RUGBY: Cirencester edge past Stroud in Combination Cup semi

Wilts and Gloucestershire Standard: Action from the Stroud v Cirencester Combination Cup semi final Action from the Stroud v Cirencester Combination Cup semi final

CIRENCESTER pulled back a 14-point deficit to edge past Stroud in this local floodlit cup game.

Combination Cup Semi Final

Stroud 22

Cirencester 26

Ciren were first on the board when the Stroud defence were slow to move away and Parry slotted the penalty in the second minute.

Stroud started to use the windy conditions well and kept pinning Ciren back into their own 22 area with some good tactical kicking.

On nine minutes, Stroud broke the Ciren whitewash after a catch and drive from a line-out to lead 5-3.

Stroud were continuing to put pressure on Cirencester and with 16 minutes gone they scored their second try again from another catch and drive.

With the conditions worsening as the rain started to fall, Ciren were again driven back. This time the referee lost patience and yellow-carded one of the Ciren players on 21 minutes, Stroud went for their third catch and drive maul try and though Ciren defended this well Stroud capitalised on their rivals being a man down to use their backs to go under the posts for their third try. The conversion gave them a 17-3 lead.

Cirencester needed to score the next points and from the kick off they put pressure on the Stroud defence. Parry raced through to chase a loose ball but was pulled back and the ref gave a penalty try which Parry converted with 24 minutes gone.

The next ten minutes proved a messy affair with poor handling from both sides resulting in a series of scrums, one of which produced another yellow card for a Ciren hooker.

With three minutes left of the half, Stroud's impressive player-coach Sam Viggers scored his fourth try in the corner to give his side a 22-10 lead.

From the restart, Cirencester displayed good ball retention and Sam Hill broke the line to score a try on the stroke of half-time.

The second half started well for the 14 men of Cirencester as they now had the wind at their backs and eventually the referee carded a Stroud player.

Ciren went for the corner and from the line-out they went through a series of rucks until Bunce broke through ten metres out to score a try.

Stroud had a couple of penalties from which they chose the line-out option but Cirencester went for goal with their chance from 40 metres as Fisher reclaimed the lead for the first time since the early minutes at 23-22.

Stroud came back strongly and only some determined defending by Allen and McCarthy stopped scores.

With ten minutes remaining, Parry kicked another penalty to make it 26-22.

Stroud did not give up as they were only a score away from extra time, but a knock on finally brought the game to a close.

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