| Out For Revenge - 24th April
Cheltenham Saracens will be out for revenge when they play Cirencester United in the final game of the season tomorrow.
Ciren, who are looking to have avoided the ignominy of finishing bottom for a second successive season, beat Saracens 3-2 in August – one of only four wins for The Herd this season. Saracens never really recovered from that result and they will finish in the lower reaches of the Division One West table after ending last season in fifth.
"I do think that was the game where it went wrong for us," manager Gerry Oldham said. "We started the season with seven points out of nine and we were unbeaten so everything was fine. Then we were 1-0 up at Cirencester but suddenly they've scored three goals out of nothing and we've lost the game. It was definitely the turning point in our season. We need to put things right with them now and I know all the lads up for it tomorrow."
Saracens have enjoyed top-half finishes in the last four seasons but that impressive run will come to and following a disappointing campaign. Their 3-2 win at Pewsey Vale on Wednesday night was only their second in 16 games but Oldham insisted lessons will be learned from their poor year.
"I've never been in this kind ofposition before so it has been a real eye-opener for me," said Oldham. "You get to know people's strengths and weaknesses both on and off the pitch when you're in this situation. It's been a different experience for me to be in this position but hopefully we can learn from our mistakes and put it right next year."
| Four Wins Expected - 10th March
Gerry Oldham expects his Cheltenham Saracens side to win their last four games of the season.
The Petersfield Park club have been boosted by Mike Wilce's return from university and Oldham is confident of a 12-point haul in the run-in. Saracens will need to start with a first win in seven when they entertain Headington Amateurs tomorrow.
Saras followed up back-to-back 1-0 defeats with a 1-1 draw against Wootton Bassett Town in midweek when Stuart Lewis was on target. Their last meeting with Headington ended in a 2-1 win and a repeat of that scoreline from October would suit Oldham. Headington have just one win in nine and a Saracens victory would take them above their opponents in Division One West.
Oldham said: "We played really well against Wootton but they came back at us late on and got the equaliser. We haven't been on the best run but it's time to put that right now and I think we can win our last four games."
| "The Season's Gone Now" - 20th March
The end of the season cannot come quickly enough for Cheltenham Saracens manager Gerry Oldham.
After a torrid term that has featured the loss of key players, several serious injuries and a poor run of form, Saracens are in the bottom half of Division One West. They go into tomorrow's match with Winterbourne United after just two wins in their last 13 and the misery was compounded by a 1-1 draw at home to lowly Clanfield on Wednesday.
"It was a bit of a drab game and it just feels like the season's gone now," said Oldham. "Our only aim is trying to finish as high as we can so we'll be looking for the right result tomorrow."
Winterbourne have had a surprisingly mediocre season after winning the Division One West title in 2008. Since losing to Saracens 2-1 on the opening day of the season they have won 11 and lost 11 of their 25 games, tasting defeat four more times than last season already. However, they do possess the division's second highest scorer and Jimmy Potts will be looking to increase his tally of 23 goals in 25 games by netting tomorrow.
Oldham said: "I spoke to the Winterbourne manager recently and they are in a similar position to us. They started off reasonably well but their form has dipped and we know all about that. When we beat them at the start of this season I had all my players available but a couple have gone and we've had loads of injury problems since then."
Cheltenham Saracens: Betteridge, Bermingham, Bish, Oldham, Rayson, Finch, Ireland, Tustain, Pates, Griffiths, Tovey, Slender, Latchford, Morby.
| Dent In Title - 6th March
Cheltenham Saracens will aim to dent another side's title aspirations when they entertain Division One West leaders Hardwicke tomorrow.
Gerry Oldham's side secured their first league win since December 6 when they beat high-flying Letcombe 2-1 last week. Jamie Bish and Marcus Finch were on target in that victory and Oldham said Saracens should have scored more. "We had a more solid team out last week and physically we looked stronger," he said. "After their goal our keeper hasn't had another save to make and we could have won by a bigger margin."
Saracens were defeated 2-0 at home by Hardwicke in October and the Green Lane outfit can extend their four point advantage at the top by completing a double over their local rivals. Hardwicke have conceded just 12 goals in their 21 league games so far this season and they put title rivals Purton firmly in their place with a 4-1 away victory last weekend but Oldham remains optimistic. And he has selected 18-year-old youth teamer Sonnie Burrows for the clash with Hardwicke, who are playing their first season of Hellenic football after winning the Gloucestershire County League last year.
