Hull came within a minute of winning their first game of the season, but a last minute try by Cinderford denied them. It was a game Hull could have won, they could also have lost it, but in the end, had to settle for a draw after the conversion was missed.
Hull were not defeated for the first time this season and it was no more than their combined efforts deserved. Without prop Charlie Beech and winger/fullback Mike Adlard, they fought and thought their way to a draw in what should have been their third if not fourth victory.
Hull started the game well and two early tries, one converted by full back Reece Dean gave them the ideal start. Winger Keane Naylor made no mistake when he was put in the open after just five minutes to touch down in the right hand corner. Four minutes later, a big tackle on the halfway line saw Cinderford lose possession and Hull’s prop Loma Kivalu put winger Dan Evans away for a 50-yard try which was well converted from wide out by Dean.
Cinderford were quick to respond and tries from winger Holborn and full back Wilcox in the 17th and 25th minute, both of which were converted by scrum half Austin, saw the visitors edge ahead 14-12. Hull were able to go in at the break leading 19-12 courtesy of a try from their centre Ali Heard, who powered his way over after being sent clear by his centre partner Steve Johnson after 36 minutes. It was a big day for the Heard family as Ali’s sister Tatyana finished England’s heart-breaking World Cup final loss to hosts New Zealand hours earlier.
The second period saw the visitors score 10 unanswered points in as many minutes as first captain and number eight Hone scored a try after relentless forward pressure from the Cinderford pack. Austin’s conversion was soon followed by a penalty by the same player to see his side ahead 22-19 after 53 minutes.
Hull levelled the scores with a fine try as the home side worked the ball right for substitute winger Sefo Turaga off load the ball to back row forward Alex Todd to touch down for an unconverted try to make it 25-24 to Cinderford.
As time began to run out Hull surged upfield and the pressure began to tell on Cinderford and two Dean penalties saw Hull leading 30-25 with just a minute to go. Two penalty awards that went against Hull gave Cinderford the ball and a try by centre Boulton deep into injury time saw them draw level with the chance to win the game but the missed conversion saw honours even after a pulsating encounter with both sides scoring four tries.
Every player had inspired moments. Ben Boothman’s scrummaging with his front row partners for penalties. Laurence Cowen-Leak’s dramatic break from the back of a line out, Reece Dean’s impossible 50/22 to gain his side a line out when we were under pressure in our own 22 metre area, Cam Curry’s impossible catch from a throw that had gone wrong, the thunderous tackle on the halfway line that brought Dan Evans a try.
Having achieved so much as players but without the ultimate reward of winning games, let’s hope that the team will realise that they not only can play at this level, but have been doing so for most of the season.
There is a now a short break before the long trip away to Esher. Surely we cannot play as well as we did against Cinderford without coming away with all the points very soon.