Foresters keep on trying as they grab first win
FOUR tries secured Cinderford's first win of the National One season. The win was crucial after two league defeats, but there is still work to do if Andy Deacon's side are to make an assault on the higher echelons of the league.
The Foresters defeated division new boys Hull Ionians 31-7 on home turf with tries from Marcus Brown, Sam Hanks, Chris Hawkins and Nev Codlin.
Last season's National Two North champions Hull's first league trip to the Beavis Memorial Ground turned out to be one to forget, as they succumbed to a riotous second half performance from the Foresters.
But it could have been close to a 50-point haul for Cinderford as five penalties went astray.
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After a 100 per cent record against Coventry last weekend, outside-half Mark Davies kicked three wide, before he was relieved of kicking duty by Reece Boughton, who also missed two.
The set-piece was managed with far greater competence when experienced second row Ed King replaced Lance Randall, but the ball was occasionally lost at the line-out, and the scrum was sometimes shaky.
But Deacon could not fault his players' commitment.
He said: The result was awesome, but we still have a lot to work on.
"I think we got better, and showed we have the potential to get better still. We needed that win today.
"Some of it was outstanding, some of it, like our game management was average, but overall I am very pleased with the lads.
"We worked hard, there was a lot of tension before the game, but we came through that and got the five points we needed.
"I wouldn't ever worry or question their commitment, they put their bodies on the line today."
Davies missed his first two penalties in the third and sixth minute in what was an otherwise bright start for the hosts.
Scrum-half Boughton whipped the ball inside for flanker Brown, who scored Cinderford's opening try to put the hosts ahead within ten minutes.
Davies' conversion was good and the Foresters found themselves seven points clear. But not for long.
The Ionians immediately struck, and their pressure in the host's 22 paid dividends. After three five metre scrums and some Foresters' ill-discipline, prop Toby Williams scrabbled over to get Hull on the scoreboard.
Chris Reakes kicked the conversion to put the scores level 7-7 after 15 minutes.
Davies could have kicked Cinderford clear once more with an ambitious boot from 45 metres, but his third attempt also sailed wide.
With it, the kicking duty was passed to scrum-half Reece Boughton.
The scrum, which was smashed by the physical Coventry pack last week, was buckling under a period of Hull pressure and handling errors in possession was beginning to take its toll.
Hull could feel the pressure, knocked the ball on, and Boughton kicked the penalty from 40m out on the 28th minute to put Cinderford ahead.
The visitors clearly enjoyed attacking with the ball in hand, running at the Cinderford defensive line, and on several occasions, their players almost sliced their way through.
Cinderford went in 10-7 up at the break, but handling errors had cost them half-chances.
George Mills, in at number eight for the injured skipper George Evans, was sinbinned early in the second half, but Reakes failed to kick the penalty over.
Some sloppy passes from Davies gifted Hull possession, but the defence, which had been sidestepped by Coventry last week, was resolute once again.
Both Isaac Green and Adam Thomas looked dangerous while Cinderford were one man down, but they failed to get any points on the board, panicking under pressure and knocking the ball on.
As the final quarter approached, Mills returned to the pitch and second row Lance Randall was replaced by King.
Boughton missed a penalty as Hull were caught holding on to the ball in a ruck, and the tension intensified. And it was Cinderford who responded.
Centre Jack Adams was unlucky not to score from a solo chip-and-chase effort, before Hawkins crashed over in the 65th minute in the corner.
Boughton kicked the conversion from a tight angle, and the Foresters were 17-7 clear.
The backs were fired up, with Boughton, Adams, Hanks and Davies creating space and try-scoring opportunities for the wingers.
Codlin recovered well from a knock and could have opened his account were it not for a forward pass from Boughton, as Cinderford set up camp deep in the Hull 22.
Minutes later, Adams fed a clever ball to Sam Hanks to claim the Foresters' third try of the game in the 73rd minute. Boughton converted, and the game was almost over.
But in the final minute of injury time, Codlin finally opened his scoring account and secured the bonus point for Cinderford.
Davies' well-placed kick found the free-scoring winger, who sprinted over the line to place the ball directly beneath the posts. Boughton converted.
Cinderford: M Wilcox (S Hawley, 74), N Codlin, J Adams, S Hanks, C Hawkins, M Davies, R Boughton, C Bundy (C) (J Smart, 74), T Bozzard, T Heard, L Randall (E King, 59), T Hicks, W Keenan, M Brown, G Mills Replacements: F Sinclair, L Stapleton
Hull Ionians: S Slingsby, D Smith, J Martin, R Fletcher (W Heylings, 44), S Wilson, C Reakes, I Green (A Thomas, 57), T Williams, T Rice (A Thomson, 66), S Johnson (D Laverick, 57), J Makin, T Freeman, J Sanders, M Wigham, A Campbell (M Argyle, 50)
Referee: Andrew Taylorson
Star man: Reece Boughton