St. Mary’s Old Boys 30
Cheltenham Saracens 26
Saracens travelled to Trench Lane knowing November could be vital for the rest of the season, but were unable to come away with the desired result.
It took Saracens almost 20 seconds to open the scoring. A dropped pass by the St. Mary’s fly-half allowed Chris Plumb, returning from injury, to scoop up the bouncing ball and stride away, leaving defenders in his wake. The try was unconverted but Saracens lead 5-0 with less than a minute on the clock.
It didn’t take long for the hosts to close the gap, as a penalty against Sarries for offside in front of the posts saw Mary’s score three points of their own.
Sarries responded well to this penalty conversion and the backs set about probing the St. Mary’s defence. Confident fullback Will Hewer found pockets and after linking well with outside centre Luke Morgan, Sarries found themselves deep in the home side’s half. The Sarries banged on the door over and over again with Adam Geering eventually barging his way over. The try was converted with ease, aided by the wind, and Sarries stretched their lead to 3-12.
Less than ten minutes later, Sarries bagged another try. Chris Toye opened his scoring account for his new club after another dazzling run from Hewer. The fullback ate up metres on his run and a rather wild offload reached the tighthead prop who bustled over almost unopposed. Another conversion aided the Sarries cause, extending their lead to 3-19.
The home side closed the gap after a penalty struck the post and bounced back into play. Plumb kicked long and found touch to temporarily clear the danger, but Mary’s worked back up the field and chalked up another try in the corner, the angle proving too much for a conversion.
Mary’s had a try ruled out for a foot in touch, which saw the visitors breathing a sigh of relief. The strong Sarries defence held firm against the home side’s pressure with the score at half time resting at 8-19.
In a reverse of the first half, St. Mary’s started the second half stronger, grasping two tries in very quick succession but only one was converted. With ten minutes into the second half the score had changed to 20-19 in favour of the hosts.
They extended their lead ten minutes later after a quickly taken Sarries lineout on their own 5m line was spilled, allowing the onrushing Mary’s player to snatch the ball and gallop across the whitewash. The conversion made it 27-19.
Five minutes later they added to their mounting lead with a penalty, leaving Sarries two scores behind, 30-19.
A late flurry by Saracens saw the forwards pressure the home defence. With fans believing they had actually scored three times before it was given, they managed to add points to the board, and the easy conversion saw them close the gap to just four points – 30-26. However they were not given the chance to amount a comeback, with the conversion being the final kick of the game.