After any fears of a frozen pitch (following a heavy frost the previous day) were allayed at 8am, the masses that gathered at the Park Campus were treated to a fantastic display of rugby, in perfect sunny and muddy conditions, as can be seen in the squad photos.
As we are a much larger squad than Stow (50+ players vs. 20+ players), the morning consisted of a robust team warm up and a squad training session and two twenty minute games for each squad (one against each of the two Stow squads).
As always, Stow presented two very strong squads and throughout the morning the play was exciting to watch, with brave tackling, determined running and some great handling leading to great tries for both clubs.
There were many positives for Old Pats to take from this fixture, with the improved forward movement of our defensive lines and resulting tackles being particularly pleasing. Additionally, there were also signs of an improving effectiveness at rucks. However, there were also a few ‘issues’ identified that will need to be addressed at training next week, such as improving all three squads organisation in both attack and defence and the consistency with which the players tackle and ruck.
A huge thank you to Stow for making the journey to Cheltenham and for providing us with such a stern test of our abilities. After all, tough games are what we want and need.
Finally, well done to everyone involved, particularly the coaches and hotdog providers!