Kent Exiles shut out depleted Colchester Gladiators

Sam Gennings was forced to play at quarterback due to injuries for the Colchester Gladiators. Pictur

Sam Gennings was forced to play at quarterback due to injuries for the Colchester Gladiators. Picture: JOHN SINGER - Credit: Archant

SFC 1 East Kent Exiles 24 Colchester Gladiators 0 The Colchester Gladiators’ recent improved form escaped them under trying conditions on a hot summer’s day in Kent, when their depleted squad, numbering just 25, took on the tough Kent Exiles’ 56 kitted players.

Without key players such as Casey Campbell and Jake Wickham, the heat and poor squad depth combined to increase the size of the task ahead of them.

The game started well for the Gladiators when they forced the Exiles to fumble on their first two possessions, the second giving them the ball on he Kent 46.

A 29-yard catch from Sam Gennings took the ball to the 12 but an untimely interception ensured the Gladiators drew a blank from their first foray into Kent territory.

The first quarter ended scoreless, but the Exiles took the lead on a 28-yard interception return.

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More bad news was to come for Colchester as they lost quarterback Rob Wickham to injury, forcing Gennings to try and play the position for a spell.

Despite that, they made it to the half only trailing by seven.

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After the break it was all Exiles, scoring two more touchdowns and a field goal, and shutting out the under-strength Gladiators en route to a 24-0 win.

The Colchester side drop to 2-6 with two games against the London Hornets to play. Win both, and the Gladiators should see Division One football again next year.

Head coach Luke Box was proud of the way his beleaguered troops fought their way from the first whistle to the last in trying circumstances, and said: “It was a tough, physical game and we lost a couple of players early to injury which made it hard for our already depleted squad. The guys remaining played hard, some on both sides of the ball and out of their usual positions.

“Late in the game we took a few chances to get back into the game which didn’t pay off and led to two further scores from Kent making it seem worse than it was. But we still have to keep working hard and find a way to win the tough ones.”

The Gladiators will be training this Sunday, preparing for two crucial back to back games against the London Hornets, the first one of which will be on Sunday July 23, kick off 2.30pm.

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