Cinderford get Cup revenge in yoyo battle to the end
By russell vale
Stroud U15s lose a thriller to kick happy Cinderford
Saturday had seen a battle royale between the firsts and Old Richians finishing 34-34. Little did we know that another nail biter was awaiting us on Sunday. The visitors were Forest powerhouse Cinderford who were looking for revenge after Stroud had beaten them 17-15 last year in County Cup with an injury time drop goal winner from Will.
Stroud were still in the midst of an increasing winger injury crisis with new member Fin joining long term members Billy, Josh, Ryan and Nibbles on the sideline. Hooker Liam was also missing so he was given a wingers shirt and joined that bunch as they know their way around medic Delias’s A&E bag blindfolded now.
Forwards: Lucas, Orgy, Bailey, Mr T, Jedd, Harry, Stoner, Laurie
Backs: Hilly, Will, Dave, Keyan, Arthur, Flash, Alex
Subs: Bernie, Euan, Callum, Darion, New Archie, Jamie
Stroud kicked off and Cinderford ran it back to the left but knocked on in contact. Stroud won the scrum restart with a powerful shove – much to the surprise of the large Cinderford pack. Quick defense from the foresters caused the backs to knock on though and Cinderford quickly attacked and Stroud were forced to give away a penalty. Cinderford kicked for touch but missed and Will ran it back and this time Cinderford were penalised at the breakdown. Stroud won their lineout on halfway and attacked right with Dave and Keyan but a loose pass to Flash stopped the promising attack. Cinderford won their scrum but quick defending forced them tpo make some uncharacteristic errors and give away a penalty. Opportunistic Will took a tap penalty and attacked left and set Keyan off on a try scoring run. Wil converted the try from wide left and Stroud led 7-0.
Mr T caught the kickoff and had a good run back. The ball came right and Flash had a good run. Good clearouts at the ruck from Jedd and Bailey enabled Lucas to have a good Rhino run. Stroud next attacked left through the backs but an attempted Cinderford intercept was knocked on denying Stroud space out wide. Stroud won their scrum again and attacked right with Dave. Cinderford forced him wide and his inside pass went to ground for Cinderford to recover. They promptly ran it straight back but first Stoner and then Orgy put in great tackles. Orgy had a long day ahead of him with Liam missing and he had started very strongly in the set piece and loose which boded well for the pack. Cinderford were quick to recycle the ball though and attacked right, saw a gap and gruber kicked through, recovered the ball at pace and slid over the line for an equalising try. The kick was good leaving the teams tied at 7 a piece.
Cinderford had a great kickoff run due to poor Stroud tackling but eventually Harry and Stoner knocked him down forcing a fumble. Stroud won their scrum on halfway and more quick defense forced Will to take the ball into contact. Cinderford forced a turnover and their big forwards pounded away. Jedd and Bailey did good tackles. A Cinderford tap penalty was taken on at pace by their skillful #8 and he was eventually hauled down on the Stroud 22 and Cinderford conceded a penalty at the breakdown due to great work by Orgy. Will kicked long for touch. Laurie (who else!) won the lineout and the forwards did a great drive. Hilly expertly passed to Will who kicked over the top but the ball ended up in the try area with a 22 drop out. Cinderford went to kick quickly but Laurie showed great technique with an over the shoulder clean catch. Stroud set up for a runback but another Cinderford intercept knock on gave Stroud another scrum close to halfway. Another well timed Orgy hook and Stroud were away again. This time the backs went left with Alex going up the wing. Ruck won and Mr T barrelled forward. The ball came back right with Keyan but it was lost in contact.
