A top of the table clash saw AEI leapfrog the league leaders with a comfortable away win and was a fitting send-off for Joe Bott who faces a potentially season ending operation on a troublesome wrist injury.
The team knew that the outcome of this fixture could define the relative success of AEI’s return to league rugby this season and was reflected in the impressive turnout. Indeed it seemed fairly incongruous that last week saw AEI finish with 14 on the field and yet this week AEI had 8 replacements available.
However, understanding the importance of this game, the AEI squad played with a will and determination to ensure that their unbeaten status in the league remained intact. AEI made the more incisive start and were quickly ahead through Chris Hadley’s score after sterling work in the scrum and quick hands down the line. With Joe Bott having increased AEI’s lead, Broadstreet finally managed to penetrate the AEI backline when a crossfield kick bounced kindly into their grateful winger’s hands.
Broadstreet were unable to convert and their generally poor kicking throughout the match allowed AEI to maintain good field position with some raking kicks of their own into Broadstreet’s 22. In fact one such kick and aggressive chasing from Clint Nykamp and Chris Hadley forced Broadstreet into a handling error and Hadley was able to touch down again.
Broadstreet were not willing to relinquish their 100% record easily and demonstrated their desire by going the length of the field to register their second score; but for a forward pass earlier in the first half and a glaring drop in the second, Broadstreet could have made the game a lot closer. The first half ended with AEI leading 26–10 after a slick passing move allowed Joe Bott to loop round to add a second.
Having made a raft of changes at half-time a new look AEI set about maintaining their lead and continued to make the league leaders play from deep within their own half. Having been forced back on the pitch after an injury sustained by Clint Nykamp, Joe Bott again proved the difference between the sides. His scything pace drew a penalty which gave John Stretton the opportunity to increase his tally for the season and then Joe Bott completed his hat-trick with the last play of the game.