Bill Adams Cup

Dursley III 21 Cirencester III 10

THE outcome of the first final in this season’s Stroud & District Rugby Combination Cups was in doubt until the closing minutes when Dursley confirmed their deserved victory.

A large crowd watched a well-contested, physical but overall good-spirited match which ebbed and flowed.

Ciren lined up with a mix of gnarled old veterans and young fleet-footed Colts and it was Dursley's greater solidity up front plus their familiarity of playing together slightly more often this season which made the ultimate difference.

Cup holders Cirencester were captained by David Doyle, who had retired after the 2014 final.

They were forced into changes from the team which beat Minchinhampton in the semi final, including a new front row but started off brightly with an early penalty from Archie Doyle. But their dominance of territory and possession came to nothing due to pressure at the set piece and over-officious refereeing.

Veteran scrum half Paddy Brennan was marched back several times for his use of the lip. Doyle narrowly missed his next penalty and Dursley then imposed themselves on the game with a converted try by Ollie Winterbottom and penalty to lead 10-3 at half-time.

Cirencester were wilting in the heat at the start of the second half and lost both Mark Vaughan and Dan Carter to off-the ball injuries.

But they surprisingly rallied 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.

The score was now 10-10 – game on.

Ciren again conceded two soft penalties and Smith took a harsh yellow card following a rib-tickling tackle.

Fourteen-man Town pressed for a vital score but it was not to be and Dursley rubbed salt in the holder’s wounds with a breakaway try from Ed Paddock in the closing stages to make the score 21-10.

Geoff Davies, the GRFU president, handed over the Bill Adams Trophy to Dursley’s ancient captain Phil Moorsom amid raucous cheering.

Cirencester RFC can take heart from the match – not only has the third XV been resurrected but a large number of Colts have been introduced into senior rugby. This match saw great performances from the hirsute Doyle, newcomer Todd, young Ronald, speedy Sam Scott and returning-hero Smith.

Cirencester: 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.