The Colchester Gladiators fell to 4-5 on the season after a disappointing shut out loss to the title
The Gladiators fell behind early and could get little office going against an aggressive Kent
defence and were kept out of the endzone for the second consecutive game.
The Exiles scored on their first possession with QB James Cooper connecting with former
Gladiator AJ Crabbe on three consecutive passes, good for 63 yards, setting up a short
touchdown run and an early 6-0 lead. The extra point was good to make it 7-0.
The Gladiators’ first possession came to an abrupt halt when QB Jake Wickham was sacked on
third down, losing the ball in the process, giving the Exiles excellent field position just 20 yards
out, but good defence, including a sack by Dan Jones on third down forced a field goal attempt,
but the 44 yard attempt was wide right.
Casey Campbell made a welcome return and ran 15 yards for Colchester’s first first down of the
game but they could not capitalise and had to punt.The visitors doubled their lead after poor tackling enabled their running back to scamper 60
yards for a touchdown and a 14-0 advantage. This was increased further as the first quarter
neared a conclusion with another big play, this time a blown coverage allowing a receiver to get
behind the defence and haul in a 54 yard scoring pass and a 21-0 lead.
The Gladiators advanced deep into Exile territory on their opening drive of the second quarter,
reaching the seven, due mainly to a number of defensive penalties, but another lost fumble was
recovered by Kent and they returned it into the Colchester half, but were unable to convert the
opportunity into more points.
Neither side made much progress for the remainder of the half and the sides went into half time 21 points apart.
The Gladiators opened the second half well after Mark Gilbranch returned the kickoff to the
Consecutive passes from Wickham to first Sam Gennings, then Tommy Clarke took
the ball into the Exiles’ half, but the drive faltered and they had to punt.
Curtis Bourke stopped the Exiles on third down but an interception ensured the Gladiators could
not capitalise and the Exiles took advantage of the turnover, driving 35 yards in just three plays,
finishing the drive with a 31 yard catch and run for their fourth touchdown. The extra point was
blocked but a fortuitous bounce and strong running saw the Exiles advance the ball across the
goal line for a two point conversion and a 29-0 lead.
As the final quarter began, the Gladiators forced a turnover on downs but could not take
advantage and had to punt. A bad snap however forced stand-in punter Gennings to abandon
the kick and run the ball. A valiant effort saw him come up short and the Exiles took over.
It took them just three plays to add another six to their tally and although the kick was wide, they
had the game sewn up, leading 35-0 and cruised to the end of the game.
The Gladiators have just one game remaining on their 2108 schedule, a trip to the old foes
Cambridgeshire Cats on Sunday 12th August. While they are not threatened with relegation, the
Gladiators will be hoping for a win to leave then at an even record on the year.