Cinderford made their first visit to highflying Fylde, the Northwest title contenders, and although Cinderford pushed them all the way Fylde fought hard for a victory. The final score did not reflect how close the game really was. The match was played in front of a bumper Christmas crowd, which was bolstered by two coach loads of travelling fans from the Forest.
Cinderford started the game much the stronger outfit putting pressure on the home team’s defence, and were finally rewarded with their effort on 12 minutes when outside half Rory Teague breezed past his opposite number to touchdown for the opening score of the game. He followed up with a successful conversion.
Fylde slowly started to crawl their way back into the game and on 18 minutes a missed tackle out wide allowed hooker Jonathon Rodddam to dive over, Richard Kenyon added the extra’s to bring them back level. Fylde then started to get the upper hand and on 26 min Kenyon put over a penalty. On the half hour mark Cinderford could not stop a driving maul, allowing flanker Robert Stewart to cross the line for a try, converted by Kenyon.
After 35 minutes winger Oliver Brennard showed why he his being looked closely at by the England sevens selectors with a lightning burst of speed. He out-stripped the Cinderford backs to dot down for an unconverted score. On the stroke of half time Teague put over a long-range penalty to make the score Fylde 20 Cinderford 10.
At the start of the second half Fylde suffered a nasty injury to winger Gavin Cartmel, allowing them to give a debut to ex barbarian Oliver Vinney. Cinderford pinned Fylde back inside their own 22 for the next 10 minutes, moving the ball from one side of the park to the other, but unable to find a way through the home sides solid defence. Fylde then turned over the ball and fullback Chris Briers sprinted the length of the pitch to score under the posts. Kenyon successfully converted to put Fylde 25-10 up and this was to prove the defining moment of the match.
Two further tries by Mike Waywell and Paul Arnold put the game out of Cinderfords reach at 37-10. Cinderford to their credit never gave up, and on 79 min a superb cross-field kick by Teague found Stapleton in space. He off-loaded to replacement full-back Danny Trigg who dived over the line out wide.
From the re-start Cinderford ran the ball straight up field. Another cross-field kick by Teague was gathered by Stapleton who in one movement caught the ball and twisted out of the tackle to score a much deserved try, converted by Teague to bring the score to 37-22.
Man of the match Simeon James Cinderford.
Cinderford: Wilcox (Trigg 68), Stapleton, James, Scourfield, Done, Teague, Pointon (Draper 61), Smart (Fortey 69), Bozzard (Wilkes 61), Heard, West, King, Nicholls (Kitson 61), Foden, Evans.
Fylde: Briers C, Cartmell (Vinney 45), Briers S, Waywell, Brennard, Keynon, Wallwork (Collins 72), Griffiths, Roddam, Lavelle (Altham 69), Arnold, Rawlings (Beaumont J 61), Stewart, McGinnis (Livesey 72), Beaumont S.
Referee: Greg Macdonald
Asst Referee 1: Mark Rose
Asst Referee 2: Tudor Griffiths