The next few minutes the teams alternated attacking and defending – highlights being big tackles by Keyan and Mr T and more precision running by Dave that was stopped with a high tackle. A long penalty kick by Will just drifted right. Cinderford ran the ball back but an obstruction on the 22 gave Stroud the scrum that they duly won but again quick pressure on the backs forced a knockon. Cinderford's best chance at the scrum was to force a penalty which duly happened. They ran it out from their 22 but first Laurie and then Harry both put in punishing tackles. Another penalty was awarded to Cinderford and they kicked deep for touch. This time Alex kept the ball in play and ran it back well. Will attacked right and a clever inside pass to Stoner set him away on a great run. Eventually he was dragged down and Stroud knocked on at the ruck. Cinderford too were forced into errors such was the tenacity of the tackling on both sides.
Stroud won a scrum restart and Keyan attacked to the left and made great yardage down the left wing. He was tackled 10 metres short of the try line but a good pick and go from Darion threatened the line. More stout defending kept Stroud out but Harry saw a gap and dived over for a well worked try. Harry was emulating his Dad in many aspects – cards one week, big tackles next week, punishing runs and now try scoring. Like his Dad he then got carried off injured – but Stroud rugby was the winner! Wills hard conversion was just missed but Stroud had re-imposed themselves back into the lead 12-7.
Cinderford kicked very long and Archie was unlucky to knock on. Cinderford won their scrum restart and their big #8 picked and went down the blindside and scored in the corner after some last ditch desperate tackles failed to knock him into touch. The conversion was missed and the game was drawn again at 12-12. The ref blew for half time to give both teams a chance to get some well earnt rest.
Half Time: Stroud 12 – 12 Cinderford
Cinderford kicked off and Laurie did a great catch and run back. A few phases later and Stroud had been forced back into their 22 and Will had no choice but to kick for touch. Cinderford won their lineout and went on a powerful drive. They edged closer to the line but Stroud managed to keep them out with good tackles from Bernie and Euan. As more Stroud players got sucked into the breakdown and keeping out the massive forest forwards Cinderford showed great inventiveness and kicked for the far side and their winger caught the ball cleanly and scored a walk-in try that was easily converted for their first lead of the game at 19-12.
Stroud kicked off and a great kick chase and Arthur tackle forced Cinderford into some errors. Stroud won their scrum and Dave attacked again but Cinderford held him up in a maul. Both teams were defending resolutely giving very few gaps to exploit. Cinderford edged their way deeper into the Stroud half with good lineout and back play. Eventually they knocked on and Stroud had a scrum close to their 22. A new front row of Bernie, Orgy and Callum still were a force to be reckoned with and won the scrum. Dave attacked right and bounced off a few tackles and found himself in space and lit the afterburners. After running out of air from his 1 good lung he then coasted to the line and touched down under the posts. Even Cinderford applauded this try – or were their coaches trying to poach him for next season and trying to curry favour ? If you want to win Dave’s attention then just buy him a Curry – that’s what really gets his appreciation…. Will kicked the extras and the teams were level again at 19.
Cinderford kicked off and another great Mr T run back. The ball came out to the backs and Alex caught it at the same time as the power driving tackle forced him backwards. He did well to keep control and Euan and Callum cleared out well. Dave kicked long but the Cinderford full back returned the ball well. More close play by the forwards pushed Stroud backwards and again bodies littered the ground. Seeing another opportunity their fly half this time diagonally kicked to the right corner and the ball bounced perfectly into the wingers hands and he had an easy run to the try line. The kick was missed but Cinderford were back in the lead at 24-19. Its very satisfying to see their powerful forward pack being neutralised by Stroud, but it shows the quality of top sides when they can adapt to a kicking game and score 3 tries with perfect kicking and catching technique.
Cinderford ran back the kickoff and threw a long forward pass. Stroud had a scrum restart close to halfway and attacked left. The Cinderford backs keyed on Dave and Keyan and Will timed his fake pass to perfection. The gap opened up and he expertly exploited it and ran in a try untouched. His kick was missed though – but we were back equal again at 24-24.
