Blackheath were worthy winners, in this Zoo Shield fixture, as they outplayed, outthought and outfought a disappointing Cinderford United in conditions ideal for rugby. Cinderford had first use of a slight breeze and failed to establish any territorial dominance as they struggled in both scrums and line outs. Blackheath were soon ahead as there power and determination was emphasised with a superb pick and go try through their forwards. The conversion was added and although the United replied with a penalty goal by Angus Bowyer the visitors added a second try in similar circumstances to the first. The conversion gave the Londoners an 11 point lead. The United scrum began to improve and following a spell on the Blackheath line No 8 and captain Will Hodgetts set up scrim half Danny Pointon for a try. Bowyer converted and at last the home side looked to be competitive. However, just before half time a United attack floundered on indecision and poor passing and Blackheath pounced with a stunning counter attack. Their dangerous right wing outpaced the home defence and although he was eventually caught a desperately floundering United defence could not prevent a third converted try and their 11 point lead was reestablished at the break.
The United started the second half positively and looked likely to score but yet again a lack of accurate passing hampered their efforts. A misplaced pass ended up in touch ten metres from the Blackheath line and the visitors showed great ingenuity to take a quick throw in and electric running and slick hands led to them scoring a try, under the posts, from fully 80 metres to the United’s despair. The conversion was to prove the final score with nearly half an hour left on the clock. To the United’s credit they never gave up but the reality was that the scoreboard accurately reflected the difference between the two sides.
Cinderford United; James Butler, Alex Frame, Alex Jackson, Angus Bowyer, Jack O’Connell, Ollie Whiting, Danny Pointon, Dino Dallavalle, Sam Baker, Ashley Macey, Dale Lemon, Toby Farrier, Sam Morse, Matt Allcock, Will Hodgetts (Capt). Replacements (all used on rotation); Daniel Keat, Rob Groves, Aaron Ryan, Terence Babarinsa.