Cinderford clinched the National 2 (South) title, by scoring three tries in the last twenty minutes to recover from a 19-5 deficit and bring a highly entertaining match to a dramatic conclusion.
In warm and sunny conditions both sides created but were unable to early scoring opportunities before the visitors took the lead, when they kicked a penalty to the corner to set up an attacking lineout and a perfectly executed catch and drive led to hooker Nathan Taylor going over for an unconverted try. The remainder of the first-half was a tense and rather nervy affair, with the home side deservedly levelling the scores just before the interval through a fine effort from centre Mark Kohler.
The opening stages of the second-half saw the defences of both teams tested, before former Cinderford second-row Will Scholes took an inside pass and raced 30 metres virtually unchallenged to score neat the posts, with Fraser Honey adding the conversion. Then some great handling released Liam McBride to score Burys’ third try, which again converted by Honey.
The league leaders knew they had to find a response, and they did in passage of play that epitomised the terrific team spirit that they have built up in their squad this season. When possession was secured on the 10m line the ball was taken through a series of pick and goes that eventually led to second-row George Evans forcing his way over for a try, which James Moffat converted. The momentum of the match was now moving in the visitor’s favour and the scores were soon levelled up again when Moffat created and then converted a try from replacement Terence Barbarinsa, with a deft kick through the home defence.
Cinderford continued to press forward and their comeback was complete when the ball was moved swiftly out wide to flanker Matt Lane who went over for the bonus point try. After this the Foresters were able to retain possession in the dying minutes and kick the ball out to start the celebrations.
Cinderford; Alex Frame, Kai Little, Ed Bogue, Rob Winchle, Reuben Norville, James Moffat, Jimmy Williams, George Porter (Capt.), Nathan Taylor, James Elliot, George Evans, Dale Lemon, Matt Lane, Matt Bennett, Harry Hone.
Replacements; Joe Smart, Tim Brockett, Jack Shields, Terence Babarinsa, Clive Stuart-Smith.