CHINNOR were denied what would have been an impressive victory as Cinderford struck late to edge a pulsating encounter 33-28 at Kingsey Road.

The National League 1 contest had everything, with the home side’s free-running rugby causing problems, while the visitors were as clinical as ever in the set piece.

It could have gone either way, but it was Cinderford who took five points back home to Gloucestershire, recording their third straight victory.

Chinnor took the lead through James Bourton’s penalty, but the visitors hit back on 14 minutes when a driving lineout led to Nathan Taylor going over – Reece Boughton converting – as they led 7-3.

The hosts replied just three minutes later when Bourton stormed over and the centre converted his own try to put the hosts 10-7 in front.

Cinderford were winning the battle up front and there was a sense of inevitability about their second try.

With Boughton kicking to the corner, the hosts struggled to stop the ensuing driving maul and a penalty try was awarded.

Again, Chinnor replied through the boot of Bourton as the visitors led 14-13 at the break, but there was to be more drama.

The hosts again started the better and Willie Ryan’s try, Bourton converting, put them into a 20-14 lead.

There seemed to be no stopping Cinderford’s driving lineout, though, and Stuart-Smith and Mike Austin profited to give them a 26-23 advantage, sandwiching another Bourton penalty for Chinnor.

The hosts hit back, though, when Nick Smith raced through a gap and a fine dummy allowed him to dive over for an unconverted try on 66 minutes.

Cinderford’s response was impressive and they went on to dominate the final proceedings.

Pressure resulted in Bourton having to dot down in his own in-goal area.

The new rule means a drop kick restart, but that went out on the full and Cinderford had the option of a scrum or lineout.

They chose to scrum and Stuart-Smith profited to dot down, Boughton converting in front of the posts.

Cinderford then controlled the latter stages well to edge a thrilling battle.

Meanwhile, in South West 1 East, Banbury suffered their first defeat of the season in a narrow 33-28 defeat at league leaders Bracknell, and Oxford Harlequins won 36-28 at Grove.

An early injury to referee Simon Winman meant Witney’s trip to Beaconsfield was abandoned after 15 minutes.