Cinderford V Blaydon RFC
Saturday 1st February #Nat1 KO 2.30pm

It will be six weeks since Cinderford have played at home and they are certainly looking forward to getting back on home turf against Blaydon, who will be a tough opponent and sit six places above the Forest side who jumped up a few after last week’s success art Henley.

Catching up with Andy Deacon, director of rugby, he said: “In the 30 odd years I have been involved in rugby, as a player or a coach, I have never experienced conditions as bad as last week at Henley Hawks. The ref had to take the players off the pitch for ten minutes to shelter in the dugouts. There was a lot of talk at the interval over whether the game should be abandoned. The match has to run for 60 minutes for the result to stand and Henley were obviously asking questions. They were in a position where they were a number of points down and in weather like that, scoring opportunities are always few and far between. But the pitch was playable, it was just a case of how long the storm would last and it was such an important game for both teams. Sweet success despite the soaking!”

“While they were really difficult conditions to cope with, we started well and had a good platform at the scrum and lineout, especially early on. It got a bit messier as the game went on but I was really pleased with the way the players adapted and coped with the elements. We’ve really improved up front and the coaches and senior players fully analysed Henley’s game and put that in place. We understood exactly how we wanted to play and knew the weather could have a big impact.”

“Looking at the league positions and points it was absolutely vital that we won and even more pleasing that it was away from home. In our last three games we’ve picked up a wins at Hull Ionians and Henley and points at Doncaster. Nine points is a brilliant return, especially when you consider we took no points previously on the road. It bodes well for the future and will build confidence particularly as we have more home games than away left in this campaign.”

Team changes see Jack Adams away on England Counties duties replaced by Sam Hanks. Sam Baker starts for an injured Alex Pickersgill on the wing, with Stef Hawley coming onto the bench. Tom Heard, back from Gloucester Rugby, starts at tight head for Elliot Booley who is resting with a rib niggle. George Mills starts at 7 with Will Keenan moving to the bench on player rotation. Danny Pointon makes a welcome return to the First XV squad having played recently for United following a long-term injury.

Other team news sees Cinderford United also home to Bromsgrove RFC, while the Stags travel away to play Clifton Wanderers KO 2.30pm.

Cinderford RFC v Blaydon RFC

15. Mike Wilcox
14. Nev Codlin
13. Sam Hanks
12. Robbie Winchle
11. Sam Baker
10. Mark Davies
9. Clive Stuart-Smith

1. Chris Bundy
2. Tom Bozzard
3. Tom Heard
4. Lance Randall
5. Ed King
6. Roger Birkin
7. George Mills
8. George Evans

16. Will Davis
17. Ryan Charles
18. Will Keenan
19. Stef Hawley
20. Danny Pointon