1st XV v Bream 12th October

Eager to continue their winning streak, The Sarries started strongly, with solid defence putting pressure on the opposition. This was rewarded early on with Latchford taking the three points. A strong Bream team were given a chance at goal shortly after this, but failed to convert. In keeping with the gameplan, Latchford kept Bream pinned back in the their own half. Excellent defence and dominant tackles forced the opposition to revert to their kicking game, but a charge down and reclaim allowed Tom Patience an easy jog over the line. The fantastic Saracens Pack kept the team moving forward, always looking threatening with the ball in hand, and a driving maul 10m out lead to the inevitable try, captain James McMahon grounding the ball. Despite a second well worked individual try from Patience, Bream kept their score within reach.

The second half showed some excellent attacking play from a side really starting to show its confidence. Several times Saracens players crossed the line, only to be called back for various infringements. A high penalty count kept The Saracens tracking back, giving the opposition a better attacking platform. The ever exceptional back three of Richardson, Mitchell and Thomas tirelessly tackled to keep the opposition score down, finding no way through the middle of the Sarries defence, and resorting to going round. Tries for Dom Richardson and Sam Rimmer earned the home team the bonus point, but testing times in the last minutes of the game would decide the winner. A yellow card for Patience allowed Bream to take advantage of the extra man for 10 minutes, scoring 12 points in that time, but the Saracens held on for the win. Final score 36-31.

Fantastic games all involved, Tom Mitchell playing out of position, Kyle Thomas having to come on after only a few minutes, the ever ferocious back row players, but Man of the Match goes to Tom Patience, for two excellent tries and dominant running with the ball in hand.

1st XV v Bishopston 5th October

Off the back of two hard fought victories the Sarries travelled down the M5 to take on Bishopston, with a typically strong side and high hopes of an excellent performance and vital win. It was a perfect day for flowing rugby and the crowd were waiting expectantly!

The game got under way and the Sarries found themselves under some early pressure, with Bishopston able to string some phases together. However, this was to no avail as time after time they were met with a ferocious Sarries brickwall and were smashed back short of the gain line. It was an impressive defensive start from the Sarries with big tackles coming in from the pacey Chris Read, as well as Tom Patience and Venus.

With the pressure expertly soaked up The Sarries were able to pose an attacking threat of their own. A break from fullback Sam Rimmer, lead to the ball being recycled, and some excellent hands from the backs allowed Wayne Smallman to crash over in the corner and open the scoring.

This was a signs of things to come and The Sarries were starting to move through the gears and put some excellent phases together. Further scores were not far off as the sarries backs were able to build on the strong platform they were getting from the forwards. First Sam Rimmer burst through the centres to score under the posts. This was closely followed by an excellent run from Bradley Harris who elegantly evaded multiple tackles to score an impressive try.

The second half continued in a similar fashion with the Sarries forwards dominant and the backs looking dangerous. Despite this dominance only one further Sarries try was added with Sam Rimmer again able to finish of an excellent backs move.

Despite a last minute consolation try from Bishopston, this was an impressive performance from The Sarries who now go into their next fixture full of confidence.

This was an excellent all round team performance but special mentions go to James McMahon for some excellent ball carrying as well as Tom Patience for another strong performance. However, for an game full of running threat and superb distribution writers man of the match goes to Bradley Harris.

1st XV v Colstonians 28th September

For not the first time this season, The Saracens started slowly, with a lapse in defence allowing a soft try through under the posts within a few minutes of the first whistle. 7-0 down. It did however spur the team into motion, with the strong Sarries pack dominating set piece and breakdown from the off. Some great structure saw the game plan properly realised for the first time, and continued pressure and territory was rewarded with a Penalty from Brad Harris. The three points, was then followed by another five, as some good footwork from winger Wayne Smallman saw him skip through the opposition with ease. Although the Saracens continued to keep the home score adding up with a try from the abrasive Kristian Williams converted by Harris, they could not get out of reach of Colstonians with a penalty and try of their own. Scores were level at fifteen all at half time.

The second half saw a continuation of the Saracens forwards dominance, turning over scrums and making ground with strong carries from the ever present Scott Rowe, Chris Reid and Williams. The pack were then rewarded yet again with a 5m scrum, for Tom Patience to stretch over the line from a pick and go from the base, converted again by Harris.

Unfortunatly, not for the first time in the game, some broken defence from the backs saw the visitors cut through with ease to score under the posts to again put the Saracens behind. The forwards stepped up gain from the restart, gaining territory and forcing opposition ill discipline, and driving over from a lineout 10m out to see Rowe ground the ball over the line, and a Colstonians player sent to the sin bin in the process. The game seemed all but won when from another hard earned penalty in the scrum lead to a lineout on the opposition 22. Old Colstonians, now wary of the strength of the home forwards, overcommitted to the maul, leaving the blind side undefended for Matt Kelly to jog over the line unimpeded.

