Welcome to the very first instalment of the Touchdown News player diary, where I’ll be chronicling the highs and lows of the Colchester Gladiators in 2008.


Now, as many of you will know, the Gladiators are looking to bounce back from a poor 2007, where we finished without winning a single game in Division 1 of the British American Football League. Following the season, the Club parted ways with head coach Karl Bourke, and set out to find someone to lead us into the next stage of the Club’s development. Anyone who has been around Britball for any number of years may be familiar with the history surrounding the Gladiators, and what a prominent and successful Club it has been. The new generation of Gladiators are seeking to restore the glory days back to Colchester, and this season we expect to be competing hard in Division 2.


So, who are we? Well through the season many of the guys will be mentioned in this column, so it might be worth introducing some of the key members now…


Author - Tom BurridgeI’m Tom Burridge, #67, Centre. I’ve been with the team since it’s reformation 4 years ago, and I like to think I’m the lynchpin on the offensive line (but many in the team would disagree!).

Dave Hogarth - Club Chairman, Running Back, and 10th string QB…Dave Hogarth is our veteran chairman, he wears 28 and has been spotted at linebacker, full back and tailback over past seasons. Dave was with the Club through the glory days in the 80s, and is working exceptionally hard to promote the Club and get us back to the top. He’s toyed with retirement more times than I care to mention, but we have no doubt we’ll see him in kit this season.

Duncan Flack - Septic Running BackDuncan Flack is our token American*, and despite having lived in the UK for at least 10 years still has a deep Texas twang to his voice. He’s a running back, and he wears 44.

 On top of these guys, we have a strong contingent of younger players, led by graduates of the Essex Blades in the collegiate league.

Tommy Clarke - He’s quick, and plays both waysTommy Clarke is a fleet footed receiver or cornerback (depending on how he feels when he gets out of bed!) and a vital part of our special teams. He wears 21.

Adam Burrows - Lineman and ladies manAdam Burrows is an up and coming young lineman, again out of the Essex Blades finishing school. “Rugby” as he’s fondly known is a real charmer with the ladies, and promises me that his best is yet to come. Whether that’s on or off the field is anyone’s guess!

Mark Gilbranch - Jack of all trades…Mark Gilbranch is another of the new breed of Gladiators. A teacher by trade Mark still hasn’t found his true calling on the football field and has (in the past two seasons) played full back, tail back, tight end, wide receiver, middle linebacker and outside linebacker. Rumour has it that his 88 shirt will be seen under centre any day now…


We’re a close knit bunch, and can regularly be seen out and about around Colchester, either in full kit handing out fliers for the Club, or in various pubs and clubs around the town. Our social side is very important to us, and rest assured, any stories that arise are liable to be published here!


So, next stop for us is our awards night at the start of November, before we get stuck into the pre-season training and rookie days. Between now and then we’re still on the hunt for a head coach, and there’s plenty of promotional work to be done, not least for the “Great British Tailgate Party” at Wembley at the end of the month. So, watch this space for all the news and developments from the Colchester Gladiators over the coming months!

*Duncan’s asked me to point out that he’s not a token American, but in fact was born and lived in the UK until he was 20, then moved to the US for 13 years, but has since been back in the UK for almost 2 years. So, he’s given away his age (old git), and shown that he’s not an American ringer – looks like linebackers won’t be too scared of him next season…


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