Leeds Tykes gained a thoroughly deserved bonus point at the end of a hard-fought contest played in torrential rain and a stiff breeze throughout the game.
Cinderford opened the scoring when Mike Austin was on target with a penalty kick at goal after six minutes.
The Tykes were quick to respond when turnover ball led to a break from Kieran Davies passing to Seremaia Bai Turagabeci who kicked ahead for Charlie Venables to claim a try ahead of the chasing pack. Tighe Maxwell-Whiteley converted.
The home took advantage of a couple of penalties to build up the pressure on the away side. Hooker Sam Baker drove over to score a try, which Austin converted.
Leeds came back with an attractive period of play that saw Davies make a 50:22 and Maxwell-Whiteley just missing a long-range penalty for a Cinderford infringement at the scrum.
As half-time approached, Davies took advance of an error when it appeared a Cinderford player thought he’d knocked on so stopped playing. The ball was at his feet, the ref hadn’t blown up, the defence was all over the place. Quick-witted Davies picked up the ball and score unhindered. Maxwell-Whiteley converted to give his side a 10-14 advantage at the break.
The weather had not let up at the start of the second half. It’s a testament to both teams that the handling errors, although on the increase, were comparable to matches played in better conditions.
Leeds managed to win several lineouts from Cinderford kicking to touch for various penalties. However, they failed to get the ball away at one deep in their own half, which led to George Porter scoring an unconverted try.
Cinderford built several attacks, and it shows the strength of Leeds’ defence that they eventually opted to take a penalty kick to stretch their lead to 18-14.
A Leeds’ attempt to clear the ball from their 22 resulted in Cinderford charging the ball down. Mike Wilcox scored his side’s third try.
With minutes to go, Leeds camped in Cinderford’s half. Breaks from Lloyd and Hancock took the ball deeper into the home side’s territory. A penalty was awarded, which Davies scored to secure the losing bonus point with the last kick of the game.
23-17 at full time.
After the match, Jon Callard, Director of Rugby, said: “Another positive performance in the first half playing the conditions well. We stayed in the game against one of the better packs in the league. We’ll learn from our little errors but other from that, there’s a lot to play for.”
Cinderford’s Director to Rugby commented: “Leeds’ position in the table is not reflective of how they are performing and they showed that today.
“They were tough, played the conditions well and are clearly building for a bright future.”
23 – 17