Category Archives: 1st XV Match Reports 2016/17

St Mary’s overhaul Sarries

St. Mary’s Old Boys 30
Cheltenham Saracens 26

Saracens travelled to Trench Lane knowing November could be vital for the rest of the season, but were unable to come away with the desired result.

It took Saracens almost 20 seconds to open the scoring. A dropped pass by the St. Mary’s fly-half allowed Chris Plumb, returning from injury, to scoop up the bouncing ball and stride away, leaving defenders in his wake. The try was unconverted but Saracens lead 5-0 with less than a minute on the clock.

It didn’t take long for the hosts to close the gap, as a penalty against Sarries for offside in front of the posts saw Mary’s score three points of their own.

Sarries responded well to this penalty conversion and the backs set about probing the St. Mary’s defence. Confident fullback Will Hewer found pockets and after linking well with outside centre Luke Morgan, Sarries found themselves deep in the home side’s half. The Sarries banged on the door over and over again with Adam Geering eventually barging his way over. The try was converted with ease, aided by the wind, and Sarries stretched their lead to 3-12.

Less than ten minutes later, Sarries bagged another try. Chris Toye opened his scoring account for his new club after another dazzling run from Hewer. The fullback ate up metres on his run and a rather wild offload reached the tighthead prop who bustled over almost unopposed. Another conversion aided the Sarries cause, extending their lead to 3-19.

The home side closed the gap after a penalty struck the post and bounced back into play. Plumb kicked long and found touch to temporarily clear the danger, but Mary’s worked back up the field and chalked up another try in the corner, the angle proving too much for a conversion.

Mary’s had a try ruled out for a foot in touch, which saw the visitors breathing a sigh of relief. The strong Sarries defence held firm against the home side’s pressure with the score at half time resting at 8-19.

In a reverse of the first half, St. Mary’s started the second half stronger, grasping two tries in very quick succession but only one was converted. With ten minutes into the second half the score had changed to 20-19 in favour of the hosts.

They extended their lead ten minutes later after a quickly taken Sarries lineout on their own 5m line was spilled, allowing the onrushing Mary’s player to snatch the ball and gallop across the whitewash. The conversion made it 27-19.

Five minutes later they added to their mounting lead with a penalty, leaving Sarries two scores behind, 30-19.

A late flurry by Saracens saw the forwards pressure the home defence. With fans believing they had actually scored three times before it was given, they managed to add points to the board, and the easy conversion saw them close the gap to just four points – 30-26. However they were not given the chance to amount a comeback, with the conversion being the final kick of the game.

Sarries seal home win

Cheltenham Saracens 22
Barts Rugby 6

Fourth hosted third as Cheltenham Saracens welcomed Barts Rugby to King George V.

Barts’ start to the match didn’t go as planned as they kicked off directly into touch and were then penalised at the scrum on halfway. From this, Saracens were allowed to control the opening stages, with all of the action being focused in the visitor’s half of the pitch, unable to clear the ball any further than the halfway line.

Eventually the pressure paid off for Saracens, returning a clearing kick, won a penalty at the ruck and kicked for touch. The lineout saw the maul set a good platform, allowing Adam Geering to receive a pass from the back of the pack and spin out of a tackle to crash over halfway between the posts and corner flag. Stand-in kicker, scrum-half Jack Medcroft was unable to convert and Sarries took a five point lead.

Barts responded physically and dug out short gains through their forwards before managed to claw a score back, slotting a penalty in front of the posts. This closed the gap to 5-3.

After tough phases from Barts, Sarries extended their lead after fullback Will Hewer returned a long kick with a winding run, before offloading to centre Luke Morgan, who in turn set up Hewer for another run. After Barts finally stopped Hewer, the quick ball from the ruck was enough to put the backs through with young winger Connor Anderson capping off the move, gliding over almost unopposed. Medcroft was again unable to convert but Sarries lead by 7 points.

The game ebbed and flowed for the rest of the half, with both sides exchanging possession and kicks. Barts were awarded a penalty for offside, but elected to kick to touch, ending the first half.

Half Time: Saracens 10-3 Barts.

Saracens piled on the pressure in the early stages of the second half, and after securing a penalty, Medcroft kicked to touch and put the forwards to work. The resulting maul set the platform again and the attack was ended by Luke Morgan, who stormed over in the corner for another unconverted try. Saracens now held a 15-3 lead.

