Cheltenham Saracens 29 St Mary’s Old Boys (SW) 21
The visitors opened the scoring by dispatching a penalty in front of the posts, but Saracens had the chance to level the scoring, but the penalty drifted wide.
St. Mary’s capitalised on this ten minutes later when the forwards set a catch-and-drive lineout going, and phase after phase developed an overlap, allowing the winger a clear run for an unconverted try giving the visitors an 8-0 lead.
Controversy surrounded the eventual score with St. Mary’s players adamant the ball was not over the line, but the referee awarded it.
The controversial score was unconverted, however, after Brad Harris struck the post.
St. Mary’s responded well – inspired by this perceived injustice – and managed to run phases deep into Saracens’ half. With attacks coming from the left, Old Boys switched right and strong running saw them score in the corner and the conversion scraped over.
Saracens responded by working their way into the visitors’ half and eventually won a penalty. When St. Mary’s defence switched off, Saracens tapped quickly and flanker Jonah Manu crashed over unopposed. Harris struck the post again, leaving Saracens trailing 15-10.
The hosts had the half’s last word as the forward’s set the maul from the scrum again, and in similar fashion to the first try, barged over in dominant fashion.
Harris’ kick put Saracens 17-15 ahead at half-time.
After a frantic second-half start, St. Mary’s slotted a penalty putting them 18-17 ahead. This early penalty did not dent Saracens’ confidence, who soon found themselves hammering on the door with constant phases and short gains. Eventually, it was captain James McMahon who broke through tackles to crash over.
Harris converted to put Sarries 24-18 up.
Saracens’ defence started to make an impact with huge hits from full-back Paul Hewitt and Jack Lawrenson shutting the door on the visitors. The keen defence was eventually penalised for being offside and the visitors converted the penalty – making it 24-21. Sarries substitute Chris Wilkinson rounded off the performance with an unconverted try.
The visitors secured a penalty with the final play and kicked to secure a losing bonus point, but it sailed wide.
Full newspaper article here