The All Golds are on the verge of history. This weekend, they travel to Hemel Hempstead in a bid to round off a season that has seen them win every match, by bringing home the prestigious Harry Jepson Trophy. The kick off is 2pm at Pennine Way HP2 5UD.
Their opponents in the final are the North Herts Crusaders who, despite losing their semi final to Hammersmith Hills Hoists, have been given a place in the showpiece event.
Hammersmith Hills Hoists contacted the Rugby Football League to ask for a postponement due to unavailabilities as a consequence of a wedding.The governing body was not prepared to move the date of the game. Therefore Hammersmith said it was not prepared to fulfil the fixture.
The All Golds’ journey to the final also had its rocky moments as they trailed Telford Raiders 16-0 after a quarter of their game at St Peter’s Sports Ground before running in 46 unanswered points in their 64-20 triumph.
The Final brings together the champions of the East and of the West of England neither of whom have reached this stage of the competition before. Both squads have a host of talented young players and the game promises to be an exciting one with plenty of open rugby on show.
Prior to their semi final meeting with Hammersmith, the Crusaders had yet to taste defeat in the league and had conceded fewer than 100 points in their eight league matches.
The All Golds however, have scored freely, crossing their opponents’ whitewash an incredible 131 times in their dozen matches so far this season and will be looking to challenge the Crusaders’ defensive solidity.
The Hitchin-based Crusaders were formed in 2012 and enjoyed instant success, winning the East league title in each of their first two seasons, however not until this summer were they able to lift the trophy again.
By contrast, the All Golds are a new team formed at the start of this season by a merger of the Gloucestershire Warriors and principally members of the All Golds’ Conference League South side.
The playing squad only got together for the first time in mid-April just four and a half weeks before their first game against Cheltenham Phoenix and their achievements since have to be marvelled at.
All Golds’ Head coach Marcus Brown explains: “It’s our first season together and we had no idea what would happen however the players have bought into the philosophy we’ve tried to develop, they’ve worked hard and taken on board the information that [assistant coaches] Kirk [Lewis], Jay [Woodley] and myself have given them.
“They’ve bought into the culture of respect to their team-mates, to their opponents and have done the little things like bringing in kit and tidying up. It’s helped them gel as a group.”
Brown is looking forward to the challenge of the Harry Jepson Trophy. “Thanks to North Herts for coming back in and taking the opportunity. And respect to them for taking on the challenge,” he says.
“We’re sure it’s going to be a challenge as they will have something about them as they won their league.”
Making history is something the All Golds have on their minds. “After we won the West of England the opportunity to become champions of England has really spurred the boys on”, says Brown. “It’s a chance to win a cup they’ve never won before.
“We are looking forward to it. My role is to keep the boys calm and their feet on the ground.
“If they stay focused, then we can enjoy the rewards from a great season at the end of the game.”