61 — 28
Back on form against BarnetAfter feeling robbed of points in the last league encounter, The Gladiators ruthlessly returned to winning ways with a nine try victory over Barnet Elizabethans 2nd XV. Winning 61-28.
The match started in usual fashion with The Gladiators electing to receive the kick off in this home match. From the off The Gladiators took play into Barnet’s half, where it would remain for most of the first half.
Play was governed by Captain Steve Maishman at 8, stand-in scrum half Charlie ‘Chris’ Kirkman and Euan McGonagle stepping up from his usual 12 position to play stand off for the first time in five years. This week’s training session with Ash Walsh helped, and Euan rolled back the years looking comfortable from the off, forming a strong partnership with new centre Chad Williams, whose direct running lines broke Barnet defence several times, and was unlucky not to open his Gladiators try account on three occasions.
After OAs 12 broke through the defence, the power of OAs back row at the breakdown and in loose running led to the Barnet’s recovery defence being splintered with Euan McGonagle breaking through, driving two defenders over the line to score near the posts. 7-0.
Shortly afterwards Dave Cole made a strong run through the centre to score again, Euan converting for 14-0.
From the restart OAs continued to bludgeon Barnet’s pack. OAs continued to alternate between crashing centre runs from Chad and Andy, and pops from stand-off to back row runners to break gain lines. Play was taken into Barnet’s half when Harry Knighton broke through and drew the Barnet full back to offload to with the peerless Maishman to crash through and score.
The pressure continued again from the restart, after Chad again was stopped just short of the Barnet tryline, OAs went round the corner twice before Barnet had to break the offside line to prevent a sure try, conceding a penalty 5 metres out. Quick thinking from scrummy Charlie tapped and went over to score. Euan converted for a 28-0 lead.
More OAs pressure again from the restart resulted in a number of pick and goes from within their twenty two, Harry Knighton picking the final one to join Maish in the over forties try-scoring club for the day. 35-0.
Barnet recovered a converted try and at thirty minutes the score was 35-7, after which time the ref forgot he was no longer refereeing U13 rugby and called time at 30 mins! Whilst many tired legs were happy to go in for a 5 minute rest, the ref was reminded this was not age group rugby and play continued to the full forty! It however, wasn’t a great 10 minutes of rugby for the home side with the Gladiators losing inside centre Chad and lock Connor to head injuries that would keep them both out for the rest of the game. 35-7 halftime.
After the restart OAs scored again with the quick feet of Jimmy McCormick taking OAs into the oppo 22, with Tom Spratt bulldozing over Barnet’s try line to then oddly offload instead of score one-handed to Calvin Cenz to catch simple pass to score without even have to cross the white wash with the ball himself! Euan to scuffed his easiest kick of the day in what was otherwise an excellent outing at 10. After this score and a 42-7 lead the Gladiators thought the game was up, Barnet had other ideas.
Barnet came back strong from the restart with their number 8 breaking several tackles time and again. For the next fifteen minutes it was an onslaught from Barnet, who scored three unanswered tries in quick succession all converted to put the score at 42-28. There was the risk that OAs were going to be mugged of a victory in broad Woolham’s daylight. Luckily the good cop Ash Walsh was on hand to join Steve Maishman under the sticks for a verbal warning of a team talk to get OAs fired up again.
OAs took the fight back to Barnet, Jonny Clavey, Alex Powdrell and Tom Spratt making numerous strong carries. Eventually captain and man of the match Maishman careered down the right side of the field, handing off two Barnet defence with one arm, whilst keeping the ball available in his other hand, he flipped the ball out to winger Fernando who ran in from the 22 to score.
After coming back on from the sin bin (an unjust tip tackle decision) Calvin Cenz scored another try before the finish, receiving the ball after another immense carry from Maish over the halfway, for Calvin to step the full back run to create a great score.
The last OAs try, was the best of the match, with Jimmy McCormick running back a kick from his own 22 over the halfway line, from which backs and forwards combined with fast offloading play from Calvin, Jonny and Gyan breaking Barnet down, the ball was released back to the wing where Jimmy finished off his own move shipping the ball inside to Tito for a simple finish and rewarding team try.
Final score 61-28, and the first league win of what we hope to be many secured.
PS. Did I say Maish had a good game? 😉
1. Alan Kirk 2. Dave Cole 3. Gyan Rhodes 4. Jonny Clavey, 5. Connor Mitchell 6. Harry Knighton. 7. Alex Powdrell. 8. Steve Maishman (Capt.) 9. Chris Kirkman, 10. Euan McGonagle 11. Tatenda ‘Tito’ Fernando 12. Chad Williams 13. Andy Doyle, 14. Tanyaradzwa Fernando 15. Jimmy McCormick
Calvin Cenz, Russell Atwood, Tom Spratt, Prince Ndhlovu, Tawanda
Big thanks to Tawanda, Russell Atwood, and Dave Cole for putting in shifts for the oppo to keep the fixture alive.
Thanks to Calvin Cenz’s parents for providing this video
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