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Deac's Week, with Cinderford director of rugby Andy Deacon

By The Citizen  |  Posted: April 23, 2014

We’ve got two big reasons to celebrate county success:

There was double cause for celebration with both Longlevens and Newent winning their Junior Vase and Senior Vase Cup semi-finals.

I was absolutely delighted for Longlevens and just getting to Twickenham is a massive achievement in itself.

Everyone is very excited there and it is testament to the hard work of chairman Richard Rudge who has been there for many years, working towards this goal assisted by Stu Cale.

Also a mention to Rich Yorke in his 10th year as President, who likewise always aimed for a Twickenham final, and to complete the family ties, a mention for my elder brother Mark Deacon, vice chairman, who has worked tirelessly supporting this campaign.

Twelve of the starting team have come up through the Juniors which is testament to how the club is set up.

The future is bright in the Youth section with three teams getting through to County Cup finals; Under-13s, Under-16s and Under-17s.

More than 250 locals made the trip to Battersea and by all accounts it was a great day out with the bar drunk dry!

There will again be a travelling red army going to Twickenham and as it’s on May 4, I will be able to join them and it will be great to see my boy Oli playing there.

The boys are all really looking forward to gracing the turf and they reckon it will suit their style of play with a really classy back-three.

I’m not so sure about that because I’ve been there myself and it will be interesting to see what they say after about an hour playing on that fast, expansive pitch.

The whole community is getting behind the club which is great and even Longlevens Football Club are talking about taking a coach up.

With Newent there in the Senior competition it will be a great occasion for Gloucestershire and theirs is a great story and one that doesn't seem to be ending anytime soon.

Andy Addis is always great with Longlevens, offering advice having won the competition last year, and has stayed in touch throughout the season.

Fingers crossed both teams will clear the final hurdle at ‘HQ’ and that will cap a brilliant season for Gloucestershire rugby with Hartpury and Lydney securing promotion. It just goes to show how healthy and successful rugby is in our area.

At that the top of that pyramid, it was a disappointing day for Gloucester Rugby.

More than 20 tackles were missed which is concerning. On average if you can miss less than 10 tackles and concede less than 10 penalties you will be in a good position to gain something from the game.

Sometimes a game will open up and the fact that Wasps also missed a lot is testament to that but the sheer volume that Gloucester missed is unacceptable.

But at the same time I think it’s important not to jump the gun.

I have a huge amount of confidence in what Nigel Davies, Andrew Stanley and the rest of the coaches are doing.

It’s perhaps taking a bit longer than people might have hoped but with backing and support I’m sure they will bring success.

Nigel has already addressed many of the problems for next season by recruiting a lot of top quality players and they will make a big difference.

The disappointing thing is it now looks extremely unlikely that they will make the Rugby Champions Cup.

People might say they are not good enough to compete with the top 20 teams in Europe and at the moment you can’t really argue with that but you always need to target that.

Playing in that competition brings greater financial and commercial rewards. Success on the pitch breeds success off it and vice versa.

But that said the Challenge Cup has proved a top competition. The quality will be even higher next season but it remains a good opportunity for silverware.

Heroic effort moves us closer to safety:

Cinderford took a major stride towards safety on Saturday with a vital win over Old Albanians.

There was a heroic defensive effort where the boys put their bodies on the line, the scrum went well and the only downside was the three yellow cards we picked up.

We couldn’t really complain about any of them but the way the boys coped and adapted during those periods was superb.

A lot had been made of the games we had in hand but they count for nothing unless you convert them into points and to take four away from home has really pushed us up the table.

Loughborough Students and Henley have both dropped below us and they will need to win next weekend, otherwise one of them will go down.

Loughborough face Blaydon and Henley take on Tynedale so they both have tough matches, while we have Rosslyn Park away.

We’re under no illusions of how tough it will be in London. They will be gunning for promotion in a battle with Doncaster Knights and have a very strong and complete squad.

But we have been in good form on the road and if we can pick up anything at all we will be happy.

We’re certainly not going there to lose but you have to be a realist.

We are at opposite ends of the table and perhaps a realistic target would be to pick up a bonus-point or two.

Three points should be enough for us, regardless of what the other teams do, so if we do manage to get something at Rosslyn Park we will be in a very good position.

We just have to make sure we stay focussed and prepare well this week.

We have a lot of battered bodies but hopefully the majority will pull through.

If we still need points following the weekend, we still have the Wharfedale fixture to play so that is a safety net.

If we don’t need the points, we probably won’t play the fixture because it’s been a long season and there are still Cup competitions going on as well.

The league allows us to do that and we haven’t actually completed our full schedule for a couple years.

Winning on the weekend was a huge relief and takes a lot of weight off our shoulders.

Hopefully we will know exactly where we stand after the next round of fixtures but regardless of that, we will train and prepare professionally until the season end.

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