Colchester Gladiators suffer heavy loss at Solent Thrashers
- Credit: Archant
The Colchester Gladiators dropped to 0-2 on the season as a depleted squad travelled to Southampton to take on the tough Solent Thrashers.
With some players having to play both ways, it was a big ask, particularly on the back of a three-and-a-half-hour coach trip. The fresher Thrashers out-lasted the Gladiators, shutting them out in the second half to claim a comfortable win.
The Thrashers were first to score, midway through the first quarter, and the extra point was kicked to give them the lead. However, the Gladiators hit right back when QB Curtis Bourke, regaining some form after a poor first game, found wide receiver Byron Smith open and the sure-handed receiver completed a 32-yard pass play for six points. Nathan Brown slotted the point after to tie the score at 7-7.
Bourke threw his second touchdown pass just minutes later when Andrew Cairns held on to a dart before shrugging of three would-be tacklers, and racing all the way to the end zone for a 70-yard play. Brown’s kick was again good to give the Gladiators the lead at 14-7 as the second quarter began.
The Thrashers were mixing up their offence well and responded with another scoring drive to tie the score at 14-14, but the visitors claimed back the lead when Bourke threw his third touchdown pass, this time a 45-yard completion to Tom Clarke, who sprinted down the sideline for the score. Brown’s extra point was good and the Gladiators led 21-14.
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The shoot-out continued as half-time approached with the Thrashers tying the game again with a long pass from QB Dayle Greenfield to WR Joe Pascoe but the Gladiators hit back with Chris Jackson getting on the end of a Bourke pass and rumbling in to the end zone to give Colchester a 27-21 half-time lead.
The Thrashers came out fighting in the third quarter, taking just five plays to tie the game on a short run. The two-point attempt failed but it was all to play for at 27-27.
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Unfortunately, from then on, it was all Thrashers as the Gladiators could not get their running game going in the absence of Casey Campbell, despite the best efforts of new signing Eddie Collison. Some promising drives came up short on fourth down attempts.
The Thrashers, however, were finding great success with their short passing game and almost abandoned the run, save for some crucial scrambles by their mobile QB.
As the Colchester defence tired, they padded the score in the fourth quarter with three unanswered touchdowns to give the score a lopsided look by the end.
Head Coach Karl Bourke praised his players for the effort they put in, saying: “We knew it was going to be a tough game against a tough opponent and I don’t want to make excuses for the result.
“The players played hard throughout with limited resources but we need to regroup, heal, get some players back and train hard this week before we try to get back to winning ways against the Kent Exiles.”