by Johnny Vaughan
It was Groundhog day at Kingsey Road as Cinderford came from behind to take the spoils in another gripping contest. Just like last season the away team has come out on top in both matches as these great rivals went toe to toe. The visitors were ecstatic as a Palmer penalty attempt drifted wide with the last kick of the game. Chinnor were seemingly cruising to victory when they led 22-5 early in the second half but Cinderford mounted an excellent and spirited comeback to win 27-29.
It was a disrupted and somewhat disjointed performance from Chinnor as they couldn’t see to come to terms with missing key players Goss and George and the loss of their powerful engine room of Ramshaw and Thomas to injury. Chinnor’s achilles heel proved to be their inability to secure their lineout and a high penalty count which gave Cinderford the opportunity to get back into the game.
Chinnor struck first with an excellent solo try from full back Craig Holland. After a good take from a high kick by the dangerous Joseph, Holland scooted up the touch line, dummied then accelerated past the cover to score under the posts to open the scoring on 14 minutes. Ramshaw was replaced by Bordill. Cinderford hit back immediately from the restart, a slow clearance kick was charged down and from the ensuing five metre scrum influential number 8 Hone powered over. 7-5. Chinnor’s inability to exit well after restarts was going to cost them dear. However, this looked like a minor glitch after Chinnor exerted their dominance with their second try. Cano had entered proceedings on 22 minutes and made a telling contribution immediately. A Bordill pick and drive was held up but Chinnor showed their cutting edge out wide when Holland released Hodson to score the first of his brace. 12-5.
Chinnor’s best try of the match came soon after when a lovely moved from quick, off the top ball saw Holland and Hodson combine again, an excellent switch and Hodson shrugged off the defence to score under the post. Converted by Palmer 19-5 on 37 minutes. Chinnor defended stoutly on their line and went into the interval looking good for the win.
Another searing break from Holland early in the second half led to a penalty which Palmer converted to give more breathing space at 22-5 on 44 minutes.
It was then that Cinderford launched their comeback. With Chinnor not clearing their lines they gave Cinderford the opportunity to score, from multiple phases Evans barged over close to the posts. 22-12. Hodson’s day took a turn for the worse when he was yellow carded and Cinderford were awarded a soft penalty try when the first five yard scrum gently wheeled and the referee sprinted under the posts. 22-19. Cinderford’s tails were now well and truly up and from a loose kick the dangerous Norville escaped the cover and chipped the full back to score a scintillating individual try and they took the lead for the first time. 22-26 on 60 minutes. Cinderford’s openside, Ryan, was becoming a big influence winning a couple of turnovers and penalties, although it did seem that on many occasions Cinderford were slow to roll away.
Chinnor retook the lead on 72 minutes when after good carries from Manning and Bordill and good composure and recycling saw Burns crash over. Crucially the conversion was missed, which meant Cinderford could snatch victory with a penalty. This they did directly from the restart when the referee controversially penalised Chinnor for holding on when it appeared a couple of Cinderford players were lying on the wrong side. Frame coolly slotted the winning kick off the far post. With 5 minutes remaining Chinnor threw the kitchen sink at Cinderford but the chance of snatching the win was not taken.
Holland ,Hodson,Dancer A, Barnes, Joseph, Palmer, Hoadley,Ellwood,Price, Gilding,Ramshaw Thomas, Dancer J, Oliver, Burns. Reps: Cano,Bordill,Manning, Tupai,King
Frame, Smith, Hayes, Bogue,Norville,Boulton, Fenley,Smart,Taylor,Brockett, Evans. Lemon, Ryan, Broady. Hone, Reps :Elliott, Bozzard, Bennett, Darby Thomas
Referee Dr Jonathan Cook