Category Archives: Archive Match Reports

1st XV blitz Frampton Cotterell

Cheltenham Saracens RFC 52
Frampton Cotterell RFC 12

Following last week’s abandonment, Saracens returned to the field determined to make up the gap in the race for second, and they did exactly that.

Sarries opened their account early on as some strong running from lock Greg Prance and centre Jack Lawrenson saw an opportunity for new signing, Alex Jackson, to dive over in emphatic fashion. The conversion however, was not accurate, sailing just wide.Kris

And it wasn’t long before the Sarries found themselves on the scoreboard again as some good passing and running through the backs allowed Shaun Meheran to receive an offload and the openside flanker stormed through as the Frampton defence parted like the Red Sea. This time Harris slotted the kick to put Saracens in the lead 12-0.

In a flurry of action in the Frampton half, the visitors secured themselves a lineout. However, the lineout was spilt and the bouncing ball was pounced upon by flanker Jonah Manu who skipped past the defence and crossed the whitewash. Harris’ kick struck the post and bounced wide, but the Saracens remained largely in control, 17 points ahead.

DaveClub Stalwart Dom Richardson snatched the bonus point as forceful running from Gareth Rogers and David Fitzharris saw Saracens dominate through the phases, creating an overlap and the speedy winger glided over the line almost unopposed. Harris kept his cool and put an extra two on from the tee.

Frampton, desperate to get back into the game used their forwards to try and dictate the play but after some pressure on the Sarries defence, were unable to find a way through. The resulting five metre scrum saw the visitors anchor down and drive forward, eventually getting a try in the corner. The conversion was missed due to the difficult angle.

The first half remained a midfield battle with both teams applying pressure to the other but the score remained Saracens 24-5 Frampton

Whatever was said by manager Ross Nelmes worked well as the Sarries started at a frantic, dominating pace and debutant Jackson found himself on the score sheet once again, this time with Harris able to convert.
Buoyed by this early boost, the home side continued on with fast approach and pressure. This eventually paid off as soon after fly-half Brad Harris sold the dummy and broke free of the visiting defence to touch down. The kick in front of the posts was converted and Saracens were off the races, 38-5.

The visitors managed to claw their way back in, again through a scrum on the Saracens five metre line. Despite the scrum wheeling almost a full 180 degrees, the referee gave the decision for the penalty try. The conversion was kicked and Frampton were up to 12 points.JB

After the deep restart, Saracens found themselves right back on the Frampton 5m line. An attempted box kick was charged down by Tom Patience and Manu again was able to scoop up the ball and jog over. Harris converted to make it 45-12.

It took a bit of skill and strong running for the final try, started by substitute Kristian Williams. Williams made an immediate impact as Frampton were unable to deal with the colossal lock. This allowed for some creative champagne rugby from both the Sarries forwards and back as they ran their way from inside their own 20m area to the Frampton 5m line with flanker Manu chalking up his hat-trick in the final play of the match.

Harris made it a 7 point score from the tee and saw Saracens walk away with a dominant 52-12 victory.

IIIs triumph at Westbury

As Cheltenham Saracens III turned up to face Westbury II it was clear to see the game plan Westbury had in mind. With a narrow pitch and what seemed like 15 forwards on the paddock, it was going to be a heavy days work for the pack.

With tactical masters Paul Grayson and Darryl Francis at the helm the Saracens forwards worked hard and accurately to provide a decent ball for the backline to work there magic. The Sarries line out worked well with arrows from Wayne Smith and quick ball coming off Matty William jumping in the middle of the line.

Jonathan Crowford opened the scoring by running nearly the length of the pitch dancing through the Westbury defence. Greedy but we can forgive him as it was an excellent try.

Sarries scored again with a maul close to the line and the ball popped out to Matt Mudway who scooted over the line.

Westbury hit back early in the second half with a lucky penalty try off of 3 driving scrums on the Sarries line. The penalty was the 3rd given at the scrum within minutes, and saw Saracens flanker Luke Brown harshly sin binned.

Westbury took advantage of the depleted numbers by scoring a second forward orientated push over try shortly after.

Westbury did venture the ball out to there centres a couple of times in the second half with some strong line breaks only thwarted by some impressive cover tackling .

Chris Davies took the ball out wide and managed to chip and chase the ball to touch down over the whitewash.

Following fracas at the scrum new prop Omar was sin binned along with his opposite man. A tough but enjoyable day for the newcomer as he only made it to the game at half time due to navigational difficulties which saw him in Wales.

Mudway got on the score sheet again by selling a round-the world dummy Russell Morrison would be proud of, and scooting through the resulting gap.

A physical encounter mastered by a dogged performance by the Sarries pack and blistering pace out wide.

Some brilliant performances but MoM went to Jay Marriott, stepping into second row, around the park like a back row with some hard talking thrown in.

Cheltenham Saracens III 26 – 15 Westbury II

2nds fall at Coney Hill

Coney Hill II 20,Sarries II 6

Sarries arrived with high hopes for this friendly, despite a much changed side than selected due to unavailability.

Deja vu was prevalent as the same official for the game had presided over last weeks fixture vs Chosen Hill. It was also the same for the way the game transpired.

A hard physical encounter as expected in which both sides bashed away at the defence to no avail…scoring opportunities were at a premium with a penalty each being the outcome of the first half.

