Bristol Saracens 16

Stroud 12

STROUD were left frustrated by a dogged Bristol Saracens, writes Russ Hillier.

With both teams struggling this season through injuries and non-availability and sharing the bottom end of the table, this game was of vital interest to both.

Playing down the slope Stroud started the more aggressive, creating chances that broke down through handling faults or committed defence from the hosts, who in turn opened the scoring after some 15 minutes by a penalty in front of the posts.

Stroud returned to the attack and following intense forward pressure took the lead with an unconverted try from Matt Hunt. This was short-lived with Saracens scoring an unconverted try to register a lead of 8-5. Stroud turned the screw to enable Jake Marsh to score near the posts to lead at the break.

With the slope to their advantage, Saracens now used their experience through astute kicking and strong defence to keep Stroud penned into their own half, during which time they kicked a simple penalty to bring the score to within a point.

Try as hard as they could, Stroud found it difficult to penetrate the hosts’ half and following a penalty kick into the Stroud 22 the Saracens pack won the lineout and surged forward to touch down for an unconverted try and bring the score to 16 – 12 in their favour. The remainder of the game left Stroud chasing hard to snatch a result, but only to fall at the final whistle and leave them thinking this was a game they could have won.