Cinderford travelled to Coventry for their opening league game of the season, giving debuts, to Simeon James, Rory Teague, Ben Draper and Ben West.
In total contrast to last season’s game at Coventry, Cinderford totally dominated possession, all scrums, and line outs, and were very unfortunate not to come out winners. Coventry only got into Cinderford’s half three times during the first period, but each time they came away with points. A few debatable refereeing decisions and with luck seemingly on their side Coventry squeezed a hard fought victory.
After 4 min, Coventry scored the opening try of the game through winger Andrew Murray. It wasn’t clear whether the ball had crossed the line, with Cinderford convinced they had held it up short, but the officials gave the try. The conversion was missed by Luke Myring, unfortunately his only miss of the match.
With all their pressure, and with their pack dominant, Cinderford were finally awarded a penalty on 20 minutes, but in wet conditions it was pushed wide by Rory Teague. Nothing was going Cinderford’s way and even a chip through that looked like it was going to fall into Simeon Jackson’s hands for an easy try bounced back up luckily into the arms of a grounded Coventry player.
On 29 min Coventry finally got out of their half and inside Cinderford’s 22, but Will Foden was adjudged to have pulled back one of the Coventry forwards. The referee awarded a penalty to Coventry and sent Foden to the sin bin. Myring slotted over the penalty to make the score Coventry 8 Cinderford 0.
Cinderford’s constant pressure and possession was rewarded when they were awarded a penalty on the half-hour mark for not rolling away, Teague converted the penalty to bring the score back to Coventry 8 Cinderford 3.
On 37 minutes Coventry broke out from their own half and with a man short and a few missed tackles Sam Herrington raced clear to score in the corner. The officials missed a clear forward pass in the move and from another rare foray into Cinderford territory Coventry moved further clear. Luke Myring scored an excellent conversion from the touchline to stretch the Coventry lead to 15-3.
On the stroke of half-time Cinderford were awarded another penalty in front of the posts which Teague duly slotted over to make the half-time score Coventry 15 Cinderford 6.
Cinderford started the second half exactly where they left off in the first, totally dominating all areas of the game. On 56 minutes Cinderford were awarded a penalty in front of the posts after the Coventry prop kicked the ball away, resulting in Luke Beales being sent to the sin bin. Teague slotted over to reduce the deficit to 15-9.
With only 6 points in the game Rory Teague launched a huge cross-field kick from just outside his own 22. For all the money looked like it was going to run into touch literally on the goal line, giving Cinderford the chance to try and use their pack dominance to push over for a try. But with luck deserting them the bounce of the ball took it an inch the wrong side of the corner flag and play was taken all the way back to just outside the Cinderford 22 yard line.
With the weather deteriorating handling became tougher and for all Cinderford’s pressure the odd handling error gave Coventry the opportunities to keep ticking over the score. Two further penalties by Myring of Coventry and one by Cinderford’s Teague made the score 21-12 to Coventry with 10 minutes to go.
Cinderford were camped inside the Coventry 22 for the final 10 minutes but the home sides’ defence stood up well to their task. With the final play of the game Cinderford were awarded a penalty out wide which Teague converted to secure a vital bonus point.
The match ended Coventry 22 Cinderford 15, but with a few less unforced areas and a bit more luck the score could have been very different. Although disappointed by the defeat Cinderford can be buoyed by their performance, and the visit of Fylde next weekend can be viewed with real optimism, as it is sure to be a thrilling encounter.
Russell, Murry, McDonald, Myring, O’Connor, Read, Barker, Ager, Parkins, Herrington,
Dechartres, Daynes, Nash, Miller
Replacements: Price, Weller, Thomas, Mumford, Stevens.
Trigg, Codlin, James, Scourfield, Stapleton, Teague, Draper, Price, Wilkes, Bundy
West, King, Nicholls(capt), Foden, Evans.
Replacements: Mckee, Wilcox, Winchle, Bozzard, Smart.