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Gleadowe looking to make things right by helping 'Stoke to promotion
HAVING been a member of the Basingstoke team that suffered relegation from National Three London two years ago, free-scoring centre Freddie Gleadowe is looking to make amends by helping the club to get promoted this season.
’Stoke’s victory over rivals Chichester earlier this month left the Down Grange club in a great position to challenge for second place.
Should they manage to claim runners-up berth, then win a play-off against the side that does the same in London One North, Basingstoke will be promoted back to the division in which Gleadowe made his debut.
“For me personally, I feel I have a chance to put a few things right,” he said. “I played in some of the games that meant we were relegated two years ago and would really like to correct that.
“Promotion is very much on the cards. We are just behind Chichester now and, if they slip up, we can move ahead.
“The win over Chichester was the most significant victory I have played in at Basingstoke. We had lost three tough games to them before and it got us up there right in the hunt for promotion.
“There’s an element of belief that we can come second and get promotion now. That was the first time we have beaten a team above us in the league and I just think that everyone now believes we have got the talent to see the job through.”
Gleadowe has played a big part in Basingstoke’s success this season, with his powerful running from midfield creating chances not only for himself but also the club’s excellent back three.
“I feel comfortable in the side now,” he explained. “I might only be 21 but I’ve played three years and that experience has made a big difference.
“I feel more confident and hopefully that is being reflected in my performances. I think I’ve already got more tries than I got in the whole of last season, which is always a good sign.”
Gleadowe’s partnership with fellow centre David Byett is also one of the success stories of the season.
“I really enjoy playing with David,” Gleadowe added. “Playing with someone who has his power and presence makes life at 13 so much easier. It’s just a case of picking his lines and supporting his breaks.
“Defensively he is really solid, which means I can just go about my business without having to worry about covering for anyone.”
Gleadowe is a busy man, fitting his rugby career alongside training to be a doctor at university in Southampton – but he hopes to continue turning out for ’Stoke as much as possible.
“It’s getting harder to fit rugby in and I have had to miss a couple of training sessions,” he said. “We knew that might happen though and I think we’re managing it pretty well.
“I am already in hospitals and it’s been okay so far. The hours do not rule out playing rugby and I hope to continue playing next season. It’s a good way to step out of the university bubble.”
Gleadowe’s excellent performances over the course of 2012 have led to him being one of the contenders to win the Gazette Sports Personality of the Year award, something he is clearly very proud of.
“I’m honoured, really touched to be nominated,” he said. “It’s great to be recognised by the town because it’s a place I have come to really enjoy. I really appreciate it.”
’Stoke director of rugby James Croker added: “Freddie has been fantastic. He has scored a lot of tries and the statistics speak for themselves. He regularly wins man of the match awards and I cannot speak highly enough of him.”
To register your support for Gleadowe, or any of the other Gazette Sports Personality of the Year contenders, log on to basingstokegazette.co.uk/sport or send a tweet to @JBoymanGazette, using #GSPOTY.