Cinderford United lost their third Zoo London Shield league match, in St Albans, with a performance that was unrecognisable from the committed passionate display of the previous week at home against Ealing. Old Albanians RFC’s ground is used by Saracens as their training base and Cinderford’s young side simply froze, to begin with, in the home side’s excellent facilities. The visitors were seven points down within two minutes and thirteen – nil down after the first quarter. Weak, ineffective tackling especially in one on one situations would plague the United from start to finish and certainly aided the talented home threequarters to score their first two tries. A conversion and penalty goal completed the thirteen points. The second quarter was dominated by Cinderford. Playing into the stiff breeze the United finally found the right tactics and effective close quarter pick and go drives turned the game on its head. A driving maul from a five metre line out saw hooker Finlay Sinclair score the United’s first try before centre Ollie Whiting’s try and conversion reduced the score to one point. Just before half time United scrum half Reece Boughton took advantage of a tap penalty and raced over, unimpeded, for a third Cinderford try and at half time the visitors led 17-13.
With the wind in their favour for the second half their looked to be only one winner but the third quarter witnessed an extraordinary collapse by the United. Unable to control the football at vital stages the United were spectacularly exposed three times down their right flank from attacks from deep. Three tries were scored by the home side as the Old Albanians left winger, reminiscent of a younger Manu Tuilagi, ran riot albeit continually aided by poor Cinderford tackling. Two conversions gave the Old Albanians a 32-17 lead and left the United with a mountain to climb. They climbed part of it with two quick tries, in response, by left wing Chris Harrington and prop Michael Davies. A conversion by Ollie Whiting reduced the deficit to only three points and again the United were in a position to win. However, their inability to make crucial tackles at crucial times haunted them to the end as ten minutes from time more missed tackles in their own twenty two allowed the home side to wrap up a deserved victory with a sixth try and conversion as the United were dealt a tough lesson in application and consistency.
Cinderford United; Jack Wakefield ( Jason Graham), Sam Baker, Ollie Whiting, Liam Littleton, Chris Harrington, Tom Law, Reece Boughton, Michael Davies, Finlay Sinclair, Joe Smart (Toby Farrier), Milo Reynolds (Dean Miller), Ed King, Will Hodgetts, Mitch Bourne (Luke Crunden), Loti Molitika.
Matson Utd 12pts Cinderford Stags 30
Cindeford Stags kept up their unbeaten record in the GRFU Reserve League with an excellent victory at Matson. Daine Bradley led the way with two tries, Nathan Green and Jake Bonser also touching down.
Ryan Walding kicked two conversions and two penalties.