First-half lapse proves so costly for Foresters
CWMBRAN YOUTH 7 CINDERFORD COLTS 5
ALTHOUGH not immediately obvious at the time, the defining moment in this match came in only the eighth minute.
Having seen a fifth minute penalty attempt at goal sail narrowly wide of the upright, Cinderford were soon back on the attack, earning a second penalty inside the Cwmbran 22 just two minutes later, this time in a much more central position.
However, a split second decision by Cinderford to take a quick tap penalty, instead of the easier free shot at goal and the chance of an early lead, ultimately proved the slender difference between these two sides when the final whistle blew just over an hour later.
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That missed chance blighted a good start by Cinderford, who got off to a solid start and were on top for the majority of the first half.
More than 20 minutes had passed before the home side managed their first meaningful counter attack into the Cinderford half.
But it was Cwmbran who had the better of the closing ten minutes of the first half, first forcing a very fine tackle by Matt Hawkins on Cinderford's left wing that prevented the offload with a Cwmbran overlap beckoning.
Then, moments later, a superb try-saving tackle by scrum-half Sam Watkins just inches from the left corner flag kept the scores level at 0-0 at half-time.
The second half continued in much the same vein as the first, with Cinderford enjoying the greater territorial advantage but with both sides looking more than a little match rusty at this stage of the new season.
Towards the end of the match, with legs inevitably tiring in the sunny conditions, gaps started to appear in the defences of both sides.
With five minutes to go Cwmbran broke the deadlock, forcing their way over for a try at the corner on the right, followed by a fine touchline conversion that gave the home side a significant 7-0 advantage with so little time remaining in this tight match.
However, Cinderford were spurred into action by this late score and quickly rallied to catch and drive an attacking five-metre lineout that saw openside flanker Jake Bonser drop over the Cwmbran try line to score with less than two minutes to go.
Having just been brought on as a replacement, Ryan Walding had the unenviable task of taking the touchline place kick at goal to level the scores with seconds remaining but the attempt drop short and the scores remained at 7-5 to Cwmbran.
Cinderford collected the restart and made a concerted effort to breach the Cwmbran defence in the dying seconds, but hopes ended when the Foresters conceded a penalty in overtime, just inside the opposition 22, and a relieved Cwmbran gratefully hoofed the ball into touch to signal the end of the game.
CRFC Colts, Backs: Sam Hatton, Adam Wilce, Jack Jones, Liam Littleton, Matt Hawkins, Connor Winchle, Sam Watkins. Forwards: Toby Farrier, Luke Crunden, Ashley Macey, Hayden Jennings, Ollie Floyd, Jake Bonser, Chance Ridler, Louis Overthrow. Replacements: George Hale, Sam Baker, Ryan Walding, Andy Knight, Tom Ward.