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Cinderford's battle for National One survival continues at Rosslyn Park

By lauracfell  |  Posted: April 24, 2014

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THE finish is in sight for battling Cinderford as their campaign for National One safety heads to London for a clash with promotion chasing Rosslyn Park.

A 17-9 victory over Old Albanian in Hertfordshire last week saw Cinderford climb above Loughborough Students to 12th and plunged Henley Hawks into the relegation mire in 14th.

Mathematically, the Foresters need another three points to guarantee National One rugby next term, after picking up four last week.

Anything less and Cinderford will have to rely on Henley losing away to Tynedale, to put an end to their battle tomorrow, and will not have to play their final game of the season at home to Wharfedale.

If not, Cinderford must secure the points against Wharfedale on May 3 in what it sure to be a thrilling climax to a hotly contested season.

At the other end of the table, Rosslyn Park are just three points adrift of pacesetters Doncaster Knights and have promotion in their sights.

A bonus-point win against Cinderford would mean Doncaster have to take at least two points from their away clash with Blackheath to make the Championship cut.

Despite the magnitude of the game for both sides, director of rugby Andy Deacon has urged his side to declare war on Rosslyn Park in Barnes tomorrow.

The former Gloucester prop said: “It will be a challenge, but we cannot talk ourselves out of it.

“We went up to Doncaster and they put 60 odd points on us, but we still scored four tries and came away with a point.

“We do that this time, and we are almost safe. We can do it. We have just got to play well.

“We will keep going to the very end. Traditionally this club has gone all the way to the wire, right down to the last game, and that will stand us in good stead as well tomorrow.

“We’ve prepared well and freshened the guys up – they have had a tough few weeks, week after week after week of rugby with no breaks, but they can see the finish line now.

“We’ve just got to get over that line and make it a good summer for the club.”

Deacon said that the jubilant celebrations on the final whistle last week was a sign of how desperate the side are to secure league security.

The battling spirit which saw the Foresters notch up their 11th victory also demonstrates how proud the Dockham Road men are of their club’s status.

He continued: “Last week was a 20-man effort.

“The celebrations were about relief for me. I put a lot of time and a lot of effort into this. I am passionate and proud of what I achieve and what the guys achieve for me, on my behalf.

“They are my mouthpiece out there. Yes, I may do all the talking off the pitch but they are my mouthpiece, and if they go well, it makes me happy.”

Fly-half Mark Davies (quad) and captain George Evans (knee) have both been ruled out for the remainder of the season which means full-back Mike Wilcox will continue to play in the 10 jersey while Adam Balding continues to replace Evans at number eight and as captain. George Mills replaces New Zealand-bound Will Keenan while Tom Hicks is fit again.

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