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Barmy Army props up win at Pats

Old Pats 3rds 27 Chelt Saracens 2nds 41

2015-2016 Glos one merit league table was opened with a bang for Everest Rd visitors Cheltenham Saracens RFC.

Sarries with a much changed side from the selected starting Fifteen called upon the resources of Paul Grayson’s Barmy Army 3rds who rocked up magnificently to a man (thanks for your help Kiwi)
With honesty from the coaching team with so many changes there were certainly pre match jitters as to how this makeshift side would fair. But never underestimate the power of team/club spirit.

It was the outstanding Christopher Jon Plumb who was to open the Sarries scoring account coming off a solid set piece platform that stood firm all day both in scrum and lineout both defensively and offensively. Edward Peter Hampshire returning to his old stamping powered his way through for the visitors second proving what an excellent signing he is for Sarries and I’m sure the watching Pats ruing their evident loss. The half back pairing of MP Pros and Paul Hewitt were orchestrating the side brilliantly keeping the backline always on the front foot and the pats constantly scrambling in defence. On his first game of the season it was Lloyd Arkell who was on hand with a great supporting run to cross the whitewash. Pats not in the game at any faze during the first 40 were only kept in the match with Sarries infringements at the ruck breakdown and on one such occasion they opted to register a score through a penalty kick. Chris plumb again hit the attacking line from 15 to collect his brace of tries and having converted 3 of the first half tries it was a pumped up Saracens that closed the first half 3-26 up.

Old Pats are still the premier side in the town and with home advantage and a roasting from their coach it was a very different side that came blazing down the hill rocking up 12 unanswered points in as many minutes until the dazed Saracens side not to be denied derby day bragging rights found first half form again and it was Sarries own Billywiz Dan Loughlin to put the after burners on just inside the pats half leaving 4 would be tacklers grasping at nothing but dust as he raced in under the posts and plumb again adding the extras. The game was now a very even contest and very much admired from all on the sidelines fast and furious. The physical edge was very much lead by the twins Ryan White and Kierran White who were bursting tackles for fun and on one such foray it was Kierran to smash and grab himself 5 points and seal the game for Saracens RFC final score 27-41.

MOM – names worthy of note Paul Hewitt solid measured performance at 10. The White twins sheer graft. Evergreen Stuart Cooper everywhere. But coaches MOM must go to Chris Plumb not just for his personal tally of 21 points but overall game an absolute attacking force for 80 mins.

Cheltenham Saracens cruise to win over Tewkesbury

Cheltenham Saracens RFC 67
Tewkesbury 15

With the Rugby World Cup in full swing, King George V hosted cup rugby of its own as Saracens took on Tewkesbury in the Gloucestershire Senior Vase.

The game started with a fast pace with both teams running and tackling hard. It took quarter of an hour for either side to break the deadlock, with Saracens fly-half Bradley Harris converting a penalty in front of the posts.
Tewkesbury, however, responded well to this early setback and quickly began running quick, strong phases before penetrating the home defence and tacking up the first try of the match. They also managed to convert, putting them four points ahead, 3-7.

This was cancelled out almost minutes later, as flanker Shaun Meheran broke through the defence and after some flowing hands from the backs and a winding run by fullback Sam Rimmer, James McMahon was put through unopposed to tap down under the sticks. Harris kept his cool and added two from the tee, putting Saracens ahead 10-7.

Not long after this the sides were equal again, a penalty at the breakdown saw Tewkesbury add three points but the hosts didn’t let this stop them. With the forwards dictating the rucks, the Saracens moved forward, running phases from line-outs. The referee gave advantage for an infringement at the breakdown and scrumhalf Kyle Thomas picked up from the bottom of a ruck to crash his way over. Harris however was not able to convert but Saracens lead by five.

Front row replacement Josh Wright had been on the field of play only minutes before he powered over the whitewash following a maul, scoring his first first-team try for the Sarries. Harris converted to add two to the host’s already stretching lead and minutes later he was adding from the tee again as scrumhalf Thomas broke the gap and used his speed to avoid the backs before a last ditch tackle stopped his run. A swift offload however to centre Jack Lawrenson saw the supporting runner crash over to secure the bonus point. The score now Sarries 29 – 10 Tewkesbury.

