A confident Cheltenham Saracens first XV hosted Bishopston from Bristol in the fourth league match of the season. Fresh from an impressive victory away to Old Colstonians last week, the Sarries started the game looking to get the upper hand of the battle early on. However, Bishopston had different ideas. From the kick off, they came flying out the blocks and applied the pressure on the Sarries with hard running, and some ferocious hits. This pressure paid dividends when they created an effective overlap to score in the corner to make it 5-0.
This kicked the Sarries in to life and a frenetic, hard battle commenced in the midfield. Both teams were flying in to each other, with the Sarries forcing Bishopston into conceding a penalty within kicking distance. The ever growing Harris stepped up and confidently nudged it over to make the score 5-3. From the restart, Bishopston came out firing again. Through a mixture of hard running, and sloppy Sarries play, they created another overlap which was finished off well in the corner by their winger to make it 10-3 to Bishopston. The Sarries marched back up the field, and enforced a penalty, which Harris just pulled past the post to make it 10-3 at half time. In the second half, the Sarries came out firing on all cylinders, and showed the skill and passion that provided such an impressive display last week. With a combination of hard graft by the forwards, and good running by the backs, the Sarries made Bishopston concede 2 penalties in their own 22, which Harris dutifully dispatched, to make the score 10-9.
The Sarries did not let off here. With some great running from Rogers, Hanby and Fitzharris, an overlap was created for powerhouse centre Jack Lawrenson to steam down the line and give the Saracens a 14-10 lead. Straight from the kick-off, the Sarries played back in to Bisopstons half, and after good phases, flyhalf Brad Harris expertly finished off a move in the corner to make it 19-10. Bishopston looked shell shocked by the intensity that the Sarries were coming at them with and quickly conceded a penalty which points machine Harris dispatched to make it 22- 10. With 15 minutes left to go the Sarries had a lineout just outside the 22. Dove expertly took the ball and the forwards bound on to get a march on towards the whitewash. With the line in sight, Bishopston cynically brought the mall down, however from the resulting advantage, fullback Sam RImmer exploded round the outside of the Bishopston defence to dive over in the corner. Saracens 27- Bishopston 10.
With 5 minutes to go, The Bishopston flyhalf took a quick tap penalty and offloaded to the centre for a consolation try. Final score Cheltenham Saracens 27- Bishopston 17.
Man of the match was a close run thing between Gareth Rogers and Wayne Smallman, however, for the passion and skill he showed for the whole 80 minutes, Wayne gets the award.