NEW signing Joe Winfield held his nerve to kick the winning conversion in Cinderford’s opening National One fixture of the 2023-2024 season.

The Foresters suffered an early setback when George Angell had to leave the field with a shoulder injury. He was replaced by Dec Fissenden.

Despite this, Cinderford were looking more lively and they opened the scoring with a try after 10 minutes.

The home side conceded a penalty at the breakdown on the halfway line and scrum-half took a quick tap to score under the posts. Winfield added the extras.

Stortford came back strongly and levelled the scores when Chris Smith intercepted a looping pass for a converted try.

The home side conceded a penalty from the restart and Winfield kicked for three points to make it 7-10 after half an hour.

Seven minutes later he extended the lead to six when Stortford were penalised at the breakdown near the line and Harry Charter was sent to the bin.

But it was the Hertfordshire side who went into the break with a one point lead when Jake Morris picked up a rolling kick to touch down in the corner followed by a successful conversion.

They went further in front in the first minute of the second half when Harrison Langworthy charged down a clearance for a try that was converted for 21-13.

Cinderford came back to within a point through their trademark rolling maul.

A line-out on the 22 was followed by another close to the line when Stortford were penalised.

Nathan Taylor touched down from the back of the pack and Winfield added the conversion.

Cinderford went back in front on 67 minutes when Winfield kicked another penalty for 21-24.

Five minutes later, Ollie Jones rounded off the home team’s best move of the game to touch down.

The conversion made it 28-23 to Stortford.

Cinderford were offered a lifeline when Stortford conceded a scrum penalty with barely a couple of minutes on the clock.

From the five-metre line-out the rolling maul went into gear and Taylor scored his second try.

Winfield’s kick was the last of the game to secure a narrow but deserved victory.

Cinderford: Mike Wilcox, Will Hendy, Will Baldwin, Jamie Forrester, Mason Tonks, Joe Winfield, Tom Knight, George Porter, Nathan Taylor, Shaun Knight, Tyler Jerrum (capt), Callum Thompson, George Angell, Joe Mullis, Jack Shields. Replacements: James Elliott, Tom Anderson, Danny Hodge, Dec Fissenden, Stan Norman.