Ampthill kept their promotion challenge on track, but they had to survive a tremendous second-half comeback from Cinderford before scoring an injury time try to earn themselves a hard-fought bonus point victory.
The visitors were in control for much of the first-half showing excellent ball retention skills and some very clinical finishing. They scored their opening try in 11th minute after a sustained spell of pressure near their opponents line eventually led to hooker Olly Walliker forcing his way over from close range, with James Pritchard landing the conversion. The home side responded with a brief period of ascendancy and when they were awarded a penalty Dan Pointon was on target with his kick at goal.
Back came Ampthill as they and went through the phases before second-row Jon Kpoku crashed over near the posts, with Pritchard adding the conversion. Cinderford’s George Boulton was shown a yellow card and Pointon missed a tough penalty chance before the visitors increased their advantage as half-time approached when flanker Will Allman went over, with Pritchard once again adding the extras.
The second-half began as the first had ended, but Cinderford were gaining the advantage at the scrummage enabling them to clear their lines and when replacement Liam Hemming chipped ahead Reuben Norville caught the ball and raced over for an unconverted try. The momentum the match was now with the home side and more powerful scrummaging led to referee awarding them a penalty try as their opponents set-piece came under pressure.
The try of the match followed as Cinderford took the ball up field from their own 22 and eventually were able to create the space out wide for winger Sam Smith to score, but crucially the difficult conversion was missed. As the game went into added time Ampthill launched one final attack and replacement Tadgh McElroy was driven over the line to be awarded the try and his team a bonus point.
Cinderford; Alex Frame, Sam Smith, Ed Bogue, George Boulton, Reuben Norville, Dan Pointon, Toby Dabell, Joe Smart (Capt.), Nathan Taylor, James Elliot, George Evans, Dale Lemon, Matt Lane, Aaron Ryan, Harry Hone.
Replacements; George Porter, Joe Mullis, Jack Shields, Liam Hemming, Stefan Hawley.