Laurie ran back the kickoff. Then Jedd made a punishing run. Will kicked long again and another sequence of missed tackles gave Cinderford good field position. Good tackling from Mr T and Stoner forced them back though and forced a knock on. Stroud had a scrum restart and Flash sniped right. Cinderford turned over the ball and attacked right and then jacked it back to the left. James did a very brave tackle and stopped a try scoring opportunity. Cinderford kept the ball alive well though and pounded the Stroud line. Lucas, Will and Jedd kept the forwards out. Eventually Cinderford won a penalty and went for a 5 metre lineout that they won and drove for the line. Stroud showed great discipline though to keep them out and force a knockon. Stroud won the 5 metre scrum and made some critical yardage with Jedd and Bailey running well. This gave Will space to kick for touch. Cinderford won the lineout on the 22 and attacked blind. Winger Archie did a good tackle but it just stopped the inevitable of the powerful pack taking it in turns to pick and run from a sequence of rucks to force their way over the try line. Kick missed and Cinderford leading 29-24.
Stroud kicked off and Cinderford went off script and kicked the ball straight back to Alex. He passed inside to Will who carried on kick tennis. Laurie put in a big tackle and forced a knockon. Stroud won their scrum and attacked left with Keyan. Cinderford closed him down and he tried to cut back inside where a pass outside to Archie would have released the winger for a potential try. Stroud recycled the ball well though and Dave attacked back to the right. Eventually Cinderford turned over the ball in their own 22 and their talented #8 (now playing at centre) kicked long for touch. Euan won the lineout and Stroud drove back. They were harshly adjudged to have knocked on. Cinderford won their scrum and kicked deep. Alex was well placed to catch and run it back for good yardage. The ruck was won and Keyan attacked from deep but the ball went to ground as the pass went behind him and he tried to juggle it. Stroud were penalised on their own 22 trying to keep Cinderford at bay. Knowing they were in a tight battle Cinderford went for the posts. Crafty Phil found our dodgiest cone and offered it to their kicker. He duly accepted and his penalty kick subsequently drifted wide. Well played Phil!
Will took a short 22 dropout gruber kick knowing Stroud had to keep the ball alive in the closing minutes. Stroud were penalised again though and this time Cinderford kicked for the corner. Their lineout went long and Stroud recovered it. Sensing a long run from deep to win the game the crowd went wild. Unfortunately the Cinderford players weren’t willing to allow the theatre to play out and quickly forced Stroud into a knockon before the ball could come out to the backs. The ref blew for full time and an enthralling game had been edged by Cinderford.
Full Time: Stroud 24 – 29 Cinderford
Both teams congratulated each other for a tremendous game of rugby played in excellent spirit. Cinderford’s inventive kicking had won them the game but Stroud had competed in all areas of the game magnificently. The Cinderford coaches were very complimentary of our forward play and nullifying the traditional Cinderford way of dominating games. The disappointment on the Stroud players faces shows how far this team have come in the last 2 years and now expect to win these close competitive games. One more pass, one nicer bounce, one less knock-on. Its these small margins that had split the teams today and next time we could be the benefactors. A return fixture in the New Year is highly anticipated and should be well worth the trip to the Forest.
A team debrief was held and everyone was congratulated for the great passion and determination they had shown in the game. Yes we had lost but we had battled all the way and given Cinderford a number of scares.
My target was to make this match report into a victory - remember most of it is fiction anyway..... I found it quite hard when the score board doesn’t lie. How about we won more lineouts and scrums than Cinderford. The ratio of tries to injured players was strongly to our advantage.
Special mention to the ref that expertly marshalled both teams and kept the game flowing well. He normally refs men’s rugby on Saturdays and he was very complimentary of the quality of the game that was played today. All we are missing was beards and Movember ‘tashes – perhaps we can work on that for next season kids as your improvement plan……
Next week its Clifton away and another chance to avenge our Cup Final loss. We should be very confident that we have the game to frighten any team – as Cinderford will agree with.