With both sides pushing for promotion, this was like a cup final with the loser being out of contention to gain the much-coveted second position in Gloucestershire One. Good conditions were set for the afternoon and a large crowd gathered in anticipation of an entertaining encounter, with both sides committed to running rugby.
The opening minutes saw the home side put pace on the ball, moving the point of attack and asking questions of the Ciren defence who were defending with great courage. With Cryptians playing down the slope, Ciren were finding it hard to find a way out of their own half, and when they did, they gave the ball away in the home side territory, letting the Gloucester side back into the game.
The first try went the way of the home side with a powerful run to the line. Ciren had to score to gain a foothold in the game, and this came from the boot of Ciren full back Mike Howell who kicked a well struck penalty. With OC enjoying the lion’s share of possession, the Ciren backrow comprising James Renowden, Will MacCarthy and Alex Hammond were working overtime in defence to thwart the advances. From a quick tap penalty Old Cryptians did race away to score the home side second try, which was again converted 14-3.
At this stage Ciren had to stay in the game, but retaining the ball was a difficulty for the Cotswold club, and with any scrap ball the Tuffley side’s speedy backs capitalised, resulting in the best try of the game scored in the corner, making the half time score 19-3.
To have any chance to secure the victory, Ciren had to score first in the second half. True to the script they did just that through a penalty try after the home side were penalised at scrum time. At this stage OC had two players in the sin bin, after a deliberate knock on and a late tackle. Ciren were now playing like a side who could sense a comeback was on, which it was after a great pass from Ciren skipper Oliver Newman who found the impressive centre Matt Berry to score; converted by Mike Howell. Now it was game on at 19-17 with fifteen minutes to play.
Both sides were nullifying each other with some great defensive sets, helped by some indifferent skills, and decisions from both sides. From a Cryptians line-out drive, Ciren defence straying off side, and from the resulting penalty the Cryptians once again crashed over to score their fourth try, and the win 24-17. Ciren will rue the opportunities they had to score which were not taken and which they needed in such a tight game. With all Ciren players putting in a lot of effort, and to come away with a losing BP was hard to take.
The Cirencester 2XV fixture v Old Pats 3rds was cancelled by the opposition. Thanks for supporting the 1XV in return.
Well done guys on winning the District 2 League. A fantastic season.