Farnham Knights

Knights confirmed Division Champions!

Colchester Gladiators 14-41 Farnham Knights

There were several key issues going into this game:-
A Knights win confirmed them as Division Champions and number one seed in the play offs – a Gladiator win would see them take both accolades from the Knights.

The Knights were without their starting Quarterback Oli De Ruyter who got married the day before the game (Congratulations Sam and Oli!) and were also missing other key personnel for example Wide Receiver Michael Bradley-Banszki – how would that affect the league leaders?

Gareth Davies needed just 3 yards to break the 1000yd milestone for the season – how long would it take him to achieve it?

A great performance from the Knights on both Offense and Defense answered all  of those questions positively as they stormed to the league title with a convincing away win.

Colchester received the opening kick off a deep high kick from John “Legatron” Symons which allowed Simon Burnell time to get downfield to disrupt the Gladiators return plans.

The home side drove the ball confidently with strong running from #44 Casey Campbell but a long drive led to frustration as the Knights Defense led by Ash-Lee James and Jonathan Vince shut them down at the Knights 20yd line.

#48 Richard Balderson fights a double team block

#48 Richard Balderson fights a double team block

The Knights took over and Nick Roope ran for 8yds on the first play – he got the ball again on the second play but this time launched a pass to the wide open Stealey-J Wills who took it the rest of the distance for a 72yd go ahead score. John Symons added the extra point kick and the Knights led 0-7.

The Knights Defense made short work of the next Gladiator drive and then Gareth Davies needing 3yds to complete his 1,000yd season took the ball 35yds on his first carry to the Gladiator 20yd line. Salim Ben-Romdhane moved it closer and the Paul Wakeford completed the drive with a 5yd scoring run – Knights led 0-14 after John Symons kick.

The Gladiators returned the kick off to the halfway line and were driving as the 1st quarter ended 0-14. As the 2nd quarter started the home team struck with a long pass from former GB Lions Junior Quarterback Curtis Bourke to #85 Joe Parsons. The extra point kick was good 7-14.

With Gareth Davies burning up the yards with the running game and Stealey-J Wills and Stephen Godfrey making the most of short passes from QB Ally Reid the Knights were soon back in scoring range and this time it was Salim Ben-Romdhane who sprinted into the endzone from 1yd out. Symons again added the extra point and the Knights lead was back to two scores at 7- 21.

Gareth Davies #8 on his way to 1000yds

Gareth Davies #8 on his way to 1000yds

The Gladiators were aware than the game was on the line and again came back strongly with both the run and the pass – Richard Baldersons sack put them in deep trouble but Quarterback Bourke had other thoughts as he fired a long pass down the sideline – a great finger tip catch was reeled in by his receiver and the Gladiators closed the gap again at 14-21.

Nick Roope returned the kick off back to the halfway line and the Knights were driving again. Salim Ben-Romdhane carried the rushing load as the Knights moved into range to stretch their lead again – it was Nick Roope this time in Running Back mode who took the ball into the endzone from 2yds out behind tremendous blocking from his team-mates. The Knights 2 point conversion failed and the Knights led 14-27.

There was still time for the Gladiators to strike back and they made every effort to do so. The Knights Defense however had started to get on top of the battle and although the home team threatened to score through the air great work from Ash-Lee James, Matt Marriott, Joe Criddle and others saw them come up short – the half-time score stood at 14-27.

In the home fixture against Colchester the Knights had been shut out in the 3rd quarter with the Gladiators scoring three times to bring the game to a narrow one score victory. The Knights knew that they could not afford a repeat of that performance.

The Farnham Offense had the ball first in the second half and they made a clear statement of the teams intent. Gareth Davies got things going on the ground and then QB Reid found Nick Roope – this time in his Wide Receiver mode – for a 23yd catch and run touchdown. Roope then ran in the 2point conversion and the Knights led 14-35.

The Gladiators stuck to the task and fought hard on their next drive – aided by penalties from the Knights they moved into the visitors half – but great defensive work from the visitors turned the ball over at the Knights 26yd line.

One play from Gareth Davies and the Knights blockers was all it took to effectively finish the game as the Knights speedster raced  74yds untouched to score and complete his 210yd day. The extra point kick missed wide left and the score stood at 14-41.

The remainder of the game saw plenty of offense but with both defenses coming out on top. Jack Truelove recorded two interceptions and Thomas “Pie Boy” Roberts and Raymond George added to the seasons sack total.

As the game came to a close the Knights were able to use the full extent of their squad on both sides of the ball and then celebrated the Divisional Championship.

Knights Head Coach Steve Rains said ” This is a tremendous result and full credit to our players and my coaching staff for their hard work throughout what we always knew would be a testing regular season.

We now have the Division Championship and the #1 seed for the play offs and we start a new season with the Semi-Final at home to Ouse Valley on the 23rd of August at 2-30pm at Farnham Rugby Club.

The Eagles will be looking to avenge our win at their home ground earlier in the season but now its sudden death – we hope to see a good crowd for what should be an excellent game. I would also like to thank our supporters and sponsors for making this all possible – the crowd we took to Colchester was a great boost to the team”

The Knights organisation are on a high with the Senior and Youth teams already in the play offs and the Junior team needing a win in South London this weekend to make it a complete programme in the post season.

Also in the news the Knights female offensive lineman Laura Hill played a full part in Team GB’s Women’s European Championship win over Germany in Spain – these are good times for the Knights.


Passing: Ash – Lee James 4S 4A
J Vince 3S 3A
A Evers 3S 2A
D Hatcher 5A
T Roberts 3S 2A + 1 sack
J Truelove 3S 1A + 2Int
M Marriott 2S 2A
C James 2S 2A
L Bridcutt 1S 2A
R George 2S 1A + 1 sack
D Kerr 2S 1A
R Balderson 2A + 1 sack
S Price 1S 1A
J Criddle 2S
A Gillard 1S 1A
C Goodall 1S
S Laws 1A
A Reid 6 of 9 for 68yds 1TD
N Roope 1 of 1 for 72yds 1TD
S Wills 3 for 101yds 1TD
S Godfrey 3 for 16yds
N Roope 1 for 23yds 1TD
G Davies 11 for 210yds  1TD
S Ben-Romdhane 15 for 67yds 1TD
N Roope 8 for 66yds 1TD
K Helps 4 for 30yds
P Wakeford 4 for 11yds 1TD
M Tims 2 for 5yds
A Reid 1 for -3yds
S Godfrey 1 for -14yds
N Roope 2 for 82yds
Rushing 46 for  372yds  4TD
Passing 7 of 10 for  140yds 2TD
TOTAL 56 for  512yds  6TD


Picture Credits this week to Alison Berrisford



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