BRAVE Cinderford battled their way to a losing bonus point at the National One leaders following a bruising physical encounter. Former Forester flier James Copsey came back to haunt his old club after opening the scoring with a quarter gone and denying his former employers the win at the death. The Dockham Road men were the last team to beat the Championship hopefuls and the narrow defeats means Andy Deacon’s men have taken five points off the Islanders this season.
Following a tense opening 20 minutes in gale force conditions, it was the home team, cheered on by over 2,000 people, who broke the deadlock from turnover ball.
A vicious grubber kick by scrum-half David McCormack had Cinderford full-back Mike Wilcox in trouble in his own 22 and Jersey won the ball and threw it wide for Copsey to go over. Former Leicester Tigers fly-half Ross Broadfoot could not convert with his opposite number Rory Teague hitting the post with a tough penalty three minutes later.
The home side thought they had their second try on 26 minutes but were brought back for a forward pass before extending their lead to 12-0 five minutes before the break.
Openside Guy Thompson won a penalty on the floor and as result the ball was spun wide to the same flanker who charged over out wide with Broadfoot converting this time.
The rest of the half belonged to the away side though as they laid siege to Jersey’s try-line with centre Simeon James brilliantly tackled into touch by winger Christopher Levesley. The Forest of Dean men were not to be denied as phase after phase of possession resulted in Teague sending centre Robbie Winchle over for an easy conversion and a 12-7 half-time deficit.
All that hard work was undone at the start of the second period as McCormack intercepted a pass at halfway and sprinted away to score as Cinderford started to turn the screw. Broadfoot was unsuccessful with the extras but Cinderford dominated the remainder of the half showing true heart and tenacity against a side that have won 13 in a row. They were rewarded when Broadfoot’s 22 clearance was carried dead by the wind giving Cinderford great field position with replacement nine Ben Draper sending winger Nev Codlin gliding over. Teague could not convert from wide but the game was not done with seven minutes left as Lloyd Stapleton broke from halfway and looked to put Draper in but Copsey had the last word.
JERSEY: G Bryce; J Copsey, A Maggs (Clyde-Smith, 66), D Sanders, C Levesley; R Broadfoot, D McCormack; M Landick, D Felton (O’Brien, 66), B Evans (Kenwright, 80); N Hannay, J Brownrigg; G Bell (Lang, 50), G Thompson, N Trower. Replacements: R Kenwright, K Lang, E Dawson, B O’Brien, C Clyde-Smith.
CINDERFORD: M Wilcox; N Codlin, S James (Scourfield, 45), R Winchle, L Stapleton; R Teague, D Pointon (Draper, 60); J Smart (Heard, 40), T Bozzard (Wilkes, 40), Y Thomas; B West, E King, A Nicholls (Allen, 66), W Foden, G Evans. Replacements: L Allen, B Draper, D Scourfield, S Wilkes, T Heard.