The Bristol side however nearly had the final say, with a penalty and a try scored in the closing minutes, but it was not quite enough to secure a win, with the Saracens holding out to win the game 34-30.

MOM could go to a number of the forwards, Rowe as solid as ever stealing ball and winning penalties on the floor, Read with more tremendous defence, and Kristian Williams for absolute dominance with the ball in hand, but lineout dominance, overall work rate and his first try for the club, it goes to No. 8 Tom Patience.

2nd XV v Old Patesians 26th September

Yet again sarries met there nemesis in local rugby for the last couple of years for the first league fixture between the two. Sarries came out of the blocks fired up, despite a slightly depleted side from the one selected and no reserves.
The Sarries forwards fronted up against their bigger and well drilled opposition and made good ground through commitment and intelligent play at ruck time. This allowed Kyle Thomas to feed Tom Mitchell and try to release the centre pairing of Paul Crombie and Paul Grayson.

The Old Patesians defence was well organised and made some big hits,but infringements at the breakdown allowed new player to the club, John Crowford to slot 2 penalties to put Sarries 6-0 up!!.

Sarries continued to apply great pressure from their 22 upwards but a lack of composure in their own 22 allowed pats to camp on the line and a try followed.
This was the pattern for the remainder of the half and another try from Pats put the score at 12- 6 at halftime.

The second half saw a determined effort from Old Pats to breach the Sarries line but sterner resolve from the home side. Sarries were under the cosh from the outset, but sheer bloody mindedness and pride for the shirt stopped them time and time again, despite a couple of charged down kicks, Sarries only conceded 3 points in the whole of the second half.

Superb runs from the likes of Grayson, Phillips, Lewis and White kept the Sarries moving forward but they couldn’t deal the killer blow. Old Patesians certainly knew they were in a game,and the respect shown by some of their players in the bar afterwards for the Sarries players was admirable.

MoM is yet again a difficult choice as every single player was superb in commitment to the badge.tom Phillips,John Crowford, Paul Grayson and Kyle Thomas were the pick of an outstanding backs performance,with a couple out of position also.
In the forwards, Mark Waring, Daniel Didcote scrummaged superbly, Rob Longimperious as ever in the line out and the back row of Brown, White and Lewis along with La Barre were outstanding throughout……but it has to go to Andy Lewis who was outstanding going forward and defensively sound,creating numerous turnovers.

Final score Sarries 2’s – 9,Old Patesians 3’s – 15

1st XV v Widden OBs 21st September

The Saracens travelled the short trip down the A40 with an injury plagued squad, many of the regular first XV missing. The squad selected however showed the luxury of depth now present in the Saracens Rugby club, and were more than up to the task of taking on the unknown of a relegated team.

A good warm up saw the Saracens start with a drive and hunger that had been missing in previous weeks. Matching Widden for ambition, physicality and desire for a performance, the visitors looked confident from the off. Excellent defence from both sides caused numerous attacking mistakes , leading to a disjointed game, and lack of front football for both teams, however the Saracens seemed to have the upper hand. Strong carries from Jimmy McMahon, Gareth Rogers and débutant Tom Patience kept the Sarries going forwards, with Sam Rimmer, Damien Frelli and Wayne Smallman making ground out wide, but on several occasions some poor decision making prevented points. Freili crossed the line, but a controversial call of ‘held up’ was made which could well have effected the outcome of the game.

The initiative finally went to the Saracens when Scott Rowe controlled the ball over from the back of a maul. Despite threatening runs from the Widden back three, the half time score remained 5-0.

The even nature of the game continued, with only a Latchford penalty ticking the scoreboard over. Words in the Widden huddle at half-time however saw a a more clinical side restart the game and two quick tries were leaked in the corner, giving the home side a 10-8 lead that they looked like they were going to hold on to. A fiery final 10 mins saw several high tackles and scuffles that both teams were lucky to remain card-less. Sarries pressure pinned Widden back to a Lineout on their 5m line which Rowe managed to steal from the subsequent breakdown for skipper McMahon to gather and dive over to win the game.

Final score Widden Old Boys 10- Cheltenham Saracens 13

MOM hard to call this week, with great performances from props Mark Waring and Chris Windley, new signing Patience, and centre Freili, but in my opinion, despite injury, it goes to yet another back row Chris Read, for ferocious tackling and dominant carries throughout the game.