Barts returned, determined to not let the gap extend and the hard, demanding phases through their forwards won a penalty. This was dispatched, and Barts doubled their score; 15-6.

Barts knocked-on from the restart, giving Sarries a scrum and this allowed the backs to run an organised move. Fullback Hewer, already having set up a try, put his own name down amongst the scorers, as he sold the defence a dummy and shrugged off a tackle to go over, but made sure to tap down right under the posts to make it an easy kick for Medcroft, who didn’t miss. Sarries now stood 22-6 clear of their third placed opponent.

Sarries could have bagged another in the dying moments, as two Barts players headed to the sin bin. However, despite camping themselves on the Barts 5m line, the hosts could not find a way through.
The game ended quietly, with both teams exchanging kicks, before Barts attempted a break away on the overlap but a knock-on ended their attack and the match.

Sarries succumb to Richians

Old Richians 30
Cheltenham Saracens 12

Saracens travelled to Sandyleaze in the pouring rain, knowing a win could take them top of the table.

With the downpour ending before kick off, both teams started competitively as a midfield battle saw Saracens with slightly more possession and territory, but unable to get through the well-drilled Richians defence.

Richians opened the scoring through a penalty. Controversy arose as the three points were given despite only one touch judge having raised the flag.

img_1642Saracens started well from the restart and started trying to string fast phases to try and unpick the Richians defence but we’re just unable to.
Eventually Sarries pressure was rewarded and they won a penalty. However, stand-in kicker Jack Medcroft was unable to convert.

More controversy surrounded Richians opening try, as the move was started by an arguable forward pass. But the winger’s kick over the up-rushing defence saw him collect and tap down in the corner for an unconverted try.
Richians now lead 8-0.

img_1673A penalty minutes before half time saw Richians extend their lead to 11. And despite Sarries trying to regain something before half time, Richians managed to run down the clock and kick out to end the first half.

Half time: Old Richians 11-0 Saracens

The second half saw a much more aggressive Saracens defending well against early pressure from the home side but this pressure didn’t last and Sarries found themselves attacking but were once again unable to get through.

The first try of the second half was chalked up by the hosts. A well worked backs move from a lineout saw them extend their lead but it was unconverted.

img_1813From the restart Sarries pressured the Richians defence, asking questions of the forwards. A lineout saw the maul do it’s duty and march up the field before being stopped just before the line. Patient phases saw a gap open for substitute winger Chris Wilkinson, who managed to glide over in the corner despite being tackled by his opposite man. The angle was too much for Medcroft but the ball was only inches wide.

Sarries attacked right from the restart, running attacking moves from their own half instead of kicking. Centre, Jack Lawrenson, found a gap in the defence and went for a run only to be tackled around the face directly in front of the referee, who waved play on. Minutes later Richians extended their lead as a centre of their own broke through a tackle and score under the posts for a converted try.
The score now saw Richians lead 23-5

img_1910Stand-in fly-half, Jack Kerr got Saracens back on the score sheet. After Sarries worked their way into the Richians 22m area and were banging on the home side’s door, the number 10 weaved his way past tackles until a gap opened up and he went through under the sticks. An easy conversion for Medcroft saw Sarries close the gap, 23-12.

This slight comeback was halted by another Richians converted try after Sarries fluffed their lines at the restart.
A knock-on from the restart was the signal of the last play, and Richians managed to kick the ball into touch after the resulting scrum to end the game.

1st XV continue great start to the season

Cheltenham Saracens 52
North Bristol 14

Cheltenham Sarries entered their first home game on the back of a win over Longlevens but paid the price, having lost fly-half James Butler to injury.

The visiting side didn’t get the good start they’d hoped for, as their kick off somehow landed inside their own half.

The opening stages were a stalemate with both sides exchanging possession, working patient phases before Sarries broke the deadlock. Liam Cooper bagged himself a try after some very strong running from the fly-half Alex Jackson. Medcroft added the extra two and put Sarries 7-0 ahead.

Jackson wasn’t satisfied with just an assist and put his own name on the scoresheet, again running through defenders who weren’t able to handle the Sarries attack. The angle proved too much for kicker Jack Medcroft, leaving the score at 12-0.

Two minutes later Sarries chalked up more points. Winning a penalty and kicking for touch, the forwards set the lineout allowing Josh Wright to direct the maul and touch down for the third try. Medcroft added the extras, making it Sarries 19-0 North Bristol.