This wasn’t the last time Sarries would get on the scoresheet in this half as former Tewkesbury player Tom Wilkinson hit the gap and left both the winger and fullback in his wake as he sidestepped his way around the number fifteen to get a clear run over. Harris however wasn’t able to add two extra points with the last play of the half and the scoreboard at half time read Sarries 34 Tewkesbury 10.

Early into the second half saw Saracens forcing the pressure. Harris himself put his name down on the score sheet, as a dummy pass and sublime pace saw him cruise past the visiting defence and touch down under the posts. He added two from the tee and Saracens built on this good start to the second half.

Tewkesbury managed to get back on track with a try of their own after fullback Rimmer saw himself sent to the bin for not being 10 metres when making a tackle on a tapped penalty. Tewkesbury made the man advantage count and after banging on the Saracens’ door, after phases after phase, managed to sneak in. The conversion however, was not on target.

Still down to fourteen men, Saracens forwards started to dictate play again. With phases deep in the Tewkesbury half, lock John Welsh bundled over for a try just right of the posts. Harris converted with ease and Saracens lead stood at 48-15.

Harris’ pace shone through again as the away defence couldn’t deal with it. After seemingly running himself into trouble, the young fly-half crossed the whitewash but deep in the corner. He wasn’t able to convert his own try, as the angle proved to be just slightly too much.

Try number nine for Saracens came through Captain, James McMahon, who broke away after a opportunistic line-out where Saracens didn’t lift any jumpers. McMahon, in the middle of the line-out caught the low floated Tewskbury throw and hit the gap between the two jumping pods and charged over for another five points. Harris managed to stay calm and kicked an extra two points. The scoreboard now read Saracens 60, Tewkesbury 15.

Rimmer added try number ten with the last play of the match. Receiving the ball from Harris, he weaved his way around the on-rushing winger, and used his speed to back himself against his opposite number and crossed the line with ease. Harris notched up the extra two points and Saracens strolled into the Gloucestershire Senior Vase Semi-Finals with a final score of Cheltenham Saracens 67 – 15 Tewkesbury RFC.

Gloucestershire Echo Report

Marcus Latchford lights up Cheltenham Saracens’ win at Bream


Bream 8 Cheltenham Saracens 52

Marcus Latchford lit up his return to first XV rugby with an 80-metre interception try.

Cheltenham Saracens travelled to Bream in bright, sunny warm conditions in Gloucester Premier.

The past three visits had seen sleet, snow, hail and horizontal winds, which have always suited the home side’s style of play, and resulted in home wins.

But with six players returning from absence in last week’s close-fought fixture, a confident Saracens’ side started well, dominating the contact area and generally controlling the pace and style of the game.

Solid Saracens’ defence throughout held Bream at bay, and often forced errors and turnovers.

The ever-improving Brad Harris controlled the territory at ease, and with the exception of a drop goal attempt hitting one of his own players on the floor, he displayed a master class of out-of-hand kicking.

For the first time this season, Saracens properly put the training ground practices into play, intertwining forwards’ carries off nine and 10, with deceptive backs’ plays.

Handling errors by the visitors often held back the score, in moves which often left bottom-but-one Bream in disarray, with dominant set piece providing the perfect platform from which to launch attacks.

The Sarries certainly did not have it all their own way.

In turnover attack, the visitors proved especially dangerous, scoring midway through the first half with a hack through, winning the footrace to score, and certainly never giving up, despite the scoreline.

Notable performances came from Aaron Connolly and Chris Read,

There were try braces for Harris and Jack Lawrenson, with scores also for Greg Prance, Sam Rimmer, Kristian Williams, plus Latchford’s stunning effort.

Cheltenham Saracens: Prance, Connolly, Fitzharris, Rogers, Williams, Read, Meheran, McMahon ©, Thomas, Harris, Townsend, Lawrenson, Wilkinson, Nicholls, Rimmer. Reps: Wright, Patience, Latchford.

