Colchester Gladiators American Football team lose to London Olympians but acquit themselves well

Gladiators' No.79 Dave Crane and No.67 Tom Burridge take on the Olympians in the trenches. Photo: JO

Gladiators' No.79 Dave Crane and No.67 Tom Burridge take on the Olympians in the trenches. Photo: JOHN SINGER - Credit: Archant

Colchester Gladiators 20 London Olympians 34

Colchester Gladiators kicked off their 2017 season with a tough game against perennial Premier League team the London Olympians.

Their inexperienced and injury-hit squad acquitted themselves well, and can take many positives away from the game despite a 34-20 defeat.

London opened the scoring on the first play of the second quarter with a sixteen yard run, and the two point conversion was good to give them an 8-0 lead.

The Gladiators’ offence was struggling to make a dent in the physical wall of the London defence and the Olympians increased their lead.

Wickham then proceeded to lead the Gladiators downfield with their best drive of the half with completions to brother Jake Wickham and some good runs from Cairns and Eddie Collison.

But the drive came to nothing when Wickham’s pass was intercepted in the end zone for a touchback. The Olympians then ran out the clock and went in at half time with their 14 point lead intact.

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Olympians took advantage of more injuries to the Gladiators’ defence and extended their lead to 20-0 with a 35 yard run, but the Gladiators hit back immediately with Wickham finding tight end Aaron Martin for a 31 yard pick up, before running it in from 11 yards out completing a five play, 59 yard drive. The two point attempt failed but the Gladiators were on the board, now trailing 6-20.

Colchester scored again just minutes later when a bad snap on a punt play sailed over the kicker’s head, allowing the Gladiators to take over just five yards out. Campbell made no mistake two plays later, making the score 12-20.

But all the good work was undone when their own bad snap on a punt enabled the Olympians to take over on the Colchester 20. QB Griffiths made short work of it, connecting with his receiver on the first play for six points, then handed the ball to his running back who went over for two more giving them a 28-12 edge.

This became 34-20 as London finished with another spectacular touchdown to seal a deserved victory.

The Gladiators have a week off before returning to action as they travel to Cambridge to take on the Cambridgeshire Cats on Sunday, April 23.

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