North Bristol clawed a score back to stay in the game, a well rehearsed lineout saw the front jumper catch the throw and pass back down the hooker and the forward v back mismatch resulted in points. The conversion was good, and the scoreboard now read 19-7.

Winger, Will Hewer, secured Sarries bonus point before halftime. The winger put in a grubber kick past his opposite number and the bounce say perfectly to allow him to scoop the ball up and touch down unopposed. Medcroft converted, despite the angle and the first half ended 26-7.

It took only minutes for Sarries to add to their total in the second half, Jackson helping himself to a brace. Medcroft was unable to make it a 7-point score, but Sarries extended their lead to 31-7.

Outside centre, Luke Morgan, added try number six. Jackson’s looping kick into open space saw the North Bristol team fail to react and the ball bounced at the perfect height for Morgan who caught the ball and tapped down almost unopposed. Medcroft secured an extra two from the tee.

North Bristol gained another try as they started to work phase after phase. Eventually their patience paid as they crashed over just left of the posts, resulting in an easy conversion. The score now stood at 38-14.

Jack Lawrenson was the next name to end up on the list of scorers, as the maul did the business deep in the North Bristol half, allowing just enough space for the inside centre to receive a pass and break through a tackle to go over. Medcroft kept his cool to add two more and Sarries lead grew to 45-14.

With minutes left Sarries grabbed another try after fantastic running from Don Richardson and Luke Morgan. Medcroft added two more from the tee and Sarries sat comfortably in the lead, 52-14.

In the dying seconds, Richardson saw himself through again, but his offload left instead of right found the tracking North Bristol winger, who kicked the ball into touch to bring an end to the game.

Sarries win in difficult opener

Longlevens RFC 8
Cheltenham Saracens RFC 12

Saracens opened their league campaign with the relatively short journey to Longford Lane hoping to rectify last week’s mistakes in the cup.

The match started as a real battle with both sides exchanging possession and territory. The first twenty minutes saw Saracens gain the slight upper hand, with the forwards working hard at the scrum and their backs looking threatening before a nasty looking rib injury saw fly-half James Butler leave the field. Lively inside centre Alex Jackson come into play, with club stalwart Jack Lawrenson moving positions to cover for Butler.

Longlevens edged their way into the game and after a series of good scum contests, were gifted a penalty. The kicker however, fluffed his lines and put the relatively easy kick wide of the mark. The resulting drop-out saw Longlevens backs run move after move and the resulting scrappy play saw a short blindside chip-kick be scooped up and tapped down over the line. Again the kicker was unable to add an extra two points and Sarries trailed by only five points.

Sarries tried to respond well but Longlevens were reacting well. The hosts were able to extend their lead when Liam Cooper was penalised at a ruck in front of the posts. The simple kick was dispatched and put Longlevens ahead by eight.

A late flurry of action in the dying moments was not enough for Saracens and they remained down by eight at the break.

Half Time: Longlevens 8-0 Saracens.

The second half started as the first had, with both teams working hard to put pressure on the other. Twenty minutes into the second half the visitors chalked the first of their points up. Scrum-half Jack Medcroft put a short kick in, turning the defence and allowing fullback Dom Richardson to pounce on the ball with fly-half Lawrenson pouncing on it just to make sure, after it had squirmed off of the legs of a defender. Medcroft’s kick was short, but Saracens had closed the gap, 8-5.

Longlevens were determined not to let the visitors back in and their backs set to work trying to unpick the blue and yellow defence but to no avail. With the scrum and lineouts starting to click for the Sarries, they kept hammering on the Longlevens’ door but were denied a chance to add more points by small mistakes.

It was another mistake, this time from the home side, that turned the scoreline on it’s head. A Longlevens penalty lineout was knocked-on, allowing Lawrenson to offload to Jackson, who spread the play with a long pass to winger Will Hewer who sprant and danced his way through the defence before offloading back to Jackson who scampered away from his man and crossed the line, before making sure he tapped down under the posts. Medcroft kept his cool, slotting the kick and adding two more points as Sarries went into the last ten minutes with the lead.

Longlevens threw everything at the visitors in the final ten minutes, running move after move but a pass directly into the referee drew a scrum, which saw Sarries pressure the Longlevens pack, and the great work of Shaun Meheran at the ruck turned the ball over. Lawrenson was tackled mid-kick, causing it to loop high but not far enough for touch. His blushes were saved however as winger, Hewer, was able to react fastest, take control of the ball and run straight off the field, bringing the game to an end.