Bishop's Stortford make it eight wins out of nine in National League 1 by beating Cinderford
By John Allanson
Bishop’s Stortford made it eight wins from their last nine outings when they beat Cinderford 37-17 at Silver Leys.
The victory puts them 13 points clear of the National League 1 relegation zone with only four matches remaining.
Stortford started strongly and were seven points up after four minutes. Manu Vunipola made a good break and found Reuben Bird-Tulloch in close support to run in for a try, which was converted by Tom Banks.
Scores were level within 11 minutes after a penalty against Stortford was kicked to touch inside their 22, producing a penalty try for the visitors and a yellow card for Seb Brownhill from the resultant lineout maul.
A quick counter-attack from the restart saw the Cinderford line under threat, forcing a penalty and Banks took three points.
The game became scrappy for a while, with the visitors’ aggression at breakdowns nullifying Stortford’s attacking ambitions.
Eventually, another penalty against Stortford in midfield went to touch in their 22 and the powerful visiting pack drove over for a converted try to Jack Preece on 23 minutes.
Two penalties from Banks restored a two-point lead for the hosts, which was stretched to nine on the stroke of half time as Nick Hankin was given space to round the defence and touch down, with Banks adding the extras.
Cinderford competed well in the opening stages of the second half and added three points to their tally after 60 minutes from the second of two very kickable penalties.
Stortford came more into the game as the opposition appeared to tire and were rewarded with a try to Joss Linney after 64 minutes.
Banks converted, as he did 15 minutes later after Andy Christie touched down following a length-of-the-field breakout with Linney and Bird-Tulloch prominent from a rare spell of intense Cinderford pressure.
Stortford: Hankin, Duff, Bird-Tulloch, Winter, Linney, Vunipola, Banks; Brownhill, Caulfield, McCrone, Apperley, Tomlinson, Wilson, Elsom, Ball. Replacements: King, Harrison-Price, Christie, C Smith, T Coleman.
Cinderford: Hawley, S Smith, Babarinsa, Hayes, Norville, Boulton, Frame: Porter, Preece, Elliott, Smart, Lemon, Lane, Ryan, Hone. Replacements: Brockett, Bever, Bennett, Dabell, Hemming.
Scorers: Stortford - Tries: Bird-Tulloch 4, Hankin 40, Linney 64, Christie 79; Cons: Banks 5, 40, 65, 80; Pens: Banks 21, 29, 37. Cinderford - Tries: Pen try 15, Preece 23; Cons: Frame 24; Pens: Hawley 60.
Referee: Veryan Boscawen.
Star Man: Nick Hankin(Stortford).