Solent vs Glads

Gladiators Start With Heavy Defeat - Posted on April 29th, 2015

 

The Colchester Gladiators kicked off their 2015 season with a long trip to Southampton to

take on the Solent Thrashers, and travelled home after a heavy defeat that was littered with

mistakes and missed tackles. Head Coach Neil O’Hare and his coaches will have much

work to do to turn the performance level around before the next fixture, a trip to Aldershot to

take on former European champions, the Farnham Knights.

The game started promisingly for the visitors when, on Solent’s first possession, linebacker

Mark Gilbranch stepped in front of a receiver, and intercepted the ball, returning it to the

Thrashers’ 32.

 

Curtis Bourke

 

 

However, this was short lived and Colchester QB Curtis Bourke returned the favour, the

pick being returned all the way to the Gladiators’ 32., and it took the Thrashers just three

plays to open the scoring when their QB brushed off a couple of tackles and strolled in for

six points. The extra point was good and the Thrashers had an early 7-0 lead.

The lead was doubled after the Gladiators were forced to punt when the Thrashers drove

74 yards in 11 plays, finished by a 29 yard run from the elusive Josh Amis, and again the

PAT was good. Frustratingly, a penalty against the Gladiators during the drive had negated

a Raul Barclay interception, but this was symptomatic of the Gladiators’ play on the day.

Things went from bad to worse on the resulting kick off. A short kick wasn’t fielded by the

Gladiators and the Thrashers were quickest to react and pounce on the loose, live ball,

reclaiming possession. Ian Digby briefly thwarted the Solent offence with his team’s

second interception of the day but one play later, Bourke also threw his second so the

Thrashers were set up just 26 yards out.

 

Vic Williams

 

Three plays later, Amis again was too elusive and ran in from 11 yards out. The extra point

made the first quarter score 21-0.

 

The Gladiators’ offence started to find some rhythm after a good kick-off return by Chris

Jackson and a 20 yard completion from Bourke to Vic Williams took the ball deep into the

Solent half. A fourth down play failed however and the first quarter ended with the

Thrashers in possession.

 

Sam Gennings

 

 

After good play by James Birch and Christian Steward, the Gladiators got the ball back but

another disaster occurred when they were forced to punt. A bad snap could not be fielded

by punter Sam Huxtable and it was all he could do to secure possession but the Thrashers

were able to take over just 20 yards out.

 

A further score was narrowly averted when a fumble by the fullback was scooped up by

Sam Gennings on the one yard line and returned to the 20 but again the Gladiators failed to

take advantage of the turnover by handing the ball straight back. On the very next play,

Andy Clarke fumbled a pitch and the Thrashers were again knocking on the door.

One play later, Solent converted the turnover into points with a passing touchdown from the

QB to Amis, to extend the lead to 28-0.

 

Garry Shuttleworth

 

 

The Gladiators could not move the ball on their next possession but Solent marched down

field with ease, converting on two third and longs, capped by another passing touchdown to

make the half time score 35-0.

 

The Gladiators finally managed to open their account on their second possession of the

third quarter when Bourke found Huxtable from 11 yards out but Nathan Brown’s extra point

attempt was blocked to leave the score 35-6.

 

Chris Jackson

 

Sky Bultitude, making his first appearance in Gladiators colours for over a year due to

injury, picked off the Solent QB to give his team hope of respectability but again the ball

was handed straight back through Bourke’s fourth interception of the game.

Gladiators’ nemesis Amis scored his fourth of the day with a spectacular 74 yard run

around the outside of the Colchester defence to restore their five score lead and the fourth

quarter began with youngster Huxtable taking over at QB from Bourke.

The junior graduate looked impressively comfortable at the helm and immediately ran 19

yards for a first down connected with Clarke down field for 17 yards and a first down. But

the drive stalled on the Solent 23 when a fourth down play was stopped short and the

Thrashers took over, looking to run down the clock.

 

Sam Huxtable

 

Neither team made much impression offensively through the final period and Gennings

snagged the Gladiators fourth pick of the day as the quarter drew to a close on a very

disappointing performance by the Gladiators.

 

They now have two weeks to prepare for another long trip, to get the season back on track.

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 www.colchestergladiators.com.

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