Paul Morris admits Cinderford will not let their minds wander at The GK IPA Haberden on Saturday afternoon.
The Foresters’ Director of Rugby is confident his players will not become complacent when they travel to Bury St Edmunds with the National Two South title now within touching distance.
Cinderford currently hold an eight point lead at the summit and with the men from Dockham Road requiring just three points from their final two league matches, Morris believes his side will not lose their focus.
“Bury St Edmunds is the only thing on our minds at the moment. We know the challenge they pose,” he said.
“It is not particularly about winning the title; it is about winning this game. Within the group, they are very grounded. They don’t act like they are already champions. They have continued to act like they have to go out and get it.
“We know the threat Bury are going to pose after such a good performance at Chinnor. It is going to be a great game. It feels like a cup final because it is a game that we really want to win and we want to prove to Bury why we should be champions and the only way we can do that is by getting everything right.”
— The Local Answer (@TheLocalAnswer) April 19, 2018
Another clinical display this weekend from Cinderford would wrap up a return to National One after a two year absence.
In October, Cinderford were beaten by Chinnor at Dockham Road which left question marks over the strength of the Gloucestershire outfit, but since then, they have won 22 games on the spin dropping just two points along the way.
“We have had to grow throughout the season,” Morris said.
“We weren’t ready back in September and we were clearly not ready when we lost to Chinnor at home. We did question the mentality and the ruthlessness of the players after that loss, but since then, our toughness has been there for everyone to see.
— BBC Radio Glos (@BBCGlos) October 7, 2017
“We have had some clubs say we are not as good as we think we are. Well actually, we have probably been more humble then most sides we have played this season. We have just stayed focused and have been consistent.”
Solid recent performances against strong opposition in the form of Redruth and Taunton Titans has kept Cinderford on the ball. The Foresters became the second side to beat Redruth in Cornwall this season before they produced a ruthless display against the Titans last week.
Added to that, Cinderford have not put a foot wrong since their significant victory over second placed Chinnor back in January and captain George Porter admits the side have just continued to improve since then.
“We believed we could get a result at Chinnor,” Porter said.
“Towards the end of last year and into January, we became better. We began picking up some really good results before we went to Chinnor and we knew when we lost to them in October that it was just a blip.
“That performance wasn’t us and we deserved to lose, but we showed down there that we were a much better team and we really enjoyed ourselves.
“We came through that and now we are showing our best. We respect that we can’t lose our focus because every side can beat anyone on their day in this league. There is pressure in every game and it will be the same for our final two matches this year.”
During this season, Cinderford have been rampant on occasions and in their 41-24 win over Taunton Titans in Round 28, they surpassed 1000 points scored for this season.
But despite this, Porter admits Cinderford have not taken anything for granted throughout this campaign.
“We know that the pressure won’t stop until the season is over,” Porter said.
“Of course we are close to winning the title, but the mind-set for me is always about taking one game at a time. It gives us the opportunity to not get ahead of ourselves. This weekend, we know Bury are a good side so we have to make sure we stick to our plans.”
Can the Wolfpack deny Cinderford promotion? Its a huge last home game for Bury…dont miss it!!https://t.co/L7qlRhDxHw
— Bury St Edmunds Rugby (@BSERugby) April 17, 2018
Without a defeat for six months, Cinderford are now on the edge of the third tier of English rugby and for both Morris and Porter, it would be a huge achievement for the ‘Forest of Dean’ club to be back in National One again.
Morris added: “To do it, it would mean a lot. Cinderford are used to playing the sides up there. There is a sense of pride being in the top 40 clubs in the country.
“That is a status that would be remarkable for a town the size of Cinderford. We are probably a year ahead of the schedule we set ourselves to try and gain promotion, but there is no doubt that this squad have grown throughout the season.
Porter continued: “It would be massive. We are planning for the future at Cinderford and we have decent things in place already such as a good mixture of experience and youth in this team.
“During my career with the likes of Plymouth Albion, Worcester and Ealing, I have been involved at the wrong end of the table so it is nice to be at the other end this season and hopefully we can do it this weekend!”