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Saracens v Glos

ZP February 2nd 2003

This was a pretty bad tempered match, not helped by the fact that referee Ashley Rowden failed to take control. Glos had a real up hill struggle here. Sarries were obviously smarting from the drubbing they took at Kingsholm the previous week and with Rowden being firmly on their side Glos had to dig deep. But dig deep they did and came up with a fine win and another first - first league win at Watford. In fact I think it's the first Glos win of any kind at Watford!

There was talk on Teletext of Shelford (Saracen's coach) citing Robert Todd for a high tackle on Bracken. I think citing is only open to the independent citing commissioner these days, but I would suggest Sarries look to the antics of some of their own players first. Horan's performance was deplorable. He seemed to be constantly trying to wind up the Glos players rather than play rugby. At one point he punched Marcel after play had stopped, then directed rude hand signals towards the rest of our lads. Yep you may scoff but in soccer he would be fined for bringing the game into disrepute.

Sarries played with great determination for the first 15 minutes of the match and indeed played some good rugby. Richard Hill quickly gave them the lead with a good try from a scrum. The Sarries pressure at this point was too much for Glos. The try was converted and an exchange of penalties took the score to Sarries 13 - Glos 3. After this point Sarries proceeded to sit on that lead. They rarely ventured into the Glos 22 and in fact didn't make the Glos 22 at all in the second half. Their tactic being just to wind Glos up and rely on Rowden to award them penalties, some of which looked highly dubious.

Glos continued to battle well and the fact that they were 10 points down away from home didn't rattle them. Ludo had a superb day with the boot. His kicking to touch was excellent and he landed all his conversions and penalties. Gomars was very sharp, easily one of the best games he's played (and he's pretty outstanding in most matches). The scrum was rock solid and Hazell scrapped for everything going. Forrester though, whilst not having a bad game, did look a little less sharp than last week

In the second quarter of the match Sarries were defending their 22. Gomars was lightening-quick on a loose ball and passed to Terry (Fanolua) who scored a try duly converted by Ludo. With about 5 minutes to go to half time Ludo collected a great interception to score a try, which again he converted. This took the score to Sarries 13- Glos 17, but Rowden had the last word by playing just enough injury time for him to award another dubious penalty to Sarries. This time for a high tackle. Little slotted the 3 points to take the half time score to Sarries 16 - Glos 29.

The second half was all Glos, but some stout defending from Sarries and when that failed Rowden's whistle prevented us from scoring a try. Ludo did however drop a goal and land three penalties to Little's two.

Final Score : Sarries 22 - Glos 29

A fine win and a very gutsy performance. All the talk the previous week re pay cuts seems to have only served to bring the whole squad closer together. Bring on Barf.

Man of the match? Very difficult not to give it to Ludo. Great kicking display, scoring a try and all round very good. However just sneaking it this week is Andy Gomarsall for superb defence and great alertness around the park.

PS - nice to see the England Sevens team with HP and Amor taking the World Cup down in Oz, beating NZ and Fiji in the semi and final respectively.

Ernie C.