Cinderford United produced a fine second half performance to emphatically defeat Old Albanians second string at their palatial Woodlawns facilities. It was the United’s third win out of four in the Zoo Sports Shield this season.
A very strong wind swept down the pitch from left to right and the United, having won the toss, elected to play into its fierce teeth. The United were stung very early as they yielded possession inside their own half and the Albanians left wing demonstrated scintillating pace to evade two tackles to score under the posts. The conversion was a formality. However, the United regrouped and their forwards, and in particular the talented back row of Roger Birkin, Marcus Brown and Dan Fry, produced some fine driving play into the wind.
A midfield break by Fry and subsequent pass to the supporting Alan Bryan saw the United captain slide in under the posts for a fine United try. Fly half James Moffat converted and the United were level. The second quarter was easily the United’s poorest of the game as they gave away a succession of penalties. Eventually Birkin received the United’s first yellow card of the season and from that penalty OA’s retook the lead with a successful kick at goal. From deep inside their own half the home side attacked and their talented fly half danced past a weak and dozing United blind side defence. Several passes later and OA’s were cantering in for a fine second try. Although it was unconverted the United looked to be in trouble but again they produced some intelligent rugby into the wind and ran several penalties as they punched deep into OA’s territory with half time approaching. Eventually the return of Birkin and the sin binning of an OA’s player turned the tide and just before half time prop Jamie Baglin scored a try from close range. The conversion was nigh impossible into the wind but with just a three point deficit and with the wind in their favour for the second half the situation now looked good for the United.
The United came out of the blocks quickly in the second half and dominated the gain line battle as the home side wilted under forceful United attacks. Time and again the United surged forward and eventually prop Mike Davies scored the visitors third try. Moffat converted and then added a penalty goal to give the United a seven point lead. The next score was vital to the eventual result and the United always looked likely to achieve it. Their route one charges time and again nearly achieved it but eventually an exquisite chip kick and gather by Bryan produced the fourth try and definitive score. Moffat converted and the United demonstrated their superiority with a fifth try as some spectacular handling enabled centre Will Hodgetts to score wide on the left. Moffat brilliantly converted to round off an excellent afternoon for the United.
Cinderford United; Tom Law, Jack Richards, Alan Bryan (Captain), Will Hodgetts, Liam Littleton, James Moffat, Ollie Whiting, Mike Davies, Luke Crunden, Jake Drinkwater, Sam Morse, Milo Reynolds, Roger Birkin, Marcus Brown, Dan Fry
Replacements (used on rotation); Jamie Baglin, Jack Norris, Matt Allcock.