Gloucester Premier
Cirencester 15
Whitehall 23

IN A vital game for the two basement sides, it was Whitehall who came out on top to push Cirencester to the bottom of the table.

Ciren came out of the blocks the quickest, spreading the ball wide with intent.

Their early pressure resulted in a breakthrough by Matt Berry, the Cirencester No.8 and man of the match, who went on a mazy run to score the game’s first try.

The aim for Andy Deacon's Cotswold side was to gain further momentum by backing up the score, something not achieved in recent weeks.

Off a solid home-side scrum, the Whitehall No.9 intercepted an attacking pass at the base of the scrum to score under the Ciren posts. With the conversion added the score was 5-7.

The energetic Cirencester side maintained their early pace, but as in previous games this season their good intentions were undone by giving away needless penalties which enabled the Bristol side to gain good field position.

Then, with a well-executed kick- pass, they scored their second try of the day, making the half-time score 5-12.

Unlike the first half Ciren started the second period slowly, and Whitehall gained a further advantage with their third try (5-17).

The home side required a rally and got it when the forwards started making several positive runs, with Cirencester skipper James Renowden and Chris Thorn to the fore.

Held up short of the line, the ball was then moved wide with the determined Sam Griffiths crashing over for a score; the extra two points were kicked by Iwan Thomas (12-17).

The game then entered a scrappy period with both sides unable to gain an advantage mainly due to the line-out for both sides failing. This did not help either side establish any continuity.

From a sloppy penalty given away by the hosts, Whitehall added to their advantage to make the score 12-20. But Ciren were not finished and pushed hard to the end with Thomas kicking his second penalty on the day (15-20).

The game was still winnable and to their credit Ciren worked hard to get their all-important score.

But it was not to be with Whitehall scoring another very soft penalty which clinched the victory and took a losing bonus point away from Ciren.

This was a very much improved Cirencester display, with players not gaining what they deserved.