St Mary's pull clear after a second-half rout
ST Mary's Old Boys moved off the bottom of Gloucester Premier with a welcome first win of the campaign, overwhelming fellow strugglers Tewkesbury 33-10.
The game was in the balance at the break with tries from Marcus Jenkins and new recruit Bernie McMullen plus a Liam O'Keefe conversion securing a 12-10 advantage.
But three touchdowns in quick succession soon after the restart put Mary's in charge. Centre Sipho Nobalanga, a student at UWE, hard-working flanker Tom Selman and newcomer Ceri Fearnley all crossed to put the seal on a good day for the home club with all three senior sides winning.
Saints have had to deal with a worrying list of long-term injury concerns, including losing wingers Ian Broughton (shoulder surgery) and Dan McGlashan (shin splints) plus scrum-halves Mike O'Reilly and Adam Beavis to knee problems, while fly-half Carl Stevens is now away at university.
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But a new-look squad is starting to make progress. Coach Dave Healy said: "We could easily have won a couple of matches before, but things really clicked this week despite there being seven changes from the side that lost at Stroud.
"Scott Weston in the front row plus Andy Plummer did well in the forwards, while Liam had a strong game at 10 and it was good to have Mike Reed back at centre."
It was also a tremendous day for Saracens, who produced their best display of the season for a stunning 24-22 success at high-flying Painswick. The visitors made the most of a strong wind at their backs to dominate the first half, surging clear thanks to tries from flanker Karl Venn and Ian Werrett (2) with Mike Storey adding two conversions.
Painswick rallied to make it 19-10 at the break and pulled to within two points with a converted score.
Saracens then had to work hard in defence before Werrett took play upfield for lock James Redman to cross for a crucial try.
There was still time for Painswick to cross again but Sarries, with No 8 Will Budd outstanding around the park, held on for their second win of the campaign.
Next up is a home date with Southmead, who bounced back from trailing 10-0 at home to Whitehall for a 40-10 triumph which moved Alan Sharp's squad up to third.
Ron Haddow crossed twice and added two penalties and a conversion for a haul of 18 points with Craig Adams, Greg Welling, Aaron Williams and Dean Sykes also bagging five-pointers, Welling adding the remaining conversion.
In Gloucester Two, Ashley Down moved up to fifth with a 27-8 triumph at BAC.