"Our last game with them was very close and they scored both their goals in the last 10 minutes or so," said Oldham. "They have had a brilliant season and we know we'll have to at our best to get something from the game.
Cheltenham Saracens: Betteridge, Rayson, Maslin, Pates, Oldham, Bick, Kennedy, Tustain, Griffiths, Bish, Finchm Shand, Slender, Burrows.
| Place Earned - 20th February
Teenage midfielder Jamie Shand will keep his place in the Cheltenham Saracens team after a goalscoring appearance in midweek.
His performance against Premier Division Marlow was the highlight of an otherwise disappointing night for Saracens as they crashed out of the HPL Floodlit Cup at the quarter-final stage.
Manager Gerry Oldham was disappointed to miss out on a semi-final berth following the 2-1 reverse but stressed there were positives to come out of the game. "The competition wasn't so important in the early rounds and it's not a big deal when you're going for promotion," he said. "But when you've had a season like ours and you reach the last eight of a cup it becomes important so I was disappointed. They only had two chances and scored them both. We had about five but could only find the net once and that's what made the difference. But Jamie did well on the right side of midfield and Lee Rayson had a run out for 10 minutes after coming back from a broken leg so that was pleasing."
Sixteen-year-old Joe Donahue will also be named in the Saracens squad as they go for revenge following a 2-1 defeat at Purton in September. The third-placed Reds are unbeaten in six, winning five of those games, and in 21 goal Warren Fuller they boast the division's third top scorer.
Cheltenham Saracens: Betteridge, Finch, Rayson, Donahue, Ireland, Bick, Griffiths, Bish, Bermingham, Lewis, Tustain, Tovey, Ellin, Shand.
| Praise From Manager - 30th January
Sara's goalkeeper Ryan Betteridge has been singled out for praise by manager Gerry Oldham.
Betteridge (left) took a rare break when he sat out the club's 7-0 GFA Challenge Trophy defeat at Bitton three days before Christmas. But the dependable number one has returned to the line-up as Sara's target a climb up the Division One West table in 2009 and Betteridge played a key role in holding high-fliers Malmesbury Victoria to a 3-3 draw last week.
"I don't think Ryan has missed a league game in the four years I've been the manager of the club," said Oldham. "He is the best goalkeeper in our division and he's been on form this season. I was pleased with the performance overall but not the result last week and we've got to start turning performances into points."
Saracens take a break from league action tomorrow when they entertain Rayners Lane in the Supplementary Cup. The West London outfit, who are in the bottom half of the Division One East table, have not won in four league games.
"Looking at Rayners Lane's results they are not in the best of form but neither are we so it's going to be a tight game," added Oldham.
Saracens: Betteridge, Bish, Finch, Bermingham, Latchford, Tovey, Lewis, Griffiths, Slender, Crosskey, Tustain, Ireland, Ellin, Pates.
| Worst Season - 15th January
Cheltenham Saracens manager Gerry Oldham has called the club's 2008-09 campaign his "worst season in charge".
The death of former Saracen Rob Cruse and injuries to key men have affected their on field activities with the Saracens surprisingly languishing in ninth place of Division One West.
After finishing fourth last term the Petersfield Park club were expected to be among the promotion candidates, but at the turn of the year they are 20 points off top spot.
But Oldham, who has been at the helm for four years, maintains that the Saras can get back into contention for a step up to the Premier and he still has high hopes for the season.
"This is probably the worst season we've had since I've been in charge and it's strange because we've got the best squad yet," he said. "A lot of things have happened off the pitch that has made it tough but the season is still alive and we remain in two cup competitions."
"If we have a good run I think we can still get in the four and that would give us a chance of promotion. Hardwicke and Letcombe are first and second at the minute but they can't go up because they have no floodlights so a chance is still there for us."
Saracens' lost 3-2 at Trowbridge Town in their last outing when key trio Joe Tustain, Jack Oldham and Andy Crosskey all went off injured in the first half.
But Tustain and Crosskey are back from hamstring strains while Oldham will return from his thigh problem to face a Clanfield side three places below them at Petersfield Park tomorrow.
|Rob Cruse - 29th November
It is with deep sadness that the Hellenic League announce that Rob Cruse passed away yesterday in Cheltenham General Hospital. Rob had been in intensive care following injuries sustained in a car crash two weeks ago.
