Cinderford came away from this game with nothing but the knowledge that they can score tries from any position and that if they can keep 15 men on the pitch for a full game they will win matches. The foresters spent a half- hour with only fourteen or fewer players on the field and you cannot expect to prevail like that.
Both Esher and Cinderford fielded much changed sides from the teams who last met at Dockham Rd in April. After a some fits and starts the game exploded into life when Esher’s six foot three, sixteen stone outside half Ian Cross bust through the centre, at the breakdown the ball was moved quickly blind and only a thumping tackle from Cinderford Captain and full-back Mike Wilcox prevented a certain score. Nevertheless the home side went ahead just moments later when Cross kicked a thirty yard penalty from in front of the posts. Cross missed another attempt from the same position but Esher dominated possession against a side who gave the Surrey men far too much respect.
When Cinderford centre Jack Adams was sent to the bin Esher ran and then drove the resulting maul for a try that was awarded to number-eight Harrison Collins. Cross converted. Cinderford were soon back on the attack when their number 9 Alex Frame ghosted through only to be brought down by Esher’s full back Spencer Sutherland just yards short. Esher then got back into the Cinderford half only to turn over a penalty close to the Cinderford line. However, when Wilcox chased the penalty to flatten Sutherland, referee Fergus Kirby awarded a hotly disputed penalty which saw Wilcox despatched to the bin. Cinderford were down to 13 men and Esher fully exploited the numerical advantage when centre Olly Richards raced through to touch-down for Cross to convert.
Half Time: Esher 17-0 Cinderford
After a quiet start to the second half Cinderford rang the changes with flanker George Mills, centre Sam Hanks and scrum-half Andy Uren taking the field and it was Uren who burst through to touch down after a five-metre line out. Davies converted. The outside-half further reduced the deficit when Esher’s Joe Garner was sent to the bin for a cynical foul in the home 22.
The game swung back Esher’s way when, after Mills had been sidelined for an alleged tip-tackle,they kicked and drove the line-out for scrum-half S Commins to touch down. Cinderford were regularly falling foul of Mr Kirby’s whistle and another penalty to the corner saw Esher stretch their lead when flanker Pete Synott went over from the line out for Cross to convert. Cinderford responded immediately when Andy Uren snapped up a loose ball and sent Wing Sam Baker away to the corner. Cinderford further reduced the arrears when Sam Hanks burst through to send in Mike Wilcox.
The visitors were all action in the effort to gain bonus points but when Esher stole a Cinderford line-out on half-way they drove twenty yards before gaining another penalty that they kicked to the corner and scored when second-row Cameron Gentles spun out of a tackle for a try which Cross converted.
Final Score: Esher 36-20 Cinderford