Cinderford ended Sale’s long unbeaten run in the clash between last year’s North and South champion sides in a thrilling encounter at the Beavis Memorial ground.

The visitors began the match strongly and second-row Gareth Rawlings burst through to score a try which Kieran Wilkinson converted. The home side soon responded when winger Reuben Norville raced over, then Aaron Ryan finished off a fine spell of inter-passing, with Liam Hemming landing both conversions.

Hemming then stretched his side’s lead further when he scored a fine individual try, which he also converted. Back came Sale though, with first Andy Hughes and then livewire winger Aaron Reed both going over for unconverted tries, which made it 21-17 to the hosts at the interval.

The second-half began disastrously for the home side as they gifted their opponents two tries in quick succession, with Reed intercepting to score his second and then Jonty Rawcliffe adding his team’s fifth try, both of which were converted by Matt Bradley. A long spell of pressure near the Sale try line eventually saw home second-row Dale Lemon force his way over to put Cinderford right back in the game.

The final ten minutes saw the home forwards getting on top and No8 Harry Hone put them back in front when he scored a try following a series of pick and goes close to the line, with Hemming converting. Hone then scored his second five minutes from time, again converted by Hemming and Cinderford kept their opponents at bay in the closing minutes to secure their victory.

Cinderford; Stefan Hawley, Terence Babarinsa, Ed Bogue, George Boulton, Reuben Norville, Liam Hemming, Jimmy Williams, Joe Smart (Capt.), Nathan Taylor, James Elliot, Ben So’oailo Chan, Dale Lemon, Jack Shields, Aaron Ryan, Harry Hone.

Replacements; Tim Brockett, Sam Baker, Callum Allen, Matthew Bennett, Alex Frame.