Cinderford got their new National One campaign underway with a sensational performance to earn them a bonus point victory over Sale FC at Heywood Road.
In perfect playing conditions the visitors were quickly into their stride and a catch and drive from an attacking lineout led to a try in the corner from hooker Nathan Taylor, which was well converted by outside-half James Butler. Then quick hands and a mid-field break by centre Jack Hayes created the opportunity for winger Sam Smith to score after 12 minutes of play, which was again converted by Butler. The Forest team continued to impress and pressure on their opponents scrum earned them a couple of penalties which were successfully kicked by Butler to give his team a 20-0 lead on the half hour.
As half-time approached a poor kick allowed Sale to build up some momentum and winger Patrick Ah Van went over for an unconverted try. Then a driving maul resulted in a try for flanker Jake Barron, which was converted by Chris Johnson to make it 20-12 at the interval.
The second-half began at a frantic pace with Cinderford stretching their lead when Butler intercepted a hurried pass and raced away to score a try, which he also converted. Sale responded with another try from a driving maul when hooker Oliver Longmore touched down. The visitors ensured their victory with a three-try burst in an eight minute spell, the first came when the home pack were shoved back off their own ball at a 5m scrummage and No8 Harry Hone scored their bonus point try. Then a loose pass in mid-field saw winger Ed Bogue race clear from half-way to score, both of which were converted by Butler to give him 21 points in the match.
Cinderford’s sixth and final try came when some quick inter-passing down the blindside released replacement flanker Matt Lane to score. There was still time for the home team to earn themselves a try scoring bonus point when Teddy Leatherbarrow touched down, but it was little more than consolation as Cinderford ended up emphatic winners.
Cinderford; Ed Sheldon, Sam Smith, Terence Babarinsa, Jack Hayes, Ed Bogue, James Butler, Jimmy Williams, George Porter, Nathan Taylor, James Elliot, George Evans, Dale Lemon, Matthew Gilbert, Joe Mullis, Harry Hone. Replacements; Joe Smart, Tyler Jerrum, Matt Lane, Alex Frame, Stefan Hawley.