toes throughout showing his rapid pace, making several clean breaks throughout, and on thirty minutes a pop off the base of a scrum allowed winger Jack Richards to slide in at the corner for a fourth try. Law converted giving the home side a 24-0 at half time.
Hooker Sam Baker dotted down after a strong driving maul soon after the second half began. Law converted to make it 31-0. Play became loose and scrappy as the second half wore on with both teams visibly tiring. Matt Allcock was yellow carded and a missed tackle on Ampthill’s towering lock allowed him to gallop in unopposed on the 68th minute. The conversion made it 31-7. A loose ball was gathered by prop Jake Drinkwater who fed the ball to Harrison Yorke who finished with ease from fifty metres. Adams converted for a 38-7. Ampthill didn’t give up and continued throwing themselves at the United and they proved difficult to subdue and made several metres over the gain line but United’s defence held them out.
In the remaining minutes prop Jake Drinkwater happily finished off an excellent back of the line out move from 5m out for a seventh try. The visitor’s efforts were rewarded with the final play of the game with a strong driving maul and their flanker dotted down to the final score 43-12.
Team; James Butler, Jack Richards, Jack Adams, Alan Bryan (Captain), Harrison Yorke, Tom Law, Alex Frame, Joe Smart, Sam Baker, Jake Drinkwater, Angus Hodges, Sam Morse, Will Hodgetts, Matt Allcock, Jack Shields. Replacements (all used); Rob Groves, Toby Farrier, Matt Lane, Terence Babarinsa.