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Report: Fairford 32 Cirencester 15

SATURDAY saw Fairford win a historic double over league rivals Cirencester afternoon. In an earlier kick-off, Fairford’s 2nd XV had completed a narrow fought friendly victory of Cirencester 19-17.

In the Wadworth 6X Gloucestershire 1 1st XV league fixture that followed, visitors Cirencester had the better of the opening exchanges. An early Fairford error gave the visitors possession in the opposition 22 as they camped on their line. Fairford held out with staunch defence and cleared their lines. From there on the hosts seized control for the rest of the half. After an excellent turnover in midfield, James Wrona outpaced the defence to score the first try, converted by Jake Summers for 7-0. Rattled by their early rebuff, Ciren subsequently kicked straight out from the restart and Fairford were able to continue building pressure. Great accuracy at the lineout from Richie Craig and Robbie Dalgleish gave Fairford a solid platform to work from as well as a sturdy scrum. From a midfield set-piece, captain Eric White broke free and scored the second try of the game to make it 12-0 before a Ben Cohoon penalty extended the advantage to 15-0. Cirencester’s only points of the half came from a poorly dealt with kick, thus allowing them a penalty near the posts. Mike Howell converted for three points.

Defence turned the architect for the hosts next try as tremendous pressure at the lineout saw flanker Tom Cohoon gather a wayward Ciren ball and touched down to make 20-3 at half-time.

Fairford continued to dominate into the early portion of the second half, winning the ball back straight from an excellent restart by Cohoon. However, the tide soon turned and Ciren began a purple patch, winning penalties regularly. Fairford in truth were lucky not to receive a yellow card for their ill-discipline. The reds also scored two tries in the period, through a driving maul and the second through continued phase play to get right back into the affair at 20-15.

However, through good pressure, Fairford turned the tide and eased to victory through two more tries, also earning the bonus point. The first was following a phenomenal turnover from Laurence Griggs, with scrum-half Ben Taylor feeding White again to beat several defenders to score.

The game was wrapped up when hooker Craig carried through the middle of the ruck to touch down and sent the 200 strong Coln House crowd into rapture.