Cinderford started the New Year with an impressive defensive performance, away to the oldest rugby club in the world – out scoring Blackheath three tries to one.
Cinderford’s chairman of rugby Mark Gayther added “It is always a very competitive game when travelling to Blackheath, who currently lie sixth in the table, and to come away with a win demonstrates all the hard work is starting to pay dividends – however there are still a few areas that need a little tweaking. The lads have a never say die attitude and proved this today scoring an excellent try in the dying minutes of the game – to come away with a victory”
Playing into a strong wind Cinderford found themselves being pinned back inside their own 22 for much of the opening period of play, conceding a try on 6 minutes to Blackheath’s winger Richard Lankshear. The conversion attempt went wide of the uprights.
From the re-start Blackheath gathered the ball and kicked it deep back into Cinderford’s half. It went straight into the waiting arms of winger Nev Codlin who ran it back, cutting through the heart of the home teams defence. He off-loaded to supporting scrum half Danny Pointon who went over the line for the score. Rory Teague added the extras to put Cinderford in front 7-5.
For the majority of the rest of the half Cinderford found themselves with their backs against the wall, putting in tackle after tackle and holding up the strong Blackheath forwards – who went over the line three times but were unable to ground the ball.
A nasty injury to number eight Dave McKee halted play for several minutes, and with the game going deep into stoppage time Adam Armstrong slotted over a penalty, closely followed by a beautifully struck drop goal by centre Sam Windsor to put the hosts 11-7 up. With seconds remaining in the half the Foresters lay siege to Blackheath’s try line with replacement George Evans crashing over to give Cinderford a un-expected half-time lead 11-12.
The second half was then a reversal of the first, with Cinderford finding it difficult to find a way through Blackheath’s stout defence. On the hour mark, from nowhere, Blackheath back-row David Allen broke clear to touch down and Armstrong adding the extras to put Blackheath 18-12 in front.
Cinderford continued to put phase after phase together, working themselves into the perfect position in centre field to allow Teague to set himself up for a well-taken drop goal, bringing them back to within three points.
Blackheath’s scrum started to creak in the final ten minutes, with constant pressure coming from Cinderford’s pack, being shoved off their own ball several times.
With time rapidly running out it looked like it was going to be another ‘so near yet so far’ result for Cinderford, but Teague spotted a gap in the tiring home defence and cut through it at pace, off-loading to centre Rob Winchle who out paced the winger to touch down in the corner – silencing the partisan home crowd to give Cinderford a much deserved win 20-18 win.
Star man: Yann Thomas, Cinderford.
Cinderford: Wilcox, Codlin, James (Scourfield 78), Winchle, Stapleton, Teague, Pointon, Smart (Heard 66), Bozzard (Wilkes 57), Thomas, West, King, Nicholls, Foden, McKee (Evans 20)
Relacement not used: Draper.
Blackheath: Humphries, Lankshear, Armstong, Windsor, Raybe, P Squires (R Squires 8), Ibrahim (Walsh 59), Legg (Gelman 59), O’Meara, Brett, Bason, Stradwick, Paddick (Truman 51), Allen, Catt.
Referee: Greg Mcdonald
Asst Referee 1: Mark Jackson
Asst Referee 2: Nick Clarke