A depleted Wharfedale side travelled to Cinderford and although they put up a spirited performance came away empty-handed, losing 27 – 17.
Wharfedale’s task became even harder before the match started with Philip Woodhead and Matt Van Sertima withdrawing through injury and illness, causing a reshuffled back line and the introduction of Robbie Davidson at fullback
After the early exchanges of solid scrums and good positional kicking Wharfedale were awarded a penalty in the 7th minute which Tom Davidson converted.
Cinderford responded almost immediately and from a lineout moved the ball quickly through the backs for Lloyd Evans to step inside his man to touch down; the conversion was missed.
Wharfedale then lost the ball on their lineout and from the resulting scrum the ball was recycled to second row Lance Randall who forced his way over with Lloyd Evans adding the conversion.
The visitors then responded well retaining possession through their forwards and gained a good positional lineout on Cinderford’s 22, but Tom Davidson missed the ensuing penalty. This seemed to spur on Cinderford who were now enjoying the majority of possession, and got their just rewards when Lloyd Evans scored a smart try, wrong footing the defence to score under the posts and adding the extras.
Wharfedale came back strongly as half time approached, missing another penalty opportunity, but the home defence held firm and the score remained 19-3 at the interval.
The first quarter of the second half was scoreless, with the visitors playing with more purpose and tempo. Jake Armstrong was the pick of the forwards with his tireless carries and inspirational play. Then in the 63rd minute Alex Powell was driven over from a 5 metre lineout for a well worked try which Tom Davidson converted from the far touchline. During the same incident the Cinderford flanker, David Wheeler, was shown a yellow card for a technical offence.
Cinderford, down to 14 men, now played some good possession rugby and pinned Wharfedale back in their own half with accurate kicking and stealing the ball at the visitors’ lineout. From a defensive line-out on the Wharfedale 5m line prop Jake Caulfield stole through to claim his side’s fourth bonus point try.
The final ten minutes saw the visitors throw caution to the wind and a fine break and hack through by James Doherty was just thwarted by the opposition full back. Then in the 79th minute, Wharfedale were awarded yet another penalty and from the resulting lineout looked to have claimed something from the match when prop Joe Altham scored a try in the closing minutes, which Lloyd Davies converted. But as the clock ran down, Wharfedale, on the defensive yet again, were penalised and Mark Davies, on as a replacement, coolly converted the penalty from the ‘wrong’ touchline to send Wharfedale home pointless.
Wharfedale: Robbie Davidson, Josh Prell, Cameron Hudson, Tom Davidson (Harry Bullough 68), Oliver Cicognini, Lloyd Davies, James Doherty, Chris Steel (Joe Altham 34), Ian Larkin (Dan Stockdale 49), Jake Armstrong, Adam Howard (Jim Mason 65), Alex Powell, Jim Mason (Chris Howick 53), Dan Solomi and Josh Burridge.
Replacement (not used): Tom Whyte