The second half was more of the same with the Sarries forwards completely dominant in the scrums and on a par in the loose and lineout.The battle was in the backs with the Coney Hill 10 being instrumental, pinning Sarries back with positional kicks and running play,however the doggedness of the Sarries backs held out bar one bounce of the ball from one such kick pressurising Carl Stevenson to infringe whilst chasing back with the opposition winger and fullback, which the ref deemed worthy to award a penalty try…much to Stevensons dismay.

Sarries were the masters of their own undoing,the same scenario as last weeks game ensued with sarries frustration at the confusing manner in which the ref was officiating the contest leading to penalty after penalty giving hill momentum.
With a lineout in which the ref allowed Hill to yo yo players in and out, Sarries were caught napping as Hill suddenly threw the ball in and set up a driving maul to allow their impressive 8 to score.

A penalty for each side left the score at 20-6 to the home side at full time…a score line which seems to flatter the winning side as it was a very close game with Sarries finally applying pressure on the Hill line in the last 15 minutes but with no prize.

A superb scrummaging performance and decent loose play by a much juggled pack with 2 former backs in the second row and makeshift jumpers in the line-out who performed well.

The backs defended well and met a brick wall when attacking despite all efforts.much to applaud but still lots to work on…especially mental strength when dealing with officials and the way they officiate.

Highlights were the leadership skills from Damien Frieli and Junior Mcdaid, and James Connolly for becoming the shortest second row in the clubs history, and a solid performance in defence by all members of the squad.

Writers MOM is Chris Windley playing 6…..consistently a nuisance at the breakdown, good line-outs despite only just taking on the role, and tenacious in defence.

Emphatic win for 3rds at Chosen Hill

Chosen Hill III 0 – 33  Cheltenham Saracens III

Saracens third string made the short trip to local rivals Chosen Hill, to play what has become a rare beast in this day and age, a genuine third team match.

The game kicked off in very muddy conditions, with the Chosen gnarly old towards taking a stranglehold on the early skirmishes. But try as the may they didn’t quite have the key to the Sarries try line, with pressure all but soaked up the Cheltenham side began to turn tables and a powerful run from their centre Chris True saw the rugby league convert crash over for a five pointer, converted by out half Matt Mudway.

Sarries had now grasped that all their aces were in their back line and a flowing move sparked by Mudway saw the power house that is Matty Williams crash over for the first of his three tries, once again Mudway slotted the extras.

Half time 14-0 to the Sarries.

The second half saw the Hill boys once again press forward but again the Sarries put in a good defensive shift with thumping tackles raining in from True, Jay Marriott and all the boys in the back row.

Chosen gave everything but as they tired the Sarries began to snaffle more and more ball and again it was Williams who brushed off several would be tacklers to score his second.

Then came the try of the match, flanker Andy Lewis wrestled the ball free from a Chosen player, he set off down the touch line, when tackled he off loaded the ball on to the supporting Mark Harris, he flicked it to Martyn Prossor who spun the ball out to Mudway, Mudway drew the Hill’s defence and put returning skipper Paul Grayson away to gallop home from forty yards, Mudway added the conversion.

With the game over it was just left for Williams to complete his hatrick.

Excellent game of rugby played in heavy conditions.

Writers MoM, Matt Williams

2nds slip up against Chosen Hill

Saracens 2’s-8,chosen hill 2’s-15

On a cold crisp day sarries took to the field against a Chosen Hill XV known to be difficult opponents.Confidence was high after a Stellar performance in the terrible conditions of last week and a strong looking squad.

The first half was an arm wrestle with both sides applying pressure but failing to capitalise on any opportunity given.The physicality of the game was at a premium throughout the match with forwards and backs matching each other blow for blow,the boiling point was eventually reached just before half time when the influential chosen no.8 was sin binned for striking an opponent.
This loss of a man allowed sarries a chink of light in the hill armour as they finally made headway and slotted 3 points courtesy of Jake Townsend…halftime Sarries 3-0 up.Scouse

The second half saw Sarries lose composure and allow the hill forwards along with some decisions by the official to start to pressure the home team mentally and physically. The big boot of the hill 10 pinned sarries in the 22 and with numerous attempts to clear the line either blocked or failing to find touch the pressure ramped up. This eventually told as Chosen scored but failed to gain the conversion.

The visitors did the same for the majority of the second half as did the Sarries who were struggling to gain any offensive foothold. Chosen Hill scored again through a well worked maul from their impressive line-out…conversion gained…15-3 to Hill. Sarries were struggling to gain any control on the game as mistakes were made,letting Hill off the hook and letting them apply pressure time and time again.

RichThese mistakes were compounded with the loss of 3 key players due to injury and a player to the sin bin as tempers and frustration mounted. Finally with 2 mins to go something clicked,a neat cross kick from Connor McDaid found Will Hewer on the left who gathered impressively, beat 3 defenders and scurried over…conversion missed,15-8.

Twenty seconds left and sarries threw caution to the wind as they had to….the handling and composure which was lacking earlier finally came together as Dom Richardson broke from swift hands and scampered down the wing…however he didn’t notice will hewer in space on his left and was eventually bundled into touch for the final whistle.

Sarries loss,8-15

Plaudits must be given to Chosen Hill who played their game plan well and frustrated Sarries throughout the game.

The shining light and MOM goes to Will Hewer who defended well, made metres forward and took his try superbly.

Read newspaper article here