Stroud Combination Junior Cup Final

Cirencester II 41 Stroud II 31

CIRENCESTER did their talking on the pitch, showing fantastic character and guts to see off a confident Stroud side to lift the Stroud Combination Junior Cup Final at their Whiteway ground.

Cirencester were bolstered by just one first-team regular, Sam Hill in the second row.

The home side got off to a great start, scoring after just 35 seconds when Paddy Tarleton beat three would-be tacklers on the blindside from 50 metres; Matt Harman added the conversion to make it 7-0.

Stroud responded with a converted try of their own, Finlay Sharp outstripping the covering defence, with Cory Baker converting.

After camping deep in Stroud territory, eventually the ball was spun wide for Steven 'Pirate' Davison to score with Harman again converting in the 18th minute.

Cirencester then conceded consecutive penalties and Stroud scored via Chris Alderson after a catch-and-drive line-out. Baker added the extras to make it 14-14.

Two successful penalties from Harman made it 20-14 but with a Ciren player in the sin bin Stroud closed to within three points with their own penalty under the posts.

Cirencester began the second half strongly with two tries, the first of them converted by Harmon; after great work by the forwards from a line-out, Tarleton scored his second and then James Isaacs joined the scorers with Cirencester's fourth try to make it 32-17.

Shortly afterwards Harman slotted another penalty (35-17).

Cirencester began to get on the wrong side of the referee's decisions and were cut to 14 with a player sent to the bin. Stroud capitalised on this scoring a couple of tries through Alderson and replacement lock Rob Davey; both scores were converted by Baker (35-31).

Cirencester still moved forward and the unerring boot of Harman kicked two further penalties to make the final score 41-31.

Cirencester received a third yellow card bringing their numbers down to13 and setting up a tense finish, but they ran out worthy winners with a scoreline that did not flatter them.

Cirencester were dominant in all areas of the game with forwards controlling scrums and line-out and the backs looking sharper with superior handling.

Several players were outstanding for Cirencester: Harman had a great day with the boot; Ed Andrew made the scrum solid; Chris Thorn marshalled the forwards well; Phil Morley Jones made some great line breaks; Paddy Tarleton showed his quality in attack, and Kris Humphreys, a new recruit to rugby at the start of the season, made some exceptional turnovers on the floor. Adam Barker, a great captain for the seconds, deservedly raised the trophy to great cheers from the local supporters.