3rd XV v Dursley 18th Jan 2014

At a wet and windy KGV5, Saracens third string blew away a Dursley side from a higher merit table.

Often this year the Sarries third have played with scratch sides and short, but today Dursley met a full squad with six replacement, on a Saturday where nearly 60 players wore the cross scimitars on various ground round the County.

The game started with Dursley showing some early promise but then the Sarries pack got going. Strong runs from heavy weights Kristian Williams, Will Allen and the aggressive Andy Green made the hard yards to set up Hooker Samuel Andrew Jones who bullocked end over for the opening score.

Then the backs got into the game and slick hands by former Norwegian internationalAndrei Hanger and new recruit Andy Nicholls set up room for young Bradley Hearn who showed tremendous pace to finish of a super try, which Tim Perks converted.

A nasty stamp saw ageing Saracen prop Mark Harris sin binned but this did not deter the home side. A sweet reverse pass from scrum half Darryl Francis saw Williams thunder over for a third team try, again Perks added the sundries.

A few minutes later Williams went from hero to villain as his weak pass was gobbled up by the Dursley winger who streaked away for an unconverted try.

A late Perks penalty saw the teams change round at half time with the score at 22-5 to Sarries.

The start of the second half saw more of the same as the forwards blitzed the Dursley ranks. A great line by Paul Grayson created space for Nicholls to finish off in style. Then another run by Williams and a terrific off load set up a first try for the club for Rich Cerrone, Perks converted.

The score was now 34-5 with 25 minutes to go but credit to Dursley they tackled bravely and prevented any further damage.

Writers man of the match, special mention to Sam Jones and Andy Nicholls but Tim Perks gets the nod.

Final Score Cheltenham Saracens III 34 – Dursley United 5

1st XV v Bishopston 11th Jan 2014

Saracens went into their match against bottom of the league Bishopston knowing a bonus point win could take them second on points difference if other results went their way.

The first half started with fast pace, after a penalty for offside was kicked to touch and the Saracens forwards drove a 30 metre maul towards the Bishopston line.
The home side couldn’t make this count however, as a after a number of phases, a knock on from the backs stopped momentum.
Saracens were looking dangerous in the early going, with every move from the backs looking as if it could be a try scoring opportunity. However, the strong running of Wayne Smallman, Jack Lawrenson and Sam Rimmer just couldn’t find a hole in the defence.

Saracens first try came from winger, Wayne Smallman, who received the ball on halfway and after leaving a Bishopston flanker on the floor bundled his way over in the right corner. The angle proved too difficult for fly-half Marcus Latchford who couldn’t add the extra two points.

Not long after, Bishopston gained their first try, after the referee decided that Saracens had given away too many penalties following scrums on the line and awarded a penalty try, which was converted.

The first half then saw both teams in a stalemate situation, with knock-ons and mistakes meaning neither team could gain any momentum. Eventually, Bishopston knocked-on deep in their own half and the second Saracens try was set up by the forwards. Blindside flanker Tom Patience made a good run around the back of the scrum and set up a good platform for the backs. After hands through the backs, Matt Williams touched down in the left corner for the last action of the first half, which was again too much of an angle for Latchford.
Half time: Saracens 10 Bishopston 7

Right from the restart Saracens had another score on the board in what would be a stronger second half than the first.
From a lineout Bishopston kicked long. Fullback Sam Rimmer made the catch and ran through a maze of players in a 50 metre run. After being tackled, Saracens set phases and eventually touched down again in the right corner, this time with Latchford nailing the kick and extending the home side’s lead to 10.

And then just minutes after that, the fourth and bonus point winning try came from Matt Williams, following a comedy of errors from Bishopston following a dropped pass. The away team seemed to be caught ball watching, giving Damien Freili enough time to scoop it off and feed the left winger for a 40 yard try. Latchford kept his nerve to add an extra two, making it 24-7.

After a series of scrums, a good backs move by Sarries set Sam Rimmer off on another winding run and the usually dependable fullback knocked on just in front of the line.

Following some kicker ping-pong, Saracens kick was taken into touch by Bishopston, deep in the their own half. Flanker, Tom Patience, made it five for the home side, crashing over on the right wing following a catch-and-drive from the lineout. This try wasn’t converted.

Bishopston’s second and last try came from the referee again, after a penalty was given 10 metres from the Saracens line. Bishopston used the tap and go to their advantage and the home defence didn’t react quick enough. Again, this try was converted.

Things turned a little sour as a yellow card for either side reduced numbers. Following the scrum, second-row-turned-tighthead-prop Henry Lord turned over the ball with ease and set the backs off down the field for try number six. This also wasn’t converted, but was the final play of the match.

