It was 11 years ago that The Stags last played in the Senior Vase Cup and this season an opportunity was given to enter with a home draw against Cheltenham Saracens who play in the Gloucester Premier League.

Sarris arrived in good time for the early KO and brought with them a colourful bunch of supporters for what was a classic cup match.

The game started in typical rugby fashion with both teams making some big hits in the middle of the park and The Stags back row, Luke Gowan, feeling the full force from one of the Sarries players.

Both teams had 50/50 possession for the first 10 mins and it was clear to see that Sarries meant business in the loose with physical tackling and being very quick at the break down.

Once the game had settled a little, The Stags used the ball well and Tim Piper managed to gather a loose ball, break the Sarries defensive line with Tom Wall in support who then passed out wide to Ryan Beard who scored the first try of the game and take a 5-0 lead.

Soon after, it was Sarries turn to apply some pressure onThe Stags and were awarded a penalty, just outside the 22 area, for holding on in the ruck. The Sarries flyhalf had just enough legs to slot the ball over for the three points. 5-3.

The Sarries fly half & inside centre were the key players for the visitors and taking control for various periods of the game for the visitors but The Stags showed what they were good with quick ball recycling by the forwards and fluid open rugby by the backs. The Stags were awarded a penalty, which resulted in a yellow card for the offending player, and Piper extended the lead 8-3.

Sarries were then straight back in The Stags half and it wasn’t too long before a penalty was given for off side, Sarries kicked for touch for a line out. The line out was won and a well worked catch n drive gave Sarries momentum to push The Stags back over the try line to score and level the points at 8-8.


A few wise words were given by Captain, Ross Mckechan and coach Kevin Inalls at half time and the players responded immediately. 

Sarries struggled with the quick ball being recycled and this allowed The Stags to open the gaps in the defensive line. in one phase of play from the centre of the park the ball found its way passed down the back line and winger Ryan Beard did the unexpected yet again. With ball in hand, running at pace, outclassed the oncoming defender by throwing the dummy pass, a carbon copy from the Avon game, slip a tackle to score our second try. Piper hit the post unfortunately. 13-8.

Sarries clawed another three points back with another penalty 13-11.

Soon after The Stags defensive line ws opened up by Sarries and a well worked try from with there own half was scored to take the lead 13-16.

The stags then displayed the best move of the game, with outside centre, Sam Chillingworth taking the ball at pace, passing to Piper who spotted a gap and did a 
one two with Sam Lewis, Piper saw Beard in support who threw the dummy pass, a carbon copy from the Avon game, made ground and then back to Piper who scored under the posts to regain the lead. 20-16.

The game then a bit of ping pong action with both teams trying to force the other back in there own half but The Stags had other ideas with the clock ticking and 10 minutes to go. Good possession of ball by the forwards and slowing the game down paid off as Dave Harris forced his way over the line from a quick ball at the back of ruck to seal victory for the home team. 25-16 final score

Credit must go to Sarries as they played well for many periods of the game and gave The Stags a close encounter in what was probably our toughest game of the season so far.

There were jubilant scenes on the pitch as the final whistle was blown and this just shows how far this team has come in the last 5 months. 

The final will be played on the 23rd Feb against Honiton RFC.

MOTM was awarded to Ryan Beard.


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