Sat 15
Wigan St Judes A
First Team
Gladiators well beaten as St Judes storm into Grand Final

Gladiators well beaten as St Judes storm into Grand Final

By Jim Green
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The curtain came down on the 2016 season as a ruthless Wigan St Judes A proved too strong for Chester Gladiators in the NWML play-offs.

Division Three champions Judes produced a clinical performance at Keats Avenue to record a convincing 70-6 victory, although the final scoreline must be considered harsh on the Gladiators.

Chester competed well for large parts of the game but were ruthlessly punished for each mistake as the impressive home side romped into next weekend's Grand Final where they will meet Bold Miners.

Captain Mark Kingsley was named man of the match for the visitors with full-back Mike Walker a close second following an excellent display on a difficult afternoon.

St Judes, who had record 15 wins from 16 games over the regular season, made a strong start and raced into a 12-0 lead with two converted tries inside the opening 10 minutes.

But the Gladiators regrouped and had the better of the next 10 minutes with Kingsley dancing between defenders to score and Joel Gibbs adding the extras.

There were a number of close calls as Chester looked to level proceedings but on each occasion either a lack of execution or scrambling defence denied the visitors.

Wigan increased the advantage to 18-6 with a score against the run of the game and that sapped the visitors' confidence with two further converted tries late on sending the home side into the break with a 30-6 lead.

Chester needed to start the second period well to keep their slim hopes alive but when a spiraling kick wasn't diffused, the hosts were quickest to react and went over next to the posts to open up a 30 point gap.

The Gladiators stemmed the flow for the next 10 minutes going toe-to-toe with the hosts and exchanging bruising sets but once more were punished for a mistake as the home side took advantage of a missed tackle to score again.

That all but ended the game as a contest and St Judes ran riot in the closing stages as Chester tried to give the final scoreline a lop-sided appearance.

Following the match, head coach Adam Turner said: "It was a tough day for our lads and not how we wanted it to end but overall it hasn't been a bad season.

"I'm sure a lot of the squad will be feeling that game and it's time to rest those battered bodies and enjoy a few weeks off before we get back in for pre-season and focus on 2017."

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Match details

Match date

Sat 15, Oct 2016




Division Three

League position

Wigan St Judes A
Chester Gladiators