Final score Cheltenham Saracens 34-14 Bishopston

1st XV v Widden 14th December

Following a hard fought loss from the weekend before, the Sarries were keen to put some points on the board this week, however the weather changed the Saracens game plan, with another strong team sheet the Saracens kicked off.
Kicking off into the wind Saracens looked strong however giving a lot of penalties away Widden kicked for the corners taking full advantage of the wind. The Sarries battled hard however a similar start to last week Widden went over for a try with a maul from the line out, unconverted. This was expected from the start so the Saracens went back to work with some solid defense. However Widden causing problems at the break down again and again putting pressure on the Sarries. Eventually a rush defense from the Saracens backs caused Widdens midfield to drop the ball however this went backwards and some slick footballing Widden kicked the ball through the gap and went over for lucky try. Again unconverted. Saracens went into the 2nd half confident only being down 0-10 against the wind.
After going back through the game plan and with Wayne Smallman back on the pitch from a slight head injury from the first half the Saracens went to work stringing phases together allowing the ball to shift wide for winger Wayne Smallman to gain yards and pop the ball back inside to Barrett over the line. Unconverted 5-10. Again from the restart Saracens worked hard to put phases together another break and some great hands and support play taken from the training ground, work horse Scott Rowe went over for a try, Unconverted 10-10. In the midst of the try a Widden player was Sin Binned for a clear trip on Dom Richardson.
Back from the restart both sides battled to gain territory with the wind dying, Widden decide to kick but failed to make touch allowing ever dangerous Sam Rimmer to slice through Widden like a soft Christmas cheese, scoring under the posts this was easily converted by Latchford 17-10. The second half looked to be all Saracens turning up the pressure and Widden now giving the penalties away in front of the posts for offside Latchford easily kicked the points 20-10. With the strong Widden center back on the pitch it allowed them to shift the ball out wide and with a very strong finish breaking 3 tackles went over unconverted this was to be the last points of the game finishing 20-15.
Cheltenham Saracens dropped to 3rd due to point’s difference; however a much needed win going into a well-deserved Christmas ready for the new year!
MOM awarded to Richard Coleman winning a day’s hospitality at Gloucester RFC with thanks going to Dave Henderson supplying a box, food and beverages to the 1st, 2nd and 3rd team Man of the Matches for Saracens.

1st XV v Kingswood 7th December

After a bonus point win over Ashley Down, Saracens travelled to Kingswood knowing a win could possibly move them top if Bream were to lose.

Kingswood found themselves on the scoreboard in less than five minutes, after Saracens gave away a penalty for hands in the ruck after failing to claim the ball from kick off. Kingswood kicked for touch and their catch and drive worked well and the backs move that followed carved open the away defence.
This was then converted, as Saracens tried to regroup from their slow start.
Following this, both teams fought themselves to a stalemate until a very strong run by Wayne Smallman on the right wing brought a penalty. This lead to a 15minute flurry of Saracens attacks on the Kingswood line, with the home side receiving three yellow cards. Still the home defence stood strong, absorbing the pressure on them and turning it over to make phases of their own.
It wasn’t until centre, Jack Lawrenson, turned over one of these phases that Saracens put the hands through the backs and fullback Sam Rimmer touched down left of the posts with flyhalf Marcus Latchford converting.
Kingswood responded immediately, picking up three points, as Saracens gave away a penalty in front of the posts from the restart. The rest of the first half developed into another stalemate with neither team able to best the other’s defence. Half time Kingswood 10-7 Saracens.

The second half started as the first half ended, with both teams trying their best to put moves together but knock-ons and mistakes hindering progress.
Kingswood missed a penalty kick at the posts after Saracens were penalised at the breakdown and the away side responded almost immediately. Latchford’s chip over the fast rushing defence left room for Leroy Hughes to catch and touch down under the posts with Latchford keeping his 100% kicking record adding on an extra two points and giving Saracens a 4 point lead.
After this, Kingswood pressed the issue and played their way deep into the away team’s half. The away defence managed to turn over the ball, but passed possession away to Kingswood allowing them an easy, but unconverted, try.
Kingswood applied more pressure after the restart, kicking a penalty to make it 18-14. This was shortly followed by another catch-and-drive try, as Saracens failed to deal with the maul. This was again unconverted.
Saracens responded to this with Latchford chasing his own chip over before offloading to Fred Barrett who tapped down under the posts. He also converted the kick himself, making it 23-21.
Saracens tried to dig deep and win the game but a strong defence pressured them into mistakes. Eventually the pressure was too much and a knock on brought an end to the game.

1st XV v Ashley Down 30th November

On the back of their loss to Gloucester Old Boys, Saracens entertained bottom of the league Ashley Down determined to make up for the past week’s poor showing.
It was the Ashley Down that drew first blood with a penalty after Saracens were penalised for hands in the ruck after a scrum that almost drove the away side off of their own scrum.
From the restart, Ashley Down’s forwards utilised the pick and go but were kept quiet by the well organised home defence. Strong running from hooker Nick Hanby, made big gains for the Saracens attack and a well worked move opened up space for Sam Rimmer to touch down under the posts, with Latchford successfully converting.
It didn’t take long for Saracens to extend their lead, after some scrappy play by Ashley Down, Saracens turned the ball over and a lovely line ran by Wilkinson brought another 5 points with Latchford adding 2 more with the conversion.
A sneaky breakaway by number eight Leroy Hughes opened a huge hole in the away team’s defence and a beautiful offload from Chris Windley put lock Will Dove through for a try on his return from injury. A confident Latchford kept his cool to make it three from three.
The game died down a little bit after this with most of the play focused on the centre of the field, until an offside decision against Saracens provided Ashley Down with a lineout and a catch and drive eventually gifted them a try, which was unconverted.

Half time score: 21-8.

The second half started with a good pace with more strong running from Smallman and Rimmer. The hands through the backs following another strong Smallman run put centre Dom Richardson through just left of the posts. This was again converted.
With Ashley Down generously kicking possession away at every opportunity, Saracens’ backs were allowed to make their mark and another good Rimmer run followed by a cross-field kick by Latchford put Wilkinson through for his second try. Latchford made it a 100% record to add another 2 points.
Saracens took their foot off the pedal a little after this and a number of penalties let the away side back in with another catch and drive for an unconverted try for the final score of the match.
Saracens tried to put one last score on the board but sloppy play and a good defence stopped them from adding more points. Ashley Down put the pressure on with one final attack but a knock on brought an end to the game.