Cheltenham Saracens 2nd XV v North Bristol 2nd XV
First dry game of the year and both Saracens sides were keen to make the most of the dry weather and use the pace they have been training at. North Bristol also turned up early and were very well prepared.
From the kick off by Sarries, it was clear who was going to dictate the tempo of the game with an excellent pressure d, Sarries forced a penalty under the posts 3-0 converted by Edward Hampshire. From the return kick off hard lines were ran back at NB and from a very powerful scrum Rich Coleman trundled over not converted. 8-0 to the home side. Not far after the skipper Wayne Smallman found some room out wide and a mismatch got round then scored under the posts and converted. 15-0. The tempo slowed slightly as Sarries came off the gas for 10-15 minutes which allowed NB too come into the Sarries’ 22 and work a try through missed tackles. The home side regrouped and worked back a try from a loose NB scrum which Joe Prosser scooped up before the half time whistle 22-7.
The second half started in a very similar fashion. Full pressure in defence and attack forced errors from NB who could only kick over the Saracens defence. After a to and fro kicking game, a return from Chris True carved the defence like the parting of the red sea, scoring easily under the posts, 29-7. The next try came from the Skipper from a well worked training move. With good hands, Smallman was allowed to pick and go from a quick ruck to score under the posts, 36-7. Exactly like the first half Sarries let up slightly and allowed a very controversial try (possibly held up by Basher Cresswell) however Darryl Francis allowed it and it was converted 36-14. The skipper had the final say. Working with a champagne style of rugby passing allowed him to run clear of the NB defence and score under the posts unopposed. Final score 43-14.