The first league fixture after the Christmas break saw Cirencester take on the very competitive Spartans from Gloucester; a large and raucous crowd gathered at the Whiteway to see if Cirencester could start the New Year with a much needed win. Fielding a young side with (9) players under the age of (20), Cirencester started with lot of intent working their way into the Spartan’s territory. With Iwan Thomas asking lots of probing questions from fly half, as ever skipper James Renowden was in bullish mood, hitting everything that moved and carrying the ball with great determination; and full back Zeb Waite was a danger man on the counter attack.
The early endeavour was rewarded with an Iwan Thomas penalty 3-0. Ciren would not allow Spartans any space or time on the ball. With a pressurised kick fielded by winger Ben Ramsey deep in his own half, and with great speed and power he moved quickly into the away side territory feeding the ever willing centre Oli Newman, who crashed over. Thomas added the conversion 10-0.
Ciren were then pinned back with pressure from the Gloucester side, who battered the Ciren line, Ciren repelled the attacks time and again with magnificent defence. Sean Beech, the Ciren hooker who had a great game, tackled himself to stand still, backed up with backrow players Ryan Brookes and Shane Robinson who was on his 1XV debut. After a spell of dominance Spartans scored three points which was a morale victory for the men in red and black: half time 10-3.
The beginning of the second half saw some of the intensity go out of the game which was understandable after such a frantic first half. Spartans once again pushed the home side back and after yet another spell of defensive work with this time Luke Newman, Tom Woodward making crucial tackles. But with such pressure something had to give, and it did with a try scored out wide by the red ants; conversion made, it was game on at 10 -10.
The game entered into a nervy period with both sides striving for an opening. Ciren went to their go to man centre Matt Berry who was making yardage in midfield, but it was again the away side who took the lead, with a speculative drop goal with the ball just making it over the bar 10-13.
With time running out Ciren ploughed forward with both Ciren props Fred Watkins and Darren Stephens battering the Spartans line. With 30 seconds left Ciren were awarded a penalty bang in front of the posts the brave decision was made to go for the victory by turning the kick at goal down, and going for the scrum. It was not to be as Ciren got held up on the line. As the final whistle blew, with Ciren players out on their feet, the much need victory had not been gained, but a lot of pride and respect was restored with the player’s energy, attitude and application.
Away at Old Cryptians, Cirencester 2XV played Cryptians 3XV and won 31-19 – well done guys.
Ahead of the #GlosPrem league game this weekend away at St Mary’s Old Boys, Cirencester welcomes Mark Cornwell to lead the training session on Tuesday evening. Mark is Hartpury RFC’s head coach and is warmly welcomed by the senior playing squad.