24 year old Rob was highly respected by his club Cheltenham Saracens and his team mates, the loss of Rob has severely shocked all who knew him.
As a mark of respect to the player, the League has granted the request of Cheltenham Saracens to postpone todays fixture against Clanfield FC.
Rob had completed a transfer to Almondsbury Town shortly before his tragic accident, a club where he also had many friends. Almondsbury have also postponed their fixture today in respect of Rob.
The thoughts of the Hellenic League football community are with Rob's family at this sad time.
| Aiming to End Run - 28th November
The Sara's will be aiming to end a four-game winless run when they visit Clanfield in Division One West tomorrow.
Saracens poor form, which continued with a 4-1 defeat at Oxford City Nomads last Saturday, has seen them slip to eighth in the table. Clanfield, who drew 1-1 with bottom club Cirencester United last time out, are in the bottom six despite only one defeat in their last seven league games.
Saras manager Gerry Oldham acknowledged his side's recent run was disappointing but insists they will got to Radcot Road full of confidence. "It's not happening for us at the moment but we'll just keep plugging away," he said. "Oxford Nomads were a good side but we just need a bit more application now and we'll be all right."
Saracens: Betteridge, Ireland, Bermingham, Tovey, Oldham, Finch, Tustain, Lewis, Crosskey, Griffiths, Bish, Slender, Smith, Bick.
| Saracens In A Rut - 21st November
Cheltenham Saracens can go level on points with fifth placed Oxford City Nomads in FTL Futbol Hellenic League Division One West by beating their promotion rivals at Marsh Lane.
Gerry Oldham's side desperately need three points to resurrect their bid for Premier Division football after three league games without a win.
But Nomads, who won their previous meeting with Saracens 2-0 last month, have a 100 per cent home record they will want to hold on to. They are also hoping to bounce back following a 1-0 defeat at Winterbourne last Saturday, when Saras were beaten 3-2 at home by Tytherington Rocks.
"We haven't really performed and we haven't deserved to win games," said Oldham. "We're in a bit of a rut at the moment. We need to stick together and play like we have in the past. I still believe in my players."
| Players Back For Sara's - 7th November
Stuart Lewis returns from suspension for Cheltenham Saracens' Division One West home match with Pewsey Vale tomorrow.
The former Aston Villa trainee was in fine form before he picked up the ban for being sent off playing Sunday League football and will be eager to pick up from where he left off.
Jack Oldham is also back after five weeks out with a groin strain, but Luke Tovey is missing because of a rib injury and TJ Bick continues his return to full fitness with a run out for the Saras third team.
Saracens, who are fourth in Division One West, are relaxed after a week off while Pewsey are in the bottom two, but manager Gerry Oldham insists it will not be easy. "They've had a poor start to the season but during my time here I think we've only beaten them once," he said. "We have been a bit up and down and we need to start getting a bit more consistency in there now."
| Aiming To Jump 3 Places - 3rd October
A home win for sixth placed Cheltenham Saracens against Oxford City Nomads could put them third in FTL Futbol Hellenic League Division One West. Though it does depend on third and fourth placed Tytherington Rocks and Easington Sports, who play each other tomorrow, achieving a low score draw. Plus fifth placed Purton not managing to earn more than one point from their trip to Cricklade.
Though Saracens showed their ability and gained their revenge on Malmesbury Victoria, for their FA Vase defeat, with a 5-2 away win at The Flying Monk ground last Saturday
Tomorrows Squad: Betteridge, Bick, Ireland, Tovey, Crosskey, Finch, Bish, Ellin, Kennedy, Tustain, Lewis, Griffiths, Gill, Bermingham.
Saracens' youth team face Forest Green Rovers in the second qualifying round of the FA Youth Cup at Petersfield Park on Monday (7.30pm).
| Out For Revenge - 26th September
Cheltenham Saracens are out for revenge in Division One West when they meet Malmesbury Victoria in FTL Futbol Hellenic League Division One West.
The Vics knocked Sara's out of the FA Vase 10 days ago with a 2-1 victory at the Flying Monk Ground and assistant manager Mark Lockwood is expecting another tough test.
