1st XV v Old Richians 22nd Feb 2014

Saracens made the journey to Old Richians for a re-arranged fixture. The slightly changed side with just the one welsh player allowed Coach/Player Michael Pitman to use some inspirational words from the passion of the National Welsh sides aggression and determination to win and turn defence into attack.

The Playing conditions were 10 times better than the past few games bar a slight end to end gale. Saracens skipper Jimmy Mac decided to play with the wind. Richians kicked off and with a slight fumble from Sarries gave possession back to Richians and the 10 tried a chip over the defence which saw Sam Rimmer scoop up and make huge yards up the field and after a few phases in the Richians half Sarries were awarded with a penalty, Bradley Harris kicked into the corner for a well performed driving maul for Tom Patience to score. Harris Converted 7-0. Another restart saw Sarries knock on giving a scrum where the Sarries found it difficult most of the day due to a bulky Richians pack thus giving a penalty away which Richians converted 7-3. Sarries turn to restart saw an overturn of the ball allowing the new partnership in the centres between Dom Richardson and Jonah Manu gain excessive yards into the opponents 22. A few quick pick and goes allowed Dan Burnham to use the weight he hadn’t lost to good effect crashing over the line to score in his 1st first team game of the year, converted again 14-3. It looked to be all Saracens forcing a penalty for offside which allowed young Harris to kick 3 points 17-3. The tempo of the game had slightly dropped maybe this was just from the sheer speed of the first 20 minutes however just before half time another well placed kick from Bradley Harris allowed the unstoppable driving maul to trundle over for James McMahon to touchdown the ball, Converted once again by Bradley Harris, half time 24-3.

A quick team talk from Coaches Ross Nelmes and Michael Pitman asking for a quicker tempo and to really put the game to bed to put the message out that the Saracens were hungry for promotion and to win Gloucester 1.

The second half kicked off with the same intensity as the first from a great return carry from Tom Patience back to the half way line quick rucking and a disorganised home defence saw Bradley Harris supported by at least 4 players confusing Richians and some great footwork allowed Harris to score under the posts also converting 31-3. From then on it was all Saracens from each kick off came another great return carry from Patience or Skipper Jimmy Mac always at least making the half way which Matt Kelly quickly picked out of the ruck for the backs to hammer into the Richians 22 from a ruck Harris missed pass the ball out wide for Nick Hanby to go over for his 2nd of the match conversion missed 36-3.

With a similar format for each restart Saracens were just camped in the Richians 22 and with Jonah Manu hitting big lines destroying the Richians defence, slick hands to the left wing Matt Williams went over twice in a row in the corner Harris not being able to convert either due to the swirling wind. 46-3.

Finally Jonah Manu finally pierced the opposite centres and broke away to score under the post for Harris to convert easily, 53-3. Matt Kelly made way for young Kyle Thomas who immediately made an impact teaming up with his childhood team mate Harris. Things seemed to look very bright for their future at the 9-10 position. A few pick and goes sent Richians tumbling and Kyle Thomas sold a massive dummy pass to go under the posts for the final glory of the match.

Final Score Old Richians 3 Sarries 60.

Writers MOM goes to Bradley Harris for the backs for orchestrating devastating attack and kicking skill and for the forwards very hard to pick as they made the backs job so much easier I’ll let the coaches decide.

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