The Colchester Gladiators travelled to Wembley on Sunday to take on the rejuvenated Stallions.
After defeating the table topping Kent Exiles last week, the Stallions showed how much they
have improved under veteran coach Warren Smart, from the 26-34 defeat to the Gladiators
back in April. The Gladiators meanwhile, have gone in the opposite direction, mainly due to the
unprecedented rash of injuries including starting QB Rob Wickham. The injury jinx hit again with
Adam Dickens and Sam Gennings sustaining possible season ending injuries.
The Gladiators started the game with some confidence after a battling win against the East Kent
Mavericks the week before, but the offence could not get going all day, picking up just five first
downs and 100 yards in total.
An early pass completion from Jake Wickham to Gennings brought up an early first down but
the drive could not be sustained and the Gladiators had to punt.
The Stallions moved the ball into field goal range and after Dave Kerr and Curtis Bourke
combined to thwart a receiver on third down, the home side tried for a field goal but the 26 yard
attempt was wide left.
Colchester’s offence spluttered into the Wembley half but an unfortunate interception turned the
ball over and the Stallions took full advantage as the teams changed ends for the second
quarter, running the ball in for a touchdown from five yards out. The extra point was good to give
them a 7-0 lead.
The Gladiators were forced to punt again but punter Aaron Martin was unable to kick the ball
away after a wide snap, giving Wembley the ball on the Colchester 33. They soon doubled their
lead after an 18 yard run and PAT, to make the score 14-0.
The Stallions were able to score a third touchdown before the end of the period, a spectacular
catch and run for 50 yards and they went in at half time 20-0 to the good.
The Stallions took the ball to open the second half but a forced fumble by Calum Roberts and a
fumble return by Dave Walton gave Colchester some hope but a sack of Wickham forced a
punt. The Stallions could only add a three point field goal to their tally in the third quarter but
with the Gladiators offence grinding to a halt, they never looked like losing their grip on the
Kerr picked of a Stallion pass in the fourth period to halt one drive but the Stallions returned the
favour to keep the final quarter scoreless, leaving the Stallions worthy 23-0 winners.
The Gladiators have a week to prepare for their next game, a home match against old rivals,