"They were the only team that have outplayed us this season in the first half of that last game," he said."But we've been working on a few things in training and hopefully they will play off."
The Saracens first team will be hoping to replicate the form of their youth side, who were 5-0 winners over Westbury United in the FA Youth Cup on Wednesday.
Ryan Masling, Lewis Dawes and an Elliot Kennedy brace put the Sara's juniors 4-0 up at the interval and Sonnie Burrow completed the rout in the second half.
Saracens For Staurday: Betteridge, Bick, Ireland, Pates, Crosskey, Finch, Bish, Ellin, Kennedy, Lewis, Tustain, Tovey, Griffiths, Cruse.
| Saracens Storm Hits Weston - 9th September
Cheltenham Saracens Youth Team were drawn away to Conference South side Weston Super Mare in Sara’s first ever tie in the FA Youth Cup. After dominating the first 30 minutes without really testing the Weston keeper the Saracens found themselves down 1-0 against the run of play. As the first half drew to a close Weston went further ahead when a simple shot took a bad bounce to beat Eddie Farrell in the Saracens goal
In the second half Saracens huffed and puffed until Sunnie Burrows gave Saracens a life line on 60 minutes. Saracens stepped up the pace and with 15 minutes remaining Joe Donahues' long range shot flew into the top corner to bring Saracens level on 75 minutes. As Weston came forward they started to leave holes at the back but Saracens failed to finish. With five minutes to go Elliot Kennedy was being ushered away from goal but he hit a low hard drive across the goal that went into the net for the winner.
Saracens Youth manager, Chris Ibbitson, said; “Saracens deserved to win having played the better football they delivered a fighting comeback to win the game which looked as if it would slip away from them”.
|Young Bloods In Vase - 5th September
Sara's play their first ever game in the FA Vase when they go to Hellenic One West rivals Malmesbury Victoria tomorrow.
The signs could point to a successful bow if last season's league form is anything to go by, with Saracens finishing fifth while the Vics ended in the bottom three. However, new additions at the Flying Monk Ground may mean the teams are more evenly matched this time around with Malmesbury currently sixth in One West, two points behind Gerry Oldham's Saras.
Oldham has been delighted with his side's start to the season as Saras have overcome the loss of key players to start the campaign with just one defeat in six. He is hoping they can maintain their impressive form in Wiltshire – weather permitting.
Oldham said: "When we had a lot of rain last year it was up to the top of the goalposts at Malmesbury so any more this weekend and I can't see it going ahead. It is a nice draw for us because they're in the same league but I think we're capable of beating teams from the league above too."
"We've had to contend with different players being unavailable and last week we had nine Under-20s in the side but we're still performing well."
There will be two 16-year-old Saracens making the trip to Malmesbury with Elliott Kennedy and manager's son Jack Oldham both in the squad. But they will have to make do without the missing quartet of Joe Tustain, Andy Sherlock, Mike Wilce and Lee Rayson.
Saracens: Betteridge, Moxey, Tovey, Ireland, Bick, Bermingham, Rutter, Crosskey, Griffiths, Ellin, J Oldham, Finch, Lewis, Maslin, Kennedy.
Saracens have also entered a team into the FA Youth Cup for the first time this season and the youngster are away to Weston-super-Mare on Monday.
| One On His Travels - 8th July
FTL Futbol Hellenic One West side Cheltenham Saracens started training last week and all players from last season have returned except for Top Goalscorer Andy Sherlock who has decided to go on world travels until Christmas.
Several new players have shown an interest and Manager Gerry Oldham is quite confident of a good season and a push for a top two place and promotion to the Premier Division. Saracens, who will play in the FA VASE for the first time will be away to fellow One West side Malmesbury Vic's in the 1st Qualifying Round on 6th September.
Due to the Club's Youth policy it has been necessary to form a fifth team in the local Cheltenham League so that players from the club's 11 junior teams can progress through the system and are not lost to other clubs in the area. As an FA Charter Standard Club Saracens are applying to become a Community Charter Standard Club by November with their link with the University of Gloucestershire.
1st Team Pre season friendlies have been arranged with: -
17th July Kings Stanley H
19th July Alvechurch H
22nd July North Leigh H
24th July Ellwood A
29th July Winchcombe H
2nd August Milton A
5th August Old Woodstock A