Cents fail to weather the Storm

Kieran O'Shea takes the ball up.

Kieran O'Shea takes the ball up. - Credit: Archant

INJURIES and atrocious weather contributed to Centurions extending their steak without a win to eight games.

Joe Shaw attacks the Storm line.

Joe Shaw attacks the Storm line. - Credit: Archant

With three players joining St Albans’ seemingly endless list of injured players, Tony Bottomley’s couldn’t contain Leicester Storm amid a torrential downpour as the visitors ran out 22-10 winners.

Centurions hold up a Leicester attack.

Centurions hold up a Leicester attack. - Credit: Archant

After the game, Bottomley said: “That was not a pretty game of rugby.

“The weather was atrocious and you have to praise both teams for the effort they put in playing in those conditions. Having said that, this was a game I had us down to win, and if the weather had been better I think we would have had a different result.

“We were the better team in the last quarter of that game, in the dry, but this is summer rugby in England so you have to expect the odd tropical storm.”

Saturday’s game started in torrential rain resulting in stop-start rugby as both teams made mistakes with a slippery ball and water logged pitch.

Storm scored first when Cents let them gain ground by giving away two penalties. A kick-through and chase saw the Leicester team quickest over the wet ground to touch down and score a converted try.

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Five minutes later, after a lot of St Albans pressure, player/coach Andy Champ crashed through the Leicester defence to score a try that centre Nick Woolley converted.

From the kick off the Centurions knocked on and from the resultant scrum, the Storm found the Cents defence stacked on the wrong side and the visitors ran the ball in at the corner. The conversion was missed.

Storm’s next try came with controversy as a double knock on was not called by the referee, and as 29 players stopped, the man with the ball touched down to give Leicester a 16-6 half-time lead.

The rain was still falling in torrents as the second half started and both teams continued to lose the wet ball in the crunching tackles.

Leicester scored their last try of the game when the Centurions gave away a penalty for holding down and a quick play the ball from the visitors caught them short in the defensive line.

The rain stopped on the 50th minute and the sun came out, and the last thirty minutes of the game saw the Cents start to play an open, passing game. Time and time again they were held up just in front of the Leicester try line until on 72 minutes a short ball from Champ released Joe Shaw.

Cents dominated the last 10 minutes but, try as they might, they could not get the ball over the try line.

The Centurions have a free weekend next week, but their ‘A’ team will be playing at home at Toulmin Drive against Southend Spartans in the London Merit League. Kick off at 2.30pm.