Bright start fades as Sods loose to table toppers

January 31 2016

Sodbury made all the early inroads with a powerful start, the home side’s pack having been set the task of recycling their opponents power plays at the breakdown.

Tom Cawston scoring Sodbury’s only try of the match

Chipping Sodbury 11;
Bristol Saracens 43

Sodbury made all the early inroads with a powerful start, the home side’s pack having been set the task of recycling their opponents power plays at the breakdown.
What would turn out to be Sodbury’s only try was scored by energetic scrum half Tom Cawston. The Sodbury eight unsettled the visitors’ scrum on the 5-metre line forcing the ball out of the side. Cawston pounced at pace and snuck beneath two defenders for a dream start.
The pressure was maintained after the restart by Sodbury’s ever reliable Joe Horton and Dan Bradley and they found support from Ben Sharp, Steve Hopes and Jason Petchey.
The Combination’s form team are renowned for punishing any slack play and Sodbury failed to learn from previous encounters and a turnover on halfway saw Saracens in for a long-range try.  A last-ditch tackle after a lung-bursting chase by Bradley stopped a carbon copy of the visitors’ first try as Sodbury’s mettle was put to the test. Saracens concentrated their efforts but were held out by strong defence spearheaded by Hopes and Martin Moorhouse.
Sodbury did though concede another long-range effort from Saracens. To counter, Sodbury used their line-out to build multiple phases and crept back down the field. The pressure led to penalties with Bradley on hand to slot over two awkward kicks. Saracens kicked one of their own and with the half-time score at 11 – 15 Sodbury knew they had their work cut out.  
A well-worked second half try from the visitors came from a missed touch finder, but with the Sodbury pack stifling their counterparts, Saracens fly-half was then forced to resort to kicking. A yellow card was issued to Sodbury for encroaching the 10-metre at a tapped penalty and resulting scrum saw a penalty try awarded after the home side lost their footing on the heavy ground.
Phil Player, on his way back from a groin injury, was introduced for the last quarter. He posted a typically vigorous and committed performance, which seemed to drag just a little more effort from a tiring home side. Lee Ralph, who is presently keeping Duncan Bell on the sidelines, marshalled the defensive efforts of the pack, ultimately earning himself the man of the match award.
As the fatigue from a tireless team effort washed over Sodbury gaps appeared which Saracens’ dangerous back line exploited to the full finishing strongly to record a 43-11 victory.
Going into February, Chipping Sodbury sit third in the Gloucester Premier table thanks to a convincing 48-0 win away at Tewksbury