Henley Hawks outscored Cinderford by five tries to two at Dry Leas as they claimed a vital victory in this clash between two sides struggling at the wrong end of National One.
The home side made the perfect start to the match when went through the phases and eventually created the overlap for winger Jake Randall to race over in the corner for an unconverted try. The visitors settled themselves and after some promising passages of play they were rewarded when outside-half James Moffat landed a penalty in the 18th minute. The Hawks were quick to respond though, and when Cinderford were temporarily reduced to 14 men following a deliberate knock on by Rob Winchle, they set up a forward drive which led to flanker Rob Bell claiming the touchdown. As half-time approached the visitors reduced the deficit when winger Nevaro Codlin crossed for a well constructed try which made it 10-8 at the interval.
The opening exchanges of the second-half were to prove decisive to the outcome of the match, and it was the Hawks who took the initiative with a fine individual try from centre Liam O’Neill, which Ben Palmer converted. This was soon followed by a second score from Bell, who went over from a lineout catch and drive to claim the bonus point, and put his team 22-8 ahead. Cinderford rallied briefly with replacement scrum-half Alex Frame taking a quick tapped penalty to score an unconverted try after 58 minutes of play and give his team some hope of a recovery. The Hawks were in no mood to offer their opponents any sort of festive cheer though, and they wrapped up the points when Randall went over for his second try in the closing stages, leaving their opponents facing a real uphill battle to get out of the relegation zone in the second half of the season.
Cinderford: Mike Wilcox (Capt.), Nev Codlin, Sam Hanks, Rob Winchle, Gary Dipple, James Moffat, Dan Pointon, Will Goodrick-Clarke, Davy McGregor, Chris Bundy, Ed King, Jerry Sexton, George Mills, Matt Lane, Marcus Brown. Reps: Francisco Bruno, Tom Bozzard, Milo Reynolds, Lloyd Stapleton, Alex Frame.