- England Deaf benefit from Mike Ford session
- Essex Bishops trounced in international warm-up
Wing Adam Faulkner ran in a record six tries as England Deaf began their preparations for the forthcoming international programme with a crushing 101-5 win over Essex Bishops at Braintree RFC.
Faulker, formerly of Shropshire club Newport and currently at Wharfedale, scored the first double hat-trick in the history of England Deaf rugby.
The match was the culmination of a training weekend supported by the generous sponsorship of Elms Stansted BMW dealership.
The England Deaf squad were hosted at the dealership’s Bishop’s Stortford showroom on Saturday morning, whe they managed to establish that the new Mini Clubman will hold 14 rugby players.
The squad soon settled to the more serious business of match preparation and returned to Braintree RFC for a training session with Mike Ford, defence coach of the England Elite squad.
The session set England Deaf up well for the game against Essex Bishops, an experienced team comprising players from nearly 20 clubs across the county.
England Deaf got off to a flying start when, in the first minute, Faulkner received the ball on the left of the field deep within his 22. He set of at high speed and carved his way through the Bishops to score under the post.
The wing demonstrated further pace and agilty to score his second try on 22 minutes. It was the opening of the floodgates as England Deaf started spreading the ball wide to maximise their speed advantage.
Guy Lavery's try (Cheeky Ladies London) was followed by two more for Faulkner on 35 and 37 minutes, with three conversions from Mark Lewis (Brighton) giving the England Deaf team a 31-5 lead at half-time.
After the break, England Deaf retained control and, while the Bishops continued to play festival rugby, further tries were added at regular intervals throughout the second half.
Rhys Stickings (Thanet Wanderers), Lewis (2), a hat-trick from 17-year-old debutant Barney Reed, two from Ceri Thomas (Brighton) and a couple more for Faulkner completed the scoring.