Gareth Walker, the Championship correspondent of League Express, pays tribute to one of the improving southern sides currently operating in Kingstone Press League 1
Of all the results outside Super League last weekend, the most head-turning came in Gloucester.
The University of Gloucestershire All Golds, to give the club its full grand title, recorded a superb 46-22 win over a Keighley Cougars side expected to challenge for promotion this season.
The All Golds had already shown plenty of potential in the opening weeks of the season, and by their own admission were disappointed to lose the previous week 10-6 at Hunslet.
Coach Lee Greenwood – whose star is definitely on the rise – ranked Sunday’s triumph as the best of his tenure.
“It’s probably the biggest and best win we’ve had since I got here,” Greenwood said after the game.
“We spoke a lot about the differences in the squad this year – and that game could have gone the other way last year.
“But there’s a different mentality around this time and we’re looking very strong.
“If the game had carried on I think we’d have just scored more and more.
“It shows that the things that we’ve been doing in preseason have worked.
“It was a really big effort.
“We were disappointed last week (against Hunslet) – yes it was a good effort, but we’re not here for pats on the back, we want to win games.”
The is much to admire about the club – former by league expansionist Lionel Hurst and the only one in the professional game owned by a university.
That ownership status gives the club several benefits, with an ability to attract players looking to further their own education, as well as tapping into a development pathway at the university.
It also allows them to produce excellent media output through journalism students – the match against Keighley was stream live online, and afterwards you could watch both highlights and in-depth interviews with key figures.
It is on the field where their impact will be most measured by many outsiders – and Greenwood looks to have a team capable of ruffling more than a few feathers in 2017 with the help of some outstanding facilities.
“We’re going in every single week to win and we’ll be disappointed if we don’t,” the All Golds coach added.
“We’re not just going in to run teams close and be competitive.
“As I always do I’ll put a game plan in place this week (to face Doncaster) and I’ll be confident going in.
“The difference now is that the players are going in with that belief – they can see that what we’re doing is working.
“It’s a really good start to the season. Last week was a blip and we could and should have won, but we’ve learned from it and really kicked on against Keighley.”
Gareth Walker’s Championship Focus column appears every Monday in League Express