Gladiators ready for play-off battle

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SUDBURY Gladiators face Bury Titans at Hemel Hempstead’s Hemel Stags ground on Saturday (1.30pm) in a crucial play-off final with coach Andy Hunter declaring his boys are desperate for promotion, writes Russell Claydon.

Following last week’s 28-24 win at St Ives in the semis, Sudbury face a derby encounter with the winner going forward to play the Midlands League winner before reaching the national finals.

The gold at the end of the rainbow for the Gladiators is a move up into the Conference National, something Hunter has said they are hellbent on capturing in their debut season.

“The guys are focused and really want this,” he said. “We have been messed around so much in this league and we want to play at a better level and prove a point.”

Gladiators finished the season second, but level on points with leaders Bedford Tigers. But they initially had first place pulled away when they were deducted one point, awarded for a draw with Bury in a match Bury were not prepared to play midweek before the play-offs, after a complaint was registered.

It followed the Gladiators going on strike ahead of the original fixture away at Bury, having won the game at Sudbury (34-24), following an incident the match at Northampton Demons A.

Sudbury played St Ives, in a game of nines after they were unable to field 13, winning 80-12 before last week’s 28-24 play-off win with 12-a-side.