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.
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.
These 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.
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.
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Cheltenham Saracens III 24 Bredon Star II 16
Cheltenham Saracens III were slow out of the blocks in the cold conditions, allowing Bredon to set up phases before bagging an early try after attacking down the blindside. The conversion, however, was not on target and shortly after the restart, Bredon won a penalty at a ruck in the Sarries half and the kick was converted as the visitors extended their lead to 8-0.
Bredon’s second try was scored following a break away after the referee resisted calls of a forward pass, and awarded the try, but the angle proved too much and the conversion was wide, for 13-0.
Bredon struck again shortly in the second half with a penalty from in front of the posts, but it did not take Sarries long to grab another five points from a scrum. A good drive gave the backs a good platform and some good passing allowed Jay Marriott to cross the whitewash after hitting the hole in the defence. The conversion was spot on and Sarries closed the gap to 13-10.
With Bredon on the back foot, fly-half Matt Mudway took the opportunity to put Saracens ahead. A storming run by winger Matt Williams saw him cross the line, only to be held up. The resulting scrum saw Saracens drive the visitors over the whitewash allowing the wily veteran to pop up and glide over. The conversion was missed, but Saracens looked confident.
It was Mudway again who had an influential hand in Sarries’ final try after a good break and offload to Andrei Hanger saw Sarries gobble up yards deep in the Bredon half, before Adie Clarke rumbled over to seal the win. Mudway added the extra two from the tee to put Saracens 24-16 up.
The match ended with Saracens running down the clock and walking away with a result and second-half performance which left manager Paul Grayson grinning from ear to ear.
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Berry Hill 2nds 5 Cheltenham Saracens 2nds 31
It’s great to hear a mutual perspective and huge compliment about your side and this is exactly what we got from the games referee who was incredibly impressed with the discipline, handling and game management in what can only be described as Armageddon weather conditions by visitors Cheltenham Saracens RFC 2nds.
Sarries took the game straight to the hosts and dismissed the conditions and fully backed their ability to play expansive rugby and the combination of power player Craig Hopson and graceful glider Ed Hampshire in the centres were to be a thorn in the Hill defence all afternoon. With both making inroads behind Hills backline it was only a matter of time before a score was recorded and it was to be Hampshire to grab himself a brace on both occasions ghosting past tacklers fun fun. The forwards were to have the next scores bragging rights and after an excellent maul Junior McDaid peeled from the back to flop over from 2 yards out.
There’s an ingrained die hard attitude in the forest and no clubs rollover and allow you to to sit on a scoreline or let you think you have the league points in the bag. You simply have to play for the full 80 minutes and not take your foot off the gas. Berry Hill came back as hard as the driven hailstoned rain but Sarries were as equal in defence as they were attack closing out Hill time and again leaving the home side going nowhere and eventually kicking possession away time and again. Sarries countered hard at every chance but we’re found slightly wanting at the whitewash eiether from last ditch tackles or knockons from now freezing hands. After another set piece catch and drive maul the visitors drove hill back over their line and the burly replacement centre Damien Frieli adding his weight to the maul dotted down for Sarries bonus point try. With minutes to go hill were to run in a late consolation try for their work rate and home pride. Jake Townsend put in a 100% kicking day converting all Four tries and a penalty from all angles and distances incredible in the conditions final score Berry Hill 5 Chelt Saracens 31.
Players of note yesterday the half back pairing of Louis Gilbert and Paul Hewitt who were instrumental all game technically smart and physical giving. Skipper John Welsh powerful leader. The centre partnership as mentioned earlier C Hopson and hampshire. Wayne Hobson a dogged and industrious outing but coaches MOM must go to Dean Hobbs……everywhere.
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Cheltenham Saracens 25
On a day when most matches were cancelled, the conditions didn’t stop the home side from stamping their authority early as King George V hosted its first Gloucester Premier match of the year.
Directly following kick off, flanker Shaun Meheran charged down a kick allowing Brad Harris, who returned to fly-half, to scoop up the ball and glide over with the greatest of ease after six seconds. He also chalked up the extra two from the tee giving the Sarries a 7-0.
The play developed into a midfield battle following the early start but eventually the Saracens pressure paid off as they won a penalty in front of the posts which Harris slotted over.
The weather forced the play to become scrappy and the first half ended Saracens 10-0 Bream.
Saracens started the second half well with some strong running from centres Jack Lawrenson and James Butler before a kick over the rushing Bream defence allowed winger Hywel James to touch down. The try was disallowed however as the referee had not seen the grounding. From the resulting scrum, Sarries put phases together and James again found himself gliding over. This time it was counted but Harris missed the conversion.
After some scrappy play Bream won a penalty but failed to find touch. This allowed returning second row James Taylor to weave his way through the visiting defence before going to ground. From this a perfectly weighted pass from Kyle Thomas found hooker Aaron Connolly who stole the gap and offloaded to Meheran who dived over. The conversion was missed.
Bream managed to get a try on the board following a maul at the lineout. The conversion was missed but Saracens remained in the lead 20-5.
In the final dying seconds of the match, Saracens won a penalty on the Bream 5m line and a tap penalty quickly developed into a maul which drove over the line allowing captain James McMahon to snatch that bonus point to keep Saracens in touch with the teams at the top.The final conversion was just wide.
Cheltenham Saracens 3rds 25 v Cirencester 2nds 5
Following last weeks narrow defeat to cinderford, Cheltenham Saracens 3rds hosted top of the table Cirencester 2nds. With last minute cry offs, call ups and injuries the Saracens were down to the bear 15 with legend Andy green making up the 15. The opposition looked well drilled, big and fit but this did not deter the sarries.
The game started at a fierce pace with the Saracens really taking the game to Cirencester through powerful runs through Aiden Shearer, Andy James and centre Chris Jones. It was the Saracens who broke the deadlock through returning back row Tom Piff who as normal was everywhere around the park. Cirencester didn’t no wat had hit them after expecting a formality they were up for a battle. Cirencester as expected struck back with there big forwards trying to break the Saracens defence, but this was not to be big hits from Lewis, Clarke, Williams and Piff kept them at bay. I was the Saracens who were to score next through Andy Lewis a powerful line leaving defenders for dead. Converted by Vaughan.
Half time 12-0.
With a half time talk from pedro the Saracens took back to the field to finish what they had started. Unfortunately it wasn’t to go to plan with the Cirencester 10 crashing over from short range. 12-5. This was the last time Cirencester would cross the whitewash with the Saracens punishing the away teams lack of determination. The Saracens adding 2 more try’s throughJonathan Crowford and Kiwi Mourhinio. With Vaughan adding a penalty for good measure.
Final score 25-5.
This was a remarkable win for the Saracens 15 and there were numerous contenders for man of the match. The back 3 of Williams, Piff and shearer awesome in defence and attack, full back Crowford class in exit + attack and the centre pairing of Lewis and Jones. But for work rate, graft and dog man of the match goes to Tom Piff