Cinderford recovered from a 22-7 deficit at half-time to earn themselves a draw against league leaders Blackheath.

In cold but sunny conditions it was the visitors who made all the early running and outside-half Mark Cook soon opened their account with a penalty, awarded for offside, from in front of the posts.  Blackheath kept up the pressure and they recycled the ball through numerous phases before prop Tom Williams forced his way over for a try from close range, with Cook on target with the conversion.  The home side quickly responded however when Liam Hemming made a clean break through the opposition defensive line before offloading to winger Sam Smith who scored under the posts, with Hemming adding the conversion.

Having got themselves back in the match, Cinderford then gifted possession back to their opponents from the re-start and second-row Neale Patrick crashed over for an unconverted try.  A third try soon followed for Blackheath scored by winger Craig Dowsett, which Cook converted and at this stage of the match the visitors looked well in control at 22-7 ahead. As half-time approached Cinderford were guilty of wasting a great chance to score and it remained unchanged at the interval.

The home side came out firing as the second-half got underway and were held just short of the try line before visiting second-row Tom Stradwick was shown a yellow card.  Cinderford took full advantage of the extra man by scoring two tries in a four minute spell to come right back into the match. First of all hooker Nathan Taylor finished a lineout catch and drive with Hemming adding the extras before Stef Hawley’s chip ahead was gathered up by Hemming and he released Ewan Fenley to score under the posts.

The match was then delayed following a serious looking injury to visiting hooker Mike Perks.  When play resumed Blackheath put the home try line under pressure and home flanker Aaron Ryan was shown a red card for an off the ball incident. Cinderford survived the onslaught and gradually moved back up field and man of the match Hemming levelled the scores with a penalty from long range as the game went into its closing stages. There was still time for late drama though, but Cook’s kick at goal with the last play fell short.

Cinderford; Stef Hawley, Sam Smith, Terence Babarinsa, George Boulton, Reuben Norville, Liam Hemming, Ewan Fenley, George Porter (Capt.), Nathan Taylor, Tom Heard, Ben Chan, Dale Lemon, Matt Bennett, Aaron Ryan, Harry Hone.

Replacements; Tim Brockett, Joe Smart, Tom Bozzard, Will Keenan, Alex Frame.