A much more cohesive performance than last week from AEI resulted in a win albeit in unfamiliar surroundings at Old Saltleians’ ground due to match congestion at the home of Spartans.
The match was a rerun of the fixture earlier in the season with AEI able to break the Spartans defensive line almost at will (man of the match Erwann Mauxion giving everyone a reminder of his glory days with some bullocking runs from full back) and good support making best use of these opportunities. The kick off from AEI resulted in a try after only 45 seconds when pressure from temporary flanker John Stretton caused the Spartans fly-half to spill the ball and allow Chris Hadley to open the scoring.
A period of intense pressure by Spartans meant that AEI were forced to spend a good 15 minutes camped inside their own 22 but the AEI’s defence was equal to the task and Spartans came away empty handed. Indeed for the entire first half AEI’s aggression in defence was matched only by their ability to convert red zone chances when Jamie Barlow, Dan Curtis and then Tim Udall (in an homage to Charlie Hodgson) all touched down to give AEI a comfortable 26-0 lead at half-time.
Unfortunately this comfortable lead meant that AEI relaxed too much in the second half – some poor decision making and execution provided Spartans a measure of reward for their endeavours. However with AEI dominant in the scrum and forcing Spartans to go uncontested, Chris Hadley made full use of his switch to flanker to register his first hat-trick in AEI colours..