For the Gladiators the 2016/17 season was a low point, relegation to HMMT 4 at the halfway point in the season and then losing all matches in that league too.
So upon being appointed Captain at the start of the 2017/2018 season the coaching staff, Vice Captain Steve Maishman and I set out some simple goals to get the Gladiators back on track:
1. For the Gladiators team to be the first step into senior rugby for Colts players
2. for experienced rugby players to join and play a mentoring role
3. together play a competitive and high speed style of rugby.
4. To build a courageous and winning Gladiators squad who enjoy the taste of victories and post-match beer together
Pre season started well with our squad training twice a week with Trevor Hickey and Ash Walsh which built team spirit and helped with recruitment. Also we built a strong relationship with Ash, Conor and Simon from the Colts management and coaching staff, as well as the 2nd XV management.
At the halfway point of this season I’ve been really pleased with the lads’ effort and am delighted with the work in pre-season, training and on match day. And the outcome is that the squad, camaraderie, performance and results are moving in the right direction.
Some key stats on our journey so far:
x 4 current Colts earned first Senior caps this season
x 12 ex-Colts in the current squad
x 8 New Senior players joined OAs
x 2 Senior players returned to OAs
x 5 ex-Colts at Uni who return to play
x 187 beers drunk in the changing rooms together!
We have won six league matches from eight and are on a run of three wins in a row against Chess Valley 1st, Hackney 3rd and Old Grammarians 1st XV.
This is a winning run that has put us top of the league at the halfway point going into Christmas.
In terms of performances our ruthless defence has proved a great platform for our fast back, giving us the second highest points difference in the league, second best defensive record and an average of over 4 tries per game.
But we still have work to do, we owe Verulamians and St Albans 2nd teams a damn good beating at Woollams, and expect a big reaction away to Hackney 3rd XV after we put 50 unanswered points past them at home.
So we’re in a good place at half time, and I know the lads have the ability in them and will want to push on and deliver even better performances and results in the second half of the season.
Read how it happened in Rob Fenton’s exciting Match Report below ……………