Archie Nelmes: ‘Cheltenham Saracens ready for Longlevens’

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Archie Nelmes

After a great win last Saturday against Frampton Cotterell, Cheltenham Saracens are ready to face Longlevens – one of their old rivals.

Manager Archie Nelmes said: “We are fully aware that, if we don’t show Longlevens the respect that’s needed, we could come unstuck.

“Levens were in our league a few years back and stopped us from winning the league. However the Sarries players are in a different place now mentally and physically and are using that energy to hopefully put that wrong right this Saturday.”

“We made some changes last week with Jonah Manu moving from centre to the back-row and he gave us some serious firepower and scored three tries.

“James Butler started at nine and orchestrated our game plan very well with new signing Alex Jackson combing very well with inside centre Jack Lawerson.

“We have three games in hand in the Gloucester Premier on Berry Hill who are nine points the difference sitting in the play-off spot, but we are slowly closing the gap. We are taking every game and every point at a time.”

Read newspaper article here

Cheltenham Saracens RFC raises funds for St Mary’s Old Boys captain Liam O’Keefe left unable to walk

Liam

Liam O’Keefe

A Cheltenham rugby club is to dedicate to raising funds for an opposition player who suffered serious neck injuries while playing against them last year.

Cheltenham Saracens RFC said its Charity Sevens Tournament IV this summer will raise money for Liam O’Keefe, the captain of Bristol-based St Mary’s Old Boys (South West) captain, Liam O’Keefe.

A statement on the Cheltenham’s club’s Facebook page reads: “On December 5, St. Mary’s hosted the Sarries in what was seen as a big promotion-chasing clash for both sides.

“With the match evenly poised at 5-5, St. Mary’s captain unfortunately sustained a serious neck injury which saw him taken directly to hospital and undergo immediate surgery.

Read newspaper article here

1st XV blitz Frampton Cotterell

Cheltenham Saracens RFC 52
Frampton Cotterell RFC 12

Following last week’s abandonment, Saracens returned to the field determined to make up the gap in the race for second, and they did exactly that.

Sarries opened their account early on as some strong running from lock Greg Prance and centre Jack Lawrenson saw an opportunity for new signing, Alex Jackson, to dive over in emphatic fashion. The conversion however, was not accurate, sailing just wide.Kris

And it wasn’t long before the Sarries found themselves on the scoreboard again as some good passing and running through the backs allowed Shaun Meheran to receive an offload and the openside flanker stormed through as the Frampton defence parted like the Red Sea. This time Harris slotted the kick to put Saracens in the lead 12-0.

In a flurry of action in the Frampton half, the visitors secured themselves a lineout. However, the lineout was spilt and the bouncing ball was pounced upon by flanker Jonah Manu who skipped past the defence and crossed the whitewash. Harris’ kick struck the post and bounced wide, but the Saracens remained largely in control, 17 points ahead.

DaveClub Stalwart Dom Richardson snatched the bonus point as forceful running from Gareth Rogers and David Fitzharris saw Saracens dominate through the phases, creating an overlap and the speedy winger glided over the line almost unopposed. Harris kept his cool and put an extra two on from the tee.

Frampton, desperate to get back into the game used their forwards to try and dictate the play but after some pressure on the Sarries defence, were unable to find a way through. The resulting five metre scrum saw the visitors anchor down and drive forward, eventually getting a try in the corner. The conversion was missed due to the difficult angle.

The first half remained a midfield battle with both teams applying pressure to the other but the score remained Saracens 24-5 Frampton

Whatever was said by manager Ross Nelmes worked well as the Sarries started at a frantic, dominating pace and debutant Jackson found himself on the score sheet once again, this time with Harris able to convert.
Buoyed by this early boost, the home side continued on with fast approach and pressure. This eventually paid off as soon after fly-half Brad Harris sold the dummy and broke free of the visiting defence to touch down. The kick in front of the posts was converted and Saracens were off the races, 38-5.

The visitors managed to claw their way back in, again through a scrum on the Saracens five metre line. Despite the scrum wheeling almost a full 180 degrees, the referee gave the decision for the penalty try. The conversion was kicked and Frampton were up to 12 points.JB

After the deep restart, Saracens found themselves right back on the Frampton 5m line. An attempted box kick was charged down by Tom Patience and Manu again was able to scoop up the ball and jog over. Harris converted to make it 45-12.

