Cinderford RFC was formed in 1886 in the Forest of Dean a mining area in West Gloucestershire situated between the Rivers Severn and Wye. The area, a source of iron ore and coal since pre-Roman times, also provided timber for Nelson’s navy and was seen as remote and the inhabitants as wild and unpredictable.

By the turn of the twentieth century Cinderford were playing leading teams from England and South Wales but after the Great War the club’s fortunes, and the local coal mining industry declined, and many good players ‘went North’ to seek employment in the coalfields and rugby in the ‘Northern Union’. Nevertheless, A D ‘Bumps’ Carpenter gained an England Cap against South Africa in 1931.

The club’s re-emergence after WW2 owes much to the efforts of the late Bob and Mary Beavis. ‘Cinderford White Rose’ a club mainly of miners, had kept rugby going over the war years. When they decided to re-form as Cinderford RFC Mary became Hon. Sec. and remained so for the next fifty years.

The club started league life at level 6 and by 2001 was at level 4. Relegated after just one season Cinderford were back by 2004 and made it to Level 3 in 2007-08 after a nail-biting North/South play-off with Darlington Mowden Park. After eight seasons in National One they were relegated at the end of 2015-16. During that time budding internationalists Freddie Burns, Sam Underhill, Harry Williams and Josh Adams all gained valuable experience as dual-registered players. At the end of season 2017-18 Cinderford, captained by George Porter, regained National One status by becoming National 2 S) Champions with 143 league points from 29 wins and 1 defeat. At the end of 2021/22 season Cinderford, captained by Harry Hone, achieved fifth place in National League One its best place since gaining National One status.

This season Cinderford have made a good start and are presently sixth in the table with a playing record of P9 W6 D1 L2 F259 A224 BP9 Pts 33.The have posted wins over Birmingham Moseley, Leeds Tykes, Plymouth Albion, Taunton, Sale FC and Esher. Their two defeats were against Rosslyn Park on the opening day of the season and also at Cambridge. Last Saturday they drew their home game against Chinnor in a close game which ended 10-10.

Cinderford’s leading points scorer is full-back Michael Austin who is second in the National One points table with 84 points. Their leading try-scorer is hooker Nathan Taylor who is fourth in the try-scoring table with 10 touch-downs. He was also the club’s leading try-scorer in the 2018-19 season and in the 2019-20 season. Last season they won18 of their 28 games.

We look forward to welcoming the Cinderford players and officials to our ground on November 12th.

Note; The first four paragraphs were taken from the Cinderford RFC website for which I am grateful.

Norman Angell

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