Cinderford 14-34 Birmingham Moseley
Chris Bertram reports on a convincing victory on the road
The day had started sunny and bright, but by the time the team and supporters arrived at Dockham Road, the Gloucestershire sky had clouded over, and the sun never quite peeked through again. With Cinderford’s floodlights out of commission, it was going to be a tricky afternoon for all concerned keeping track of the ball and of team mates too.
Birmingham Moseley were facing a Cinderford team containing a smattering of former Moseley players, including winger Mason Tonks, at Billesley as recently as 2022, prop James Elliott (up to 2017) and replacement prop Shaun Knight, once dual-registered from Gloucester’s academy in his younger days. However, Moseley boasted an ex-Foresters man in Director of Rugby Adam Balding. Who would have the best of the deal on the day?
At first, it seemed that the home side would be taking the spoils. Confusion in the Moseley ranks on the kick-off receipt allowed the ball to bounce, and a grateful Mason Tonks swooped to take the ball and touch down within the first twenty seconds. Joe Winfield converted and it was 7-0.
This put Moseley very much on the back foot, and the early part of the first half was dominated by Cinderford pressure, with the Moseley defence having to work hard to keep their opponents at bay, Cinderford being held up over the line on one occasion. However Moseley gradually worked their way into the game, and after a period spent in the Cinderford 22, Sam Pointon aimed a skilful grubber kick into the in-goal area which the defence couldn’t collect, and from the resulting scramble Aquile Smith was first to the ball to score. The conversion hit the posts, but Moseley were on the board at 7-5.
There was no further score in the first half, so the teams turned round with just the two points between them. Early exchanges in the second half seemed to be going the way of the home side, but the first score was a penalty to Moseley. It became increasingly clear that the Moseley forwards were asserting dominance, and this paid off soon after when Dan Brough was able to break through the Cinderford defence for a try that Tight Maxwell-Whiteley converted to establish a two score margin.
That was turned into a three score margin a few moments later when another fine move including a pass from Jack Jolly around his back to Aquile Smith allowed the latter to evade the defensive cover and score near the posts. The conversion was once again good.
Cinderford were not finished, however, and established some forward momentum of their own, resulting in replacement prop Shaun Knight being driven over for a try that Winfield had no trouble converting. So, for the second time in the match, a former Moseley player scored against their old side.
Moseley’s riposte came quickly. From the restart, it was Cinderford’s turn not to gather the ball cleanly, and Aquile Smith was once again on hand quickly to secure the ball and touch down for his hat-trick and Moseley’s bonus point try.
The conversion went wide on that occasion, but the final action once again saw Smith receive the ball out wide from a backs move, evading the tacklers wide out and scoring in the corner. Maxwell-Whiteley added the extras and the referee declared that time was up.
Scorers: Cinderford – Tries: Tonks (1), S Knight (71); Cons: Winfield (2, 72)
Birmingham Moseley – Smith (27, 58, 73, 79), Brough (48); Cons: Maxwell-Whiteley (49, 59, 80); Pen: Maxwell-Whiteley (42)
Teams: Cinderford: Wilcox; Tonks, Hendy, Forrester, Jones; Winfield, T Knight; Porter, Taylor, Elliott, Jerrum, Thompson, Pearce, Anderson, Evans. Replacements: Edwards, S Knight, Hodge, Shields, Williams.
Birmingham Moseley: Pointon; Smith, Creed, Allsopp, Brough; Maxwell-Whiteley, Jolly; Priest, S McNulty, Langley, Allen, French, Morris, Safe, Stedman. Replacements: Holsey, Roach, Betts, I McNulty, Painter.
Referee: Tim Allatt