Gloucestershire Echo Report

Cheltenham Saracens III beaten at home by Old Pats III

Cheltenham Saracens III 26 Old Pats III 49

With the Rugby World Cup on, regular third team fixtures are hard to come by, so a plucky Sarries’ third team took on a game normally managed by the club’s second team.

On a balmy afternoon at KGV, the teams took to the field, and it was Pats who settled first, throwing the ball around with gay abandon.

This led to an early score from their flanker, and was quickly followed by a second, which was a flowing score for veteran full-back Barrie Davies with both tries converted.

Sarries were now staring down the barrel, but strong words and even stronger runs from skipper John Welsh got them on the front foot.

A series of pick and drives close to Pats’ line eventually saw club stalwart Mark Harris crash over for an unconverted try, which kept Harris’s record of scoring in every one of his 43 seasons.

The game was now swinging Sarries’ way and flanker Stuart Cooper scorched away for a try converted by James Butler.

Pats then hit back through their lively scrum half, who has just joined from Lydney, and burgled a try down the blind side.

Sarries had the last word of the half when Welsh crashed over leaving the half-time score 19-9.

The second half started as the first finished with both sides going at it hammer and tong. Gradually Pats wrestled control of the game and produced some cracking rugby to score a brace of tries.

Sarries, again, would not lie down and scrum-half Matt Kelly snuck over for a try.

But that was as good as it got for Sarries, who were tiring rapidly and Pats twice struck again to give the score a favourable lustre for them.

Gloucestershire Echo Report

Cheltenham Saracens far too strong for Tewkesbury

Cheltenham Saracens 54 Tewkesbury 17

The early stages saw both teams sizing each other up and it became a midfield battle with good attack and defence from both sets of teams.

Eventually the deadlock was broken as Number Eight James McMahon picked from the back of a scrum and offloaded to scrum-half Kyle Thomas who weaved his way past the defence to tack up the first points of the match. Harris kept his cool and added an extra two.

Minutes later, following a penalty, Saracens found themselves with a lineout on the Tewkesbury 5m line and with well worked forward’s maul drove over. Harris converted again to double the lead.

A good break saw centre Jack Lawrenson hit through gap and with two defenders bearing down on him, go over just left of the posts for the Saracens’ third try in quick succession. Harris kept his 100 per cent record to make it 21-0.

The last play of the first half saw Tewkesbury add their own points. After taking their time in possession, their patience paid off as they eventually found and exploited a gap in the Saracens defence. The conversion missed but only just and the half ended 21-5.

The second half started evenly with both sides camping in the middle of the park but after considerable pressure from Saracens and good defence by Tewkesbury, full-back Sam Rimmer broke the line to go over and with the conversion made it 28.

This didn’t stop Tewkesbury after sustained pressure on the Sarries defence, a kick over the top of the defence saw their quick winger catch the bounce and touch down in the corner.

The angle again however was too much for the conversion. 28-10.

Saracens responded well and it wasn’t long before they were building phases inside the Tewkesbury 22m area.

A cross-field kick from Harris saw winger Dom Richardson catch and cooly side-step his opposite number to stroll over left of the posts. Harris converted again to take the score to 35-10.

This opened the Tewkesbury floodgates and after building phases in the Tewkesbury 22m area again, McMahon got himself a try, picking the ball out of a ruck and shrugging off a tackle to score beneath the posts. Harris easily converted for 42-10.

Tewkesbury worked hard in possession following the re-start and didn’t stop working to get themselves a converted try after some strong running to make it 42-17.

A well worked backs move saw full-back Rimmer go in for his second try of the game and Harris who was having no problems with the tee, added the extra two again with the kick.

After more pressure in the second half, including a big carry from forward Josh Wright, Saracens crossed the line again.

This time Jake Townsend, who came on to replace an injured Jack Lawrenson, received the ball out on the wing and sprinted away to tap down in the corner. Harris hit the post with the kick but did not convert.

Gloucestershire Echo Report