‘Some days you’re the dog, somedays you’re the lampost’ were the poignant words spoken by Saracens stalwart Gary Short following their last encounter with Old Centralians, having suffered a heavy defeat.
The undefeated Old Centralians arrived at the KGV to be met with wet and windy weather conditions and a Saracens 3rd team detirmined not to be ‘the lampost’ again.
Early phases of the game suggested that may be the case with Old Centralians running and recycling the ball well. That pressure resulted in an early Centralians score, which went unconverted.
The visitors continued in the same vein for much of the first half, but the Saracens defence was well organised and ruthless in order to stave off wave after wave of Centralians attack.
The second half opened with more wind and more rain making life difficult for the lineouts and for any chance of fluent running rugby. Multiple handling errors from both sides resulted in a leg sapping amount of scrummaging on a pitch which was soft under foot to say the least.
A chip through from Saracens’ Bradley Harris was defiantly chased down by second row Lloyd Arkell who’s tackle resulted in a penalty given for Centralian’s full back holding on, on the ground. The quick tap was taken by Hywel James, catching the Old C’s defence on the back foot and then out pacing the attaempt at the cover takle, to score near the posts allowing Bradley Harris a simple conversion to slot through the uprights.
Following this the Saracens defence was once again called on, rebuffing rolling mauls and strong ball carriers on there own line. Good defensive organisation coupled with dogged detirmination preventing the visitors from crossing the try line.
Saracens pressure and torrential rain contributed to a Centrailians fumble and a lose ball which was pounced on by Bradley Harris who hacked it through allowing himself to flomp on the the ball over the try line for Saracens second try. He then prompt;y stepped up to miss the conversion.
The Saracens could have had a third score late in the second half from Paul Hewitt. A Cents kick through was gathered by Hewitt deep in his own half, he the proceeded to glide through several tackles and chip over the top, continuing the chase to touch down over the line. Unfortuantley for Paul following a fantastic show of pace and skill the referee dissallowed the try as he was unable to tell for certain whether he or the covering defender was first to touch the ball down.
Cheltenham Saracens III 12
Old Centralians III 5
I would like to be able to highlight some special perfomances , but in tough conditions every single player player was worthy of special commendation. The highlights above were not indicative of a game that was hampered by the conditions and for the most part was tough, ugly rugby. A fantastic well desereved scalp for the men of the KGV.