1st XV v Brockworth 8th Feb 2014

Saracens went in to Saturday’s game knowing a win could take them to the top of the table. They also knew this would be a significantly more difficult challenge than last weekend’s game.

The game started with a fast and physical pace, with Brockworth put lots of phases together. Eventually they earned themselves a penalty just inside the 22 metre line and the kick was easily converted.
The restart was less than satisfactory with the referee penalising Saracens for being in front of the kicker. Brockworth, with the wind to their backs decided it was within range and chose to attempt a kick for an extra three points. Even with the wind however, the kick didn’t have the distance which allowed Saracens to regroup and string an attack together.
This attack was stopped prematurely as the pass that set Jack Lawrenson away was deemed forward and Saracens were then penalised for offside at the breakdown following the scrum.

After their run of poor discipline in the match, the home side managed to put some attacks together, with Brockworth being penalised for infractions at the breakdown and for being offside. These penalties gifted Saracens a lot of distance up the pitch with quick taps rather than lineouts due to the wind.
Saracens first try came from fly-half Brad Harris who on the edge of the Brockworth 22 metre line, offered himself as a runner from the ruck and split the defence, leaving himself a clear run to the try line. The kick fell just short of the posts as it seemed to get caught in the wind while in flight.

With the last play of the first half, Brockworth managed to slot home a penalty and make it 5-6 at half time.

A Saracens knock-on from the restart gifted the Brockworth pack, who had had it almost all their own way in the first half at the scrum, the chance to re-affirm their dominance but the Saracens forwards held firm, allowing hooker Scott Rowe to steal against the head. The opportunity was wasted however, as another knock on stopped the home team from building momentum. Saracens won a penalty at the following scrum and used the wind to send it halfway into the 22 metre area in the Brockworth half.
With lock Will Dove winning the ball at the lineout, Saracens forwards put their opponents tactics to them, utilising the pick-and-go to make gains. Brockworth were forced to give a penalty away on their own try line, which was tapped quickly by Saracens but was judged to be held up amongst the bodies. The home side couldn’t make the resulting scrum count, and had to rebuild from deeper in the Brockworth half.
From a penalty, fly-half Harris found touch, and from Dove again securing the ball at the lineout, the Saracens set phases, only to be held up again. It was the following scrum that would see the away side struggle at the scrum as Saracens drove them back for a try. The wind carried the conversion kick just wide of the posts, so the score stayed 10-6.

This try got the spirits up for the home side, with strong runs from full-back Sam Rimmer and winger Matt Williams, who left a few of the opposition on the floor.
The rest of the match simmered into a stalemate, with both teams driving forward and turning ball over. Unfortunately for Saracens, on form second-row and possible man of the match candidate Will Dove was taken off with a shoulder injury.

It was a slightly tighter in the few finishing moments as a spell of poor discipline and Brockworth pressure on the Saracens line had the home defence battling for everything, managing to turn it over and string an attack of their own right before the full time whistle.

Final score Cheltenham Saracens 10 Brockworth 6

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