Cirencester 3rd XV 10 Dursley 3rd XV 21
The first Final of this season’s Stroud & District Rugby Combination Cups took place at Dursley RFC last Saturday in wonderful Spring conditions. A large crowd watched a well-contested, physical but overall good-spirited match take place between two old rivals and until the final minute there was only ever one score in the ever-ebbing contest. A complimentary mix of gnarled old Veterans and young fleet-footed Colts faced off and the home side’s greater solidity up front plus their familiarity of playing together slightly more often this season made the ultimate difference.
Cirencester, the Cup holders, surprisingly under David Doyle’s captaincy – he had publically retired at the repeat 2014 Final but obviously forgotten – were a slightly denuded squad from their semi-final victory over Minchinhampton with a new front-row, some returning players and those youngsters not playing in the Colts Cup Semi-Final (see below) started off the brighter with an early penalty by Archie Doyle but their superior territorial and possession advantage came to nothing due to some pressure at set-piece and via annoying the Glos Society referee, Mr Clark. Veteran scrum-half Paddy Brennan was marched back several times for his use of lip. Doyle narrowly missed his next penalty and Dursley then imposed themselves on the game with a converted try and penalty. The score stayed like that – half-time 3-10.
Cirencester started the second half slightly wilting in the hot conditions and lost both Mark Vaughan and Dan Carter to the side-lines with off-the ball injuries. But Lazarus-like Town struck right back with a scintillating score. Brennan broke from a ruck and neatly passed the ball inside to young flanker, Toben Ronald, who had a fine game alongside Oscar Todd. Ronald carried on the burst before spinning the ball wide to substitute Leon Smith who scorched over the white-wash near the post. Doyle converted. 10-10, game on. Brennan and Mr Clark then decided to differ on Laws and Dursley scored from two soft penalties. Smith took a harsh yellow card following a rib-tickling tackle and with the sun-bathed crowd on edge 14-man Town pressed for the vital score but it sadly came to no avail. Dursley with a full squad to utilise then y rubbed salt in the holder’s wound with a breakaway try in the dying minutes. 10-21 final score.
Geoff Davies the GRFU President, and tongue-twisting Dursley resident, presented the prizes to the officials and runners-up Cirencester before handing over the Bill Adams’ Trophy to Dursley’s ancient captain, Phil Moorsom, amongst raucous cheering.
Cirencester RFC can take heart from the match – not only has the 3rd XV been resurrected end-of-season but a large number of Colts have been introduced into senior rugby. This match saw great performances from the hirsute Doyle, new-comer Todd, young Ronald, speedy Sam Scott and returning-hero Smith. The better team, Dursley, won on the day but overall local community rugby was the actual winner.
Team : T.Skelton, D.Doyle, M Vaughan, D Carter, R Baldwin, O Todd, T Ronald, J Newman, P Brennan, R Lister, S Scott, T Dykes, A Doyle, S Davison, J Gale. Reserves : L Smith, B Wiltshire, S Brunsdon, J Waite.