Superb Rams grab bonus-point win against Cinderford

SEB Reynolds was delighted with his Rams side as they ended their two-match National One losing streak and maintained their 100 per cent home record with an impressive 29-7 victory against Cinderford, writes Richard Ashton. A magnificent second-quarter performance in which they ran in three tries to secure a bonus-point before half-time, followed by a tactical and defensive masterclass in the second half, led to a convincing success which left the Director of Rugby lauding his side. He said: "I'm really delighted with the performance.

It's been quite a while since we lost two in a row and you have to deal with that mentally, and we're finding out at this level it's a hard grind. "To get a good win against a really physical Cinderford side was very pleasing and the fact we got the bonus-point in the first half was important. Any bonus-point you get at this level is hugely important, so it was nice to get that and home form is very important."

The hosts took a ninth-minute lead when Connor Stapley barged his way over from close range following a series of pick-and-goes around the Cinderford line, debutant full-back Will Partington adding the extras. However, the away side hit back early in the second quarter when centre Terence Barbarasina dotted down for a converted score. Rams took control with a quick-fire double, though, with James Baker powering over before a deft grubber kick from hooker Ben Henderson - who went for the option rather than putting the ball through the hands with a four-on-one overlap - was hoovered up on the left wing by Conor Corrigan, the speedster showing excellent feet to put his side 19-7 to the good.

Reflecting on Henderson's decision-making, Reynolds joked: "Sometimes I just have to let Ben be Ben. You might say to him 'why did you do that?' but he's put some lovely kicks in before and if he recognises why he's doing them and what for, then I don't mind that. He's great."

Following Corrigan's effort, the bonus-point was secured by half-time for the home side, a lovely off-load from Partington allowing Henry Bird to go over for his side's fourth try. Cinderford rallied as the interval approached, but a heroic Rams defensive effort kept them out, a passage of play which Reynolds believed was key. He commented: "We took our chances really well, and before the weather came in.

We were able to get points on the board, and it was then very hard to score. "Because of the way the second half went with the weather, not conceding before half-time ended up being a crucial period of the game. The fact we were able to apply pressure in defence, deny them scoring and then force them to kick it out was a huge moment."

He continued: "We were bold, we wanted to try and play a bit. I think if you just try and truck it down the nine-ten channel against Cinderford they'll just smash you backwards, so we knew we had to be slightly different in the way we approached the game and I think we had a nice variety to our play.

"The outside backs were excellent and played some really good territory and the pack were very aggressive in their carrying, getting us over the gain-line." With the weather worsening considerably after the break - the rain beginning to lash down and the strong wind which had been behind the hosts proceeding to blow more across the pitch - Rams shut the game down superbly, with scrum-half Ollie Cole, the returning Stevie Bryant and Partington particularly impressive. Reynolds paid tribute to the trio, remarking: "Stevie's been brilliant.

It was his 101st cap and he's just a brilliant player - one of the strongest defensive centres I've seen at the club and it was great to have him back. He added a real energy to the group and the squad were excited for him which was great. "I've watched Ollie come across from Reading as a young 18-year-old and seen him mature into a really, really good scrum-half.

He's got a very good tempo to his game and a good pass, but he's also added maturity to it and he can read the game and have control. His box kicking was exceptional. "We felt Will could really help us in the territory side of things and he brings a different skill set.

He's been exceptionally good in training and he played well for the Titans in the last couple of weeks so we wanted to have a look at him and he was excellent." With the home side kicking effectively and defending superbly, they were able to keep their opponents at bay, the only score of the second period a Partington penalty in the 64th minute which pushed his side more than three tries clear and ensured the game was safe. Reflecting on the second half, Reynolds concluded: "The midfield were outstanding.

The chop tackles which were going in were very good, and Drew (Humberstone) and Will played a very good tactical game along with Ollie and his box kicks, so we were able to pin Cinderford down. We got a little bit lucky because the wind changed and we were able to use that to our advantage." Having gone into the game on the back of two consecutive losses for the first time since January 20, 2017 - ironically at Cinderford - and with injuries to the likes of Alex Seers, Jak Rossiter and Andrew Denham, Reynolds was pleased his side stepped up to the mark.

He said: "We knew at some point this level was going to show us what it's really about and you get some knocks, you lose some games and you just have to suck it up and get on with it. You can't cry about it or wonder what's going on and whether the bubble's burst - there was no bubble in the first place.

"This level is a grind and it's about getting on week-to-week. It's great to have the win, but we can't over-celebrate it because we've got a strong side to play against next week." The result lifts Rams back up to fourth in the table, but Reynolds now merely has Rotherham in his sights for next Saturday (3pm).

He concluded: "It's a long journey and a game against a team we've never played before as a club. We're always excited about going to new places. They've got a big pack, they'll be physical, but we'll look to take them on as best we can."

Rams 29 Cinderford 7 Rams Tries: C Stapley 9, Baker 26, Corrigan 28, Bird 36

Conversions: Partington 10, 27, 37 Penalty: Partington 64 Cinderford

Try: Barbarasina 22 Conversion: Butler 23 Half Time: 26-7

Star Man: Ollie Cole (Rams) Attendance: 356 Referee: Nick Wood

Rams: Partington, Bird, Bryant, Jones (Hayhow 70), Corrigan, Humberstone, Cole (Moates 53); Kidd, Henderson (Moffitt 72), Baker (Zeiss 72), Taylor, C Stapley, Guttridge (Wolf 65), Vooght, R Stapley.

Cinderford: Sheldon, Smith, Barbarasina, Hayes, Bogue, Butler (Hawley 61), Williams (Frame 61); Dawe, Taylor, Elliott (Brockett 41), Gilbert, Lemon, Lane (Jerrum 53), Beer (Mullis 53), Hone

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