It took a bit of skill and strong running for the final try, started by substitute Kristian Williams. Williams made an immediate impact as Frampton were unable to deal with the colossal lock. This allowed for some creative champagne rugby from both the Sarries forwards and back as they ran their way from inside their own 20m area to the Frampton 5m line with flanker Manu chalking up his hat-trick in the final play of the match.

Harris made it a 7 point score from the tee and saw Saracens walk away with a dominant 52-12 victory.

IIIs triumph at Westbury

As Cheltenham Saracens III turned up to face Westbury II it was clear to see the game plan Westbury had in mind. With a narrow pitch and what seemed like 15 forwards on the paddock, it was going to be a heavy days work for the pack.

With tactical masters Paul Grayson and Darryl Francis at the helm the Saracens forwards worked hard and accurately to provide a decent ball for the backline to work there magic. The Sarries line out worked well with arrows from Wayne Smith and quick ball coming off Matty William jumping in the middle of the line.

Jonathan Crowford opened the scoring by running nearly the length of the pitch dancing through the Westbury defence. Greedy but we can forgive him as it was an excellent try.

Sarries scored again with a maul close to the line and the ball popped out to Matt Mudway who scooted over the line.

Westbury hit back early in the second half with a lucky penalty try off of 3 driving scrums on the Sarries line. The penalty was the 3rd given at the scrum within minutes, and saw Saracens flanker Luke Brown harshly sin binned.

Westbury took advantage of the depleted numbers by scoring a second forward orientated push over try shortly after.

Westbury did venture the ball out to there centres a couple of times in the second half with some strong line breaks only thwarted by some impressive cover tackling .

Chris Davies took the ball out wide and managed to chip and chase the ball to touch down over the whitewash.

Following fracas at the scrum new prop Omar was sin binned along with his opposite man. A tough but enjoyable day for the newcomer as he only made it to the game at half time due to navigational difficulties which saw him in Wales.

Mudway got on the score sheet again by selling a round-the world dummy Russell Morrison would be proud of, and scooting through the resulting gap.

A physical encounter mastered by a dogged performance by the Sarries pack and blistering pace out wide.

Some brilliant performances but MoM went to Jay Marriott, stepping into second row, around the park like a back row with some hard talking thrown in.

Cheltenham Saracens III 26 – 15 Westbury II

2nds fall at Coney Hill

Coney Hill II 20,Sarries II 6

Sarries arrived with high hopes for this friendly, despite a much changed side than selected due to unavailability.

Deja vu was prevalent as the same official for the game had presided over last weeks fixture vs Chosen Hill. It was also the same for the way the game transpired.

A hard physical encounter as expected in which both sides bashed away at the defence to no avail…scoring opportunities were at a premium with a penalty each being the outcome of the first half.

The second half was more of the same with the Sarries forwards completely dominant in the scrums and on a par in the loose and lineout.The battle was in the backs with the Coney Hill 10 being instrumental, pinning Sarries back with positional kicks and running play,however the doggedness of the Sarries backs held out bar one bounce of the ball from one such kick pressurising Carl Stevenson to infringe whilst chasing back with the opposition winger and fullback, which the ref deemed worthy to award a penalty try…much to Stevensons dismay.

Sarries were the masters of their own undoing,the same scenario as last weeks game ensued with sarries frustration at the confusing manner in which the ref was officiating the contest leading to penalty after penalty giving hill momentum.
With a lineout in which the ref allowed Hill to yo yo players in and out, Sarries were caught napping as Hill suddenly threw the ball in and set up a driving maul to allow their impressive 8 to score.

A penalty for each side left the score at 20-6 to the home side at full time…a score line which seems to flatter the winning side as it was a very close game with Sarries finally applying pressure on the Hill line in the last 15 minutes but with no prize.

A superb scrummaging performance and decent loose play by a much juggled pack with 2 former backs in the second row and makeshift jumpers in the line-out who performed well.

The backs defended well and met a brick wall when attacking despite all efforts.much to applaud but still lots to work on…especially mental strength when dealing with officials and the way they officiate.

Highlights were the leadership skills from Damien Frieli and Junior Mcdaid, and James Connolly for becoming the shortest second row in the clubs history, and a solid performance in defence by all members of the squad.

Writers MOM is Chris Windley playing 6…..consistently a nuisance at the breakdown, good line-outs despite only just taking on the role, and tenacious in defence.