Solent Glads Preview

Gladiators season to kick off - Posted on April 25th, 2015

The 2015 season of the British American Football Association National League continues

on Sunday as the local Colchester Gladiators make their début and travel to Southampton

to take on the Solent Thrashers.


After a disappointing and tough season in the Premier League, the top tier of American

Football in this country when they finished with a 1-6 record, another restructure sees a

return to a three tier system. The Gladiators have been placed in the very competitive

looking Southern Football Conference 1, featuring some mouth watering matches against

some familiar foes such as Cambridgeshire Cats, East Kent Mavericks and Hertfordshire

(formerly Watford) Cheetahs.


Two weeks ago the Gladiators had their first taste of competitive action when they travelled

the short distance up the A12 to participate in a controlled scrimmage against the Ipswich

Cardinals. The format of a controlled scrimmage allows each team to run a number of

scripted plays in prearranged game situations. Head Coach Neil O’Hare was delighted with

the work out that also allowed a number of rookies and junior graduates to make their

competitive début in the blue and gold.


Many familiar names return such as QB Curtis Bourke, now recovered from an ankle injury

that forced him to miss half of last season. Star running back Casey Campbell is still a few

months removed from returning after a serious knee injury during the National Division final

in 2013 and is not expected to see the field this year. In his absence, Chris Jackson will

shoulder the load of the running game as he did admirably last season against the

country’s top defences.


Tom Burridge, Dave Crane, Paul Brunsden, Phil Moreton and Paul Bovingdon return to

anchor the offensive line with Matt Richardson moving across the trenches to add depth,

and Bourke will have an array of targets to aim for with Andy Clarke and Vic Williams

returning, and junior product Sam Huxtable, and former London Blitz receiver Joe Parsons

providing new targets.


On the defensive side, Garry Shuttleworth and James Birch also return from injury and

Christian Steward returns after a few seasons away. Rookie Nik Phillips and Josh Crelly

transferring from the Saints join veteran Dave Walton on the defensive line while rookie

cornerback James Peters follows in his father Rob’s footsteps, who played for the

Gladiators back in 1991-92 after the merger of the team with then local rivals, Chelmsford

Linebackers Ian Digby, Josh Milgate, Mark Gilbranch and Brendan Bignell return to provide

a veteran presence in the front seven as do Alex Robinson, Sam Gennings, Joe Stickings

and Raul Barclay to the defensive secondary, with Barclay playing his final season with the

team after completing his Ph.D. at Essex University.


Full fixture list:

April 26: @ Solent Thrashers

May 10: @ Farnham Knights

May 17: v Ouse Valley Eagles

May 31: @ Birmingham Bulls

June 7: @ Hertfordshire Cheetahs

June 21: v Cambridgeshire Cats

July 5: v Solent Thrashers

July 19: @ East Kent Mavericks

July 26: v East Kent Mavericks

Aug 2: v Farnham Knights


All home games will be played at Colchester Rugby Club, Mill Road, Colchester

Full details can be found through the Gladiators’ website at

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Home Ground

American Football :

Corporal Budd Gymnasium Rugby Pitches, Berechurch Rd, Colchester, CO2 9RQ

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