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Home > News > Cinderford 20 - Rosslyn Park 6
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Your News Cinderford 20 - Rosslyn Park 6

Had Park been able to field their strongest side, on most books Cinderford would still have been short odds favourites to gain a win with a 4-try bonus point. Their formidable pack, led by experienced former Gloucester star Andy Deacon has trampled over pretty well all opposition this season. For Park, Michael Poppmeier failed a fitness test and Russ Forster went down with flu, robbing them of both first-choice locks, and in the back row neither Jon Underwood nor Adam Gates was available.

So Graham Corin was called up into the second row, accompanied by the experienced Jim Ryan (who flew in from his work in the Sahara for probably the most difficult seasonal debut one can imagine). Morgan Jones and Doug Rodman slotted into the back row berths. At the end of 80 minutes they may have lost, but Park could leave the field with their heads held high, having given absolutely everything and frustrated Cinderford’s ambition to extract the 4-try bonus point they desperately needed to close the gap with league-leaders Mounts Bay - who surely owe Park a drink for their efforts.

Park started with a strong diagonal wind favouring them and took the game to the hosts, even driving at the home forwards. Four minutes’ effort was rewarded with a penalty, slotted over by Richard Mahony for a 3-0 lead. Cinderford do not favour allowing the ball too far from their forwards’ jerseys at the best of times, but playing into the wind anything but a forward trundle was pretty much ruled out anyway. And it was not long before the visitors felt the effect of the ‘Foresters’ juggernaut driving into them and committing defenders before quickly working the ball to winger Stapleton who scampered over. Trigg added a conversion for 7-3 after seven minutes.

The match became very much a midfield war of attrition, with neither defence yielding anything. It was mostly in the home half but Park could not find the key to a resolute defence. Their best chance came when Mahony kicked deep down the middle and, when the Foresters’ winger ran back at Park he was isolated and penalised for not releasing; Mahony kicked the penalty to the corner and Park drove at the home defence through several phases, but they held firm and eventually the visitors were penalised for accidental offside. It proved to be their best chance.

Aided by the elements, the visitors still enjoyed a territorial advantage but the writing was on the wall when Cinderford rumbled back and released centre Scourfield for a try to make it 12-3. Park came back at them but could manage no more than a 35th minute Mahony penalty for 12-6..

Starting the second half with a gale at their backs, already two tries to the good, Cinderford looked odds-on for a second half try-fest. After 6 minutes Park – under pressure – were penalised for an offence in trying to resist a home scrummage and Trigg kicked the home side a further 3 points ahead.

The match was now nearly all Cinderford, but Park’s resistance was magnificent. Doug Rodman was outstanding in never allowing an opponent to settle on the ball and, on this form, Underwood’s return at 7 will not be a mere formality. Graham Corin, converted to lock, won his share of the ball in the air while his flanker’s speed and tackling made him a tremendous asset in open play. But no one shirked. At one stage, Mike Count broke from the back of a scrum to make some useful yards, but there was little to disturb the home defence.

It was not until ten minutes from the end that Cinderford got another try. A penalty to touch and the catch and drive allowed flanker Hooper to notch up the third try. But there was no way Park would allow them the fourth, and the match ended with a spirited beak up the left by Nick Canty that nearly succeeded in sending away Ed Lewis-Pratt. Park could not have given more, and that surely is all you can ask of any team.

Park: Lewis-Pratt; Riley, Swords, Paul, Canty; Mahony; Evans (Browne); Charlton, Ritchie, Blom (Frazier); Ryan, Corin; Jones (J Watkins), Rodman, Count.

Sub not used: Huggett

Park scorer: Mahony (2P).

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