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19 Oct 2020

Gladiators 2019/20 Review

The OA Gladiators are proud and happy to have achieved a second consecutive League Championship having backed-up last year’s league 3 win, to win league 2 in the first attempt, and achieve promotion to the top Hertfordshire Merit Table 1. A third consecutive promotion for the team.

The season has been the latest high-water mark in the Gladiator’s progression, rising from the depths of League 4 in 2015/16 to earning a spot in the top Merit Table league.

But there is much more to the team’s achievements and growth than just the performance.
Our team objectives since 2016 have been to provide a first step for Colts to gain senior rugby experience, a team that students can return to play with OAs after Uni, and in 2019/20 season we set the target of scoring more than x4 tries a game, and conceding less than x3 tries a game – goals that were smashed that you can read below!

Playing achievements
• Herts Middlesex Merit Table 2 Champions
• League Cup Semi-Final – competition being cancelled before the game was played
• 112 league tries scored, average of +6 per match against a target of 4+ tries per game
• Only 25 league tries conceded, average <2 per match against a target of <3 tries per game • Unbeaten at fortress Woolams since 2018 Squad achievements over 70% of the squad were OAs juniors x8 U18s Colts played their first senior rugby game with the Gladiators this season x8 players returned to OAs this season from Uni and other clubs 25 yrs average age (includes Maish, Harry Knighton, Eddie Panting & I in the average!) x3 Returning Students played during their holidays Overall over 50 players enjoyed playing for the Gladiators this season Social goals • 1st first court session hosted by Judge Totty • 1st Zoom Lockdown pub quiz • Helped raise £500 for Youth Talk at annual New Year’s game • Participated in OAs 1st Calorie Challenge Player awards • Coach’s Player of the Season – Matt Swift • Player’s Player of the Season – Tommy Daley Outside of the league and in preparation for next season the Gladiators have been testing themselves against strong 2XV teams in the region, and proved themselves worthy adversaries against Merit Table 1 Champions Harpenden 2XV, Middlesex Merit Premier's Old Haberdashers 2XV and also narrowly losing 29-25 to Essex Merit Table Division 1 team Shelford Nomads on the last playable match of the year on 21st March 2020. Thank you to all the Gladiators players, coaches Eddie Panting and Phil Brunt, and a special mention to Felix Turk and his brother Toby Turk from last season, whose competitive ethos and commitment the lads have taken on throughout this season setting the tone and standards that made the achievements possible, and raised us collectively to a level unachievable without them. St Albans School old boys in the squad: - Felix Turk (holds a number of school rugby records I hear) - Toby Turk - Arjan Baines - Gyan Rhodes - Euan McGonagle

Rob Fenton,

Gladiators Captain

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