3rd XV v Smiths 7th September

Against a much younger looking side, Sarries were on the back foot for the first ten minutes. Smiths camped within the Sarries 22 and threatened to go over on more than one occasion. However, through defiant defence Sarries were eventually awarded a penalty which allowed them to clear their line. A battle then ensued in the centre of the pitch with no team being able to make ground. Smiths were the first to make a move and broke through to put the first five points on the board. The conversion was close but, from the referees stand point, not close enough.

The war of attrition continued until a surging run by Scrum Half Darryl Francis supported by Mike Knight and Rich Hobbs started to reveal some weaknesses in the Smiths defence. Sarries picked up their game and were eventually rewarded with a try from Ash Bailey which was sweetly converted by newcomer Chris Plumb.

More sustained pressure from the Sarries paid off and, with 15 minutes to go, a penalty was awarded on the 22. Plumb once again showed the accuracy of his boot. With the score at 10-5 Smiths suddenly came alive and kept possession for the remainder of the game. Once again stalwart defence prevailed until Smiths went through their hands to their man on the wing. He was certain to score but, just before he grounded the ball, he was heroically bundled into touch by Mike Knight. That tackle signalled the end of the game and a great opening win for the Sarries.

Writers Man of the Match was a close run race between Knight and Hobbs but the final tackle sealed it in the favour of Knight.

Final Score Cheltenham Saracens 10 Smiths 5

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