Cinderford United put in a perfect performance in the first twenty minutes dominating at set piece, showing ambition in attacking play despite the bitterly cold wind. Cinderford scored within five minutes, quick hands from fly half Mark Davies and Captain Al Bryan put winger Nathan Green into the corner for a 7-0 lead. Green was over for his second score a minute later, some skilful footwork cut through the Highlanders defence and the winger dived under the posts. Davies converted, United were up by 12 points after ten minutes. Both sides suffered from handling errors due to the conditions but United looked the more dominant side for the majority of the first half. Joe Smart drove over off after a ten metre shove from the pack, Davies converted and United led 19-0.

It took nearly thirty minutes for the visitors to score, Highlanders fly-half showed his maverick flair, after Will Hodgetts was shown a yellow card, five metres out from United’s line, he sent a cross-field kick to the right winger who collected for an easy run in, the Highlanders fly half slotted the touchline conversion 19-7. The opposition looked dangerous on the counter attack but defensive pressure from the home side held them out. The home side rounded off the first half with another passage of hard carrying from the forwards, eighteen year old number eight Jack Shields burrowed over on the half time whistle, 24-7.

Errors from both sides continued into the second half but United showed their dominance, the forwards relentless powering over the gain line led to a strong break by Jack Shields who popped the ball to Toby Farrier to score, fly-half Davies converted 31-7. The Highlanders were not out of the game, they began to threaten as the defensive line started to strain. A strong run by their inside centre, fed their right winger into the corner, conversion was missed 31-12. Their twelve continued to cause havoc, a missed tackle allowed him to trot in under the posts, Scottish converted 31-19 with fifteen minutes left. United hit back, Davies chipped ahead for outside centre Stef Hawley to score United’s final try of the game, Davies converted 38-19 with eight minutes left. There was still time for one final score, after quick tap penalty their twelve broke through the line and rounded of the match with his second score. Full time score 38-26

Team; Tom Law, Liam Littleton, Stefan Hawley, Al Bryan (Captain), Nathan Green (Jack Richards), Mark Davies, Danny Pointon, Michael Davies (Jake Drinkwater), Rob Groves (Jamie Baglin), Joe Smart, Toby Farrier (Chris Morse), Milo Reynolds, Chris Morse (Sam Morse), Will Hodgetts, Jack Shields. Replacements (not used); Zac Hinds, Angus Hodges.

Paul Morris spoke afterwards “the players showed their class and in the first twenty minutes we were outstanding. I’m more than happy with the performance”. Morris said the handling errors were to be expected in the conditions, praising the squad for their enthusiasm and execution as a team despite the time limits during the week. United’s win rounded off a perfect weekend for the club, with the 1st XV winning away against Tynedale and the Bucks beating Dursley 3rds at home. Morris said “all round a good day at Cinderford Rugby club”.

 

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