Gladiators — Hackney 3rdXV

Gladiators give no Quarter

A sense of occasion and respect was created on Armistice Day on the 1st team pitch against Hackney 3rd XV. The Gladiators went about their work seriously and gave no quarter to Hackney in set pieces, the loose or out wide, dominating the game to win 50-0.

The Gladiators were in dominant mood coming into this fixture off the back of a 71-19 win against Biggleswade 2nd XV who’re one league above OAs. With most of the squad retained for this fixture, plus the inclusion of Ally Ruffett, Russ Attwood and Ade Summers in the front row the Gladiators knew they would have a strong pack as a platform for the powerful backs.

From the off Hackney looked nervous with their kick off bouncing out within the ten metres. The ref chose a line out as the decision. This first line out was won by the Gladiators and would set the pattern for the match with Harry Knighton and Jonny Clavey winning 90% of all line outs with excellent lifting from Ally and Russ and pin point throwing from Ade. OAs we won more line outs in this game than all other pre-season and league matches put together!

The ball was quickly distributed to flyhalf Toby to pop to inside centre Chad Williams to use his fends to tie-up both Hackney’s centres, make twenty metres and create an overlap for outside centre Andy Doyle, winger Saope Soko and full back Jimmy McCormick. Unfortunately the three of them conspired to juggle the ball rather than protecting it, eventually knocking the ball on.

OAs continued to dominate set pieces, and were camped in Hackney’s half for ten minutes, but despite numerous breaks from the centres the final pass proved elusive with a comedy of juggled knock-on or forward passes.

Eventually OAs got it together on twelve minutes with Chad breaking again through the opposition centres taking it into the twenty two, to create the score for Soape out wide. 5-0.

From the kick off Hackney made OAs happy by kicking the ball deep and into the grateful arms of Steve Maishman. The No.8 crashed forward, breaking tackles and taking the ball up to halfway to set-up a blitz attack for the backs. The centre partnership of Chad and Andy again breaking the first and second line of defence to create the simplest scores for Saope. 10-0.

OAs dominance continued in all areas, with good running from Jimmy and new winger Illies Fortune. And with the line out dominance Toby controlled the match with the boot knowing that a clearance would result in OAs scores.

OAs next score would come from OAs rush defence from a ruck, with scrum half Rob Fenton putting pressure on Hackney’s scrum half and then fly half, the ball dropping to the deck for Rob to flyhack the ball from the 10 metre to just in front of the tryline. Harry Knighton proved he’s still as fit as a butcher’s dog, running 40 metres to create a turn over penalty. Quick thinking from Lyle allowed a quick tap, and pop to Ade to score. Converted for 17-0 lead. OAs then put on another score before the half to go in 24-0 up. Probably Saope again to earn his Jug of Beer!

At half time the Churchillian Steve Maishman reminded everyone that Hackney would come back strong, and that we must hit them stronger and win this game to nil. Instructions delivered, performance followed.

The second half continued in that vain. Replacements Lloyd and Conner added the additional aggression requested by Maish. Dominant line outs, dominant scrums, the match totally controlled by Toby Daley at ten with Chad flying through and offloading for everyone else to score!

Chad’s attacks created tries for Jimmy McCormick and two for Niall Keane before eventually realising that his captain isn’t recording assists, and held the ball on one of his attacks to score his first try for OAs and conclude the stunning performance. Man of the match performance from Chad.

Towards the end of the game OAs pack scored what they thought was an excellent 30 metre driving maul, only for it to be declared held-up on the try line by an invisible hand. Unlucky Ade! The review panel are considering donating Chad’s try to Ade in the interests of fair play 🙂

OAs Gladiators 50 v Hackney 3XV 0.

As the Hackney captain magnanimously put it at the final whistle: “Thanks for the game. Nothing like a good old fashioned dicking. See you at our place.”

Couldn’t have put it better!

Rob Fenton
Gladiators Captain

1 Ade Summers. 2 Russell Attwood 3 Ally Ruffett. 4 Jonny Clavey. 5 Tom Spratt. 6 Harry Knighton. 7 Lyle Stewart. 8 Steve Maishman. 9 Rob Fenton (c). 10 Toby Daley. 11 Saope Soko. 12 Chad Williams. 13 Andy Doyle. 14 Ilies Fortune. 15 Jimmy McCormick.

16. Lloyd McConkey (40 mins; Lyle Stewart) 17. Niall Kean (40mins; Saope Soko) 18. Connor Mitch (40 mins; Tom Spratt)

Tries: Saope Soko x3, Ade Summers x1, Niall Keane x2, Jimmy McCormick x1, Chad Williams x1 (Awaiting review panel decision).
Conversions: Tob Daley x5


Woollams Pavilion
Old Albanian Sports Club, 160 Harpenden Rd, St Albans AL3 6BB, UK

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