Cinderford made it three wins in a row, finally looking and playing like side which is starting to believe in itself. Cinderford started the better and finished the stronger, in a very tight competitive and entertaining game of rugby.
In the opening minute of the game Cinderford’s outside half Rory Teague cleared his lines with an excellent kick finding touch deep inside Ealing’s 22. Cinderford stole the lineout and after several pick-and-goes and a miss-pass Will Foden collected the ball and went over right in the corner.
Cinderford continued to dominate, and after a break down their left side, the ball eventually found prop Joe Smart in an unaccustomed position in the 22. With a superb sidestep he eluded Ealing’s rush defence to score under the posts. Teague added the conversion to put Cinderford 12-0 in front.
After the early pressure Cinderford started to make regular handling errors, gifting Ealing possession when Cinderford should have been pushing on. These mistakes cost Cinderford on 20 minutes when a clever chip through from Ealing’s outside half Ben Ward caught Cinderford on the back foot. Lightning quick winger Phil Chesters scored another try to add to his collection, and the conversion by Ward made the score Cinderford 12 – 7 Ealing.
Four minutes later Teague slotted over a penalty from 40 metres to put Cinderford 15-7 to the good, but more mistakes from Cinderford were punished, and Ealing started to forge their way back in to the game. On the half-hour mark Jon Moyce peeled off the back of a rolling maul to touch down, Ward again adding he extras to bring the score back to Cinderford 15-14 Ealing at half time.
Six minutes into the second half Ward slotted over a penalty in front of the posts to put Ealing in front for the first time in the game, 15-17. Ealing then started to apply pressure on the Cinderford backline moving the ball at pace, and on 51 minutes Andrew Neilson crashed over the Cinderford try line. Ward converted to put Ealing further ahead, Cinderford 15-24 Ealing.
Cinderford finally wrestled back control of the game, with a try by man of the match number eight George Evans, converted by Teague – bringing Cinderford to within 2 points of Ealing at 22-24.
Cinderfords forwards then began to get on top of Ealing and from an attacking Ealing scrum in the Cinderford 22 they turned the match for a final time. Cinderford shoved Ealing off the ball, Evans broke off the back of the scrum and fed it to full-back Wilcox who ran from his 22 all the way to the Ealing line to score – much to the delighted of a vociferous home crowd. The conversion was missed but this turned out to be the final score, Cinderford leading 27-24 with 10 minutes to play.
Cinderford continued to pressurise the Ealing line but a risky kick from Teague with 2 minutes remaining lost possession and Ealing broke at pace. After an excellent tackle by chasing Wilcox the ball found the hands of Chesters who, travelling at pace, looked like he was going to break free and score. As Chesters crossed into the 22 winger Nev Codlin chased him down and made a stunning match saving tackle. With 4 minutes of extra time the final few minutes produced some tense rugby, with Ealing winning a penalty and kicking to touch to put Cinderford under pressure – but a resolute performance from the Cinderford defence kept Ealing at Bay and when Cinderford won a penalty they kicked to touch to close the game out.
Cinderford, much to their credit, fully deserved to hang on to win 27-24, easing their relegation worries and finally seeing the rewards for their hard work and effort.
Star man, George Evans Cinderford
Cinderford: Wilcox, Stapleton, James (Scourfield 72), Winchle, Codlin, Teague, Pointon (Draper 59), Thomas, Bozzard (Wilkes 54), Smart (Heard 54), West, King, Foden, Nicholls (Allen 72), Evans.
Ealing: Hodgkinson, Bruynseels, Wardingley, Damant, Chesters, Ward, Grant,
Neville (Kuwana 67), Moyce (Alexopoulos 77), Brockett, Curry (Gibson 67), Gaynor, Nilsson, Clifford (Acton 73), Evans.
Referee: J Meredith
Asst Referee 1: A Bickle
Asst Referee 2: D Smith