Cheltenham Saracens 3rd xv 14-Coney Hill 17
Not to be put off it was Saracens who won the early battles equal to everything hill had to offer. Numerous tackles made by the back row trio of Simon Betteridge, Luke Brown and Matty Williams led to frustration of hill who were unable to make any yards. Through clever kicking by Mark Vaughan and hard powerful running by Liam Cooper, the Saracens found them camped in the hill 22. A clever quick tap by Neal Francis and an offload to Cooper allowed the debutant to score between the posts. Converted 7-0 Saracens. This seemingly kicked started hill who through their powerful backs notched a score up of their own. Converted 7-7.
It was the Saracens who were to have the final laugh of the first half. A clever tap penalty by scrum half Francis in the Saracens 22 enabled winger Chris Davies to complete a 60 metre run to put the home team ahead at half time. 14-7.
It was Coney Hill who made the first impact scoring a quick tap and go penalty on the Saracens 5 metre line and, with the conversion, leveled the scores at 14-14. The second half saw much like the first a true physical affair with both teams making punishing runs and hard tackles.
It was the final play of the game that saw hill go ahead for the first time. Following an infringement by Saracens at the breakdown on the Saracens 22, the ref didn’t see a deliberate stamp to the head by the hill 9 and, as a consequence, unable to overturn the penalty. Hill kicked and final score 17-14 coney hill.
Unbelievable performance by a true 3rd team against tough opposition. Although a true team performance, stand out man of the match goes to debutant Liam Cooper.