Cinderford produced a gutsy performance but they were unable to overcome an Esher side that boasts a 100% home record this season, and had to settle for a losing bonus point.

A strong run from home No8 Mike Macfarlane created the chance for scrum-half Ollie Frost to open the scoring in the 2nd minute. The visitors soon replied when centre Rob Winchle intercepted and raced away for a try. The former Championship side were in control for much of the remainder of the half and scored further tries through their skipper Ian Kench and Joe Brown, both of which were converted by Rob Kirby to give his side a 19-5 lead at the interval.

Brown’s effort was not without controversy though, with Cinderford players appealing for a forward pass and a knock-on, but after consulting with his assistant the referee awarded the try. With the weather conditions worsening as the second-half progressed scoring opportunities were rare.

Cinderford did create a couple chances with attacking 5m lineouts, but on both occasions they lost the ball on their own throw. It took the sin-binning of replacement hooker Stuart Bailey and a subsequent yellow card for Mark Davies to bring the match back into life as 13 man Cinderford put the home side under great pressure in the closing stages.

However a knock-on denied them a try scoring chance before a terrific tackle from Will Foden saw the ball go loose, replacement Sam Caven gathered up and sprinted clear through to score a try which was excellently converted by Mike Wilcox to earn Cinderford a point.

CINDERFORD: M Wilcox; N Codlin (Caven, 66), J Adams, R Winchle, L Stapleton; M Davies, D Lewis; J Smart (Brooks, 50), T Bozzard (Bailey, 53), T Heard; B West, D McKee (Critchley, 50); L Allen, W Foden, G Evans (Garner, 66). Replacements: J Brooks, S Bailey, D Critchley, J Garner, S Caven.

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