1st XV v Coney Hill 18th Jan 2014

The Gloucester 1 fixture was delayed once again due to the pitch at Old Colstonians being unplayable. The ever resourceful chairman managed to get a fixture against Coney Hill 2nds, with the same game plan in mind to win and establish the Cheltenham Saracens as a force to be reckoned with throughout Gloucestershire.

It must be said that due to a difficult selection process due to high numbers at training and players in form, some very dangerous players were left out which left it looking promising for a win for all 3 Saracens sides!

Kick off commenced with the Sarries dominating every aspect of the game. Everything was coming together. Strong runs from Sam Rimmer, Matt Williams and Wayne Smallman disrupting the oppositions defence finally the back 3 linked up well which has been well overdue. With all the pressure from Sarries eventually a try came from good phases of play and hands from Rimmer to Smallman who got caught up near the line managed to off load to Williams bowling over in the corner unconverted, however Latchford took a dislike to a certain chosen hill player and the ball ended up striking him in the face, by accident of course.

The Sarries at this point were dictating how the game was going taking everything and giving nothing. This allowed a powerful solid line from Jack Lawrenson to break the line and score. Latchford Converted. Another scrum for the Sarries allowed the skipper Jimmy Mac to pick up and offload to the deceptively strong Tom Patience carrying the ball from the 22 over the line with 3 players still attached to him. Undoubtedly this would not be the final word of the half as inevitably Sam Rimmer making yards upon yards as usual went over to seal the first half 26 – 0 as Latchford converted.

The second half kicked off with a drop in temperature and the Saracens playing into the wind and as usual any Cheltonian player knows that Gloucester teams do not give up easily. A slight lull in performance allowed the Coney Hill Players to ruck hard and get the ball to their very quick fullback eating up the yards to score in the corner. The new found team tightness and cohesion allowed the Saracens to stick together and see out the pressure. The game played on with both teams playing very well until Winger Wayne Smallman made a crunching tackle on the Coney Hill Flanker unfortunately sheer power and momentum took the player off his feet and was deemed a dangerous tackle by the referee who issued Smallman 10 minutes in the cooler. With a man down the Coney Hill backs took advantage of the extra player and ran down the missing man’s channel to score unconverted. The Saracens had the final say with Richard Coleman (the 2nd row) out wide trundling over and being converted.

Overall a very positive performance, however going into next week’s league fixture at Bream RFC the Sarries will have to be far more clinical but play with the same positive and mental never say die attitude.

Writers MOM would go to either Henry Lord for some great crash balls and yards gained and very good performance in the Scrum, or Will Dove for just pure graft throughout the game and disrupting so much opposition lineout ball.

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