The Colchester Gladiators’ already crippling injury problems reached crisis level with a number of
players picking up injuries likely to keep them out for a number of games including stand-in QB
Curtis Bourke who sustained a dislocated shoulder and could miss the rest of the season. Starting
the game with only 30 players dressed for action, they could ill afford to lose any more.
With starting QB Rob Wickham already sidelined for the year, head coach Luke Box turned again
to receiver Sam Gennings who made a sterling effort but with players going down seemingly on
every drive, the depth of the squad is exhausted.
The last two running backs on the roster, Sam Morton and Thomas Blum also went down with
injuries forcing linebacker Ian Hardy and safety Dave Kerr to take the hand-offs in the fourth
quarter. And with receivers Tom Clarke and Jake Wickham also unavailable, rookies Mike Drury
and Ben Roper had to be thrown in at the deep end.
The Gladiators started well with Dave Walton forcing a fumble on the Hornets’ first play which
was recovered by Lewis Mews, and after a Gladiator punt, Mews got the ball back again when he
picked off the Hornets QB.
The Gladiator offence was struggling to get going and the Hornets took the lead after a nine play,
51 yard drive, despite a Josh Milgate sack of the London QB, and a fumble fortuitously recovered
by the home side. On the very next play after the recovery, their QB found a receiver behind the
Gladiators’ defence with a pinpoint pass for a touchdown. The extra point failed but the
Londoners had opened their account, leading 6-0.
This was soon 12-0 with the help of a penalty against the Gladiators on fourth down, gifting the
Hornets a new set, and the QB threw another touchdown pass.
The second quarter saw no change to the flow of the game, with the Colchester offence
struggling to make an impact. A long punt return set the Hornets up with a first down just 11
yards out and they made no mistake in adding to their lead with a four yard run, and now lead
In a repeat of a previous drive, the Hornets fumbled when Dave Walton stripped the ball from the
QB but recovered the ball, and followed up with another scoring strike, and two point play to
take the score to 26-0. The Gladiators then put together a drive and Morton rumbled for 33 yards
deep into Hornet territory before having the ball stripped from his grasp. It lay on the floor
agonisingly before a Hornet fell on it, claiming possession, and threatened to score again before
Josh Mews picked off a pass, but they went in at the interval, very content with their half’s work.
QB Bourke was unable to take the field for the second half so Gennings set up under centre,
handing the ball to Hardy and Kerr but failed to make much impression on the swarming Hornets.
Both defences were on top throughout a scoreless third period and the Gladiators started to find
their running game early in the fourth and Kerr broke away for a 26 yard gain. Aaron Martin was
unable to hang on to a Gennings throw in the endzone so Nathan Brown came on to try to break
their duck but a low snap couldn’t be fielded so the attempt went begging.
The Hornets had one final drive to try to add to their tally but another fumble, this time forced by
Josh Mews, and was recovered by the Gladiators to end the game.
The Gladiators have just a week to recover before they travel to Kent to take on the Mavericks.