Cheltenham 54 Stroud 24

STROUD were heavily beaten away from home by a strong Cheltenham side on Saturday, but achieved their objective of securing a valuable bonus point.

From the kick off Stroud started in a lively fashion but poor tackling saw Cheltenham score two tries in the first six minutes.

The game then settled down with both sides trying to play open rugby, but in the 30th minute a Cheltenham scrum, in the Stroud 22, saw them run in unopposed under the posts.

Cheltenham scored two more tries in quick succession meaning they took a massive 33-0 lead into the second period.

Following the interval it was a different story with Stroud playing with much more intent, knowing that a losing bonus point could still be achieved.

Unfortunately, the hosts scored the first try of the half to make it 40-0 but Stroud hit back quickly.

Sam Hester scored in the corner after good hands and this score gave Stroud some encouragement and a breakaway from their own 22 by Jake Marsh followed by and inside pass to Jo Hoyle saw him score under the posts for their second try, with the conversion made.

Stroud continued to try and play open rugby but a mistake in their own 22 saw the ball turned over and Cheltenham score another try which was converted.

The next passage of play saw Stroud pressurising the Cheltenham line for a period of time and strong running by Marsh saw him slice through the Cheltenham defence to score under the posts and the conversion points were taken.

Again after a breakout by Stroud from their own 22, clever play by Marsh saw him chip over the top, to be gathered by Carl Ranscombe, who had a positive influence on the game when he came on, and after a series of passes Pete Sykes scored in the corner.

The conversion was missed but Stroud has secured a bonus point with their fourth try. Cheltenham ended the game by scoring two unconverted tries out wide, but Stroud had hung in bravely.