Gloucester Premier League

Cheltenham Saracens 18 Cirencester 16

THE WATCHWORD for both sides playing in terrible conditions was to be control and territory.

As ever, Cirencester started with confidence, mixing the play with short runners into the heart of the Saracens defence, and an intelligent kicking game.

Again the impressive Iwan Thomas, Ciren fly half, was never afraid to put some width on the game, even in worsening conditions.

The early pressure was rewarded with a penalty to Ciren 0-3. A long kick into the Sarries territory resulted in the returning kick being charged down by Cirencester winger Alex Moreing who scored in the corner, conversion missed 0-8.

This shocked Sarries into action with a penalty of their own 3-11.

The rest of the half both sides slugged it out with Ciren thwarting Sarries power with positive defence; half time 3-11.

The first scorer of the second half would be pivotal, and it was again Iwan Thomas who made his now trademark break.

When unfortunately tackled just short of the line, with great awareness, he popped to the all-powerful Ciren centre Ben Ramsey who held the pass to score 3-16.

Now it was just 20 minutes to go and Cirencester were hungry for a valuable victory.

As has happened many times this season it was not a positive outcome, although a losing bonus point was eventually secured.

Sarries hit back with two tries, as the away side’s discipline was slipping.

And it did not help that they went down to 14 men due to a sin binning with the tries making the score 13-16 to Ciren with three minutes left on the clock.

The pitch looking like a swamp again the heavy Sarries came once more scoring the decisive try with two minutes to go, with Ciren desperate to get possession but the clock beat them and final score was 18-16.

This Ciren side deserved more than just one point, with all 18 players in the Cirencester squad playing their hearts out.

But sport does not allow for sentiment.

Meanwhile, the Cirencester second XV were home to a very strong Old Patesians Gentlemen who won 45-0.