Cheltenham Saracens overturn Cheltenham Tigers in Combination Cup
Cheltenham 21 v 36 Cheltenham Saracens
Cheltenham Saracens continued a recent run of form to defeat neighbours Cheltenham in the opening round of the Combination Cup.
The match started in the midfield battle as Sarries progressed well against their higher-level opponents and worked their defence well. Both sides traded possession while the play focussed in the Cheltenham half.
Saracens opened the scoring through the tee after a penalty. The phases opened things up for centre Alexander Jackson to run at the Cheltenham backs, who were penalised at the ruck. James Butler immediately pointed for posts and dispatched his kick to put the visitors ahead by three.
Cheltenham responded strongly and ran patient phases with good lines but were kept quiet by a well drilled Saracens defence. Eventually the patient Sarries defence were able to turn over the ball at the ruck and set about with their own attacks with strong running from centres Jonah Manu and Jackson.
The phases were finished by prop Dave David Fitzharris, who barrelled his way over after shrugging off a Cheltenham tackle. Butler converted to take Saracens 10 points ahead.
Cheltenham put the visiting defence under pressure, stopped only by some heavy hits from Gareth Gar Pete Rogers and James McMahon. The half was brought to an end as the well drilled Saracens defence kept the Cheltenham runners at bay and a sloppy pass spilled into touch.