Cents stormed by South London troops

ST Albans Centurions were again forced to field a makeshift side on Saturday as they travelled to South London without three star players on International duty and either others out through injury

Rugby League Conference

Southern Premier Division

South London Storm 42 St Albans Centurions 10

ST Albans Centurions were again forced to field a makeshift side on Saturday as they travelled to South London without three star players on International duty and eight others out through injury.

The result was a comprehensive defeat but there were genuinely encouraging signs as some of the youngsters catapulted into the first team demonstrated that they are gaining invaluable experience and improving rapidly.

It was a disastrous first half for the Cents, who struggled to gel, as the bigger, more experienced Storm powered to a massive lead. First Madigan scored with a break down the left. Then, just as St Albans were threatening, South London's Gilvary intