Cents started their season with a bang by beating last season promotion hopefuls Bracknell.Bracknell finished last season in third place and Cents finished fourth from bottom and escaped relegation by a whisker.On paper this should have been a victory for Bracknell in a closely fought match as matches between our two clubs have been close since they started three seasons ago.
However Cents are made of sterner stuff this year and we are a lot fitter,can pick from a full squad and we are better organised in certain areas of our game plan that have been missing.Although new director of rugby Lee fortey was not at the match as he was in the middle of cycling from Lands End to John O'Groats,he would have been very pleased with the way his new charges played.
Along with Lee, Cents were missing county prop Scott Fritchley,Fullback Lewis May and Ben Slatter and after and looking at Bracknell's match report they have recruited some new players so a good match was on the cards.
When the match got under way I don't expect Bracknell were expecting to be 16 points down after an opening barrage from the young Cents team.For the first twenty minutes of the first half Cents were in total control and dominated all aspects of the match never allowing Bracknell any ball and putting the visitors under enormous pressure.Cents scored one converted try through full back Rob Jones and in an immaculate display of place kicking Club Capt. Liam Hemming Converted one try and three penalties.
After this strong start where the home side did not make any mistakes,Cents then got complacent and tried to force the game and this led to some basic mistakes being made.Bracknell were at last allowed some ball and field position and they then showed the qualities of a side that finished in the top three of the division.Bracknell made Cents pay for their mistakes and for the remaining twenty minutes of the first half they dominated play.The visitors scored two tries,one converted and a long range penalty right on the stroke of half time.
Score at Half time 16-15 to Old Cents and what an entertaining first half it was with both sides moving the ball from all areas of the field.
You would have to say that it was expected that as Bracknell had the momentum before half time, they would move on to win the game given last seasons pedigree.However, this Young Cents team had other ideas and they went on to dominate the second half and never allowed their visitors a scoring chance until right at the end of the match when they went looking for a bonus point.Cents won the match by playing a typical Gloucester forward oriented game plan that did not allow Bracknell any ball.Cents forwards were magnificent in all aspects,scrum,lineout and in the loose and they starved Bracknell of the ball plus they kepy them under pressure in their own 22.
Cents scored a further try through Ryan Townsend and Liam Hemming converted this try along two further penalties to give Cents a 29-15 lead going into the final minutes.Bracknell did score a third try on the stroke of full time but this went unconverted and they did not even get a bonus point for their efforts.
This was a fine match to watch,with both sides playing their part in serving up good quality rugby to the spectators who came along to watch.No doubt Bracknell will be there or thereabouts in the promotion mix at the end of the sesaon,however Cents have thrown down a marker to the rest of the league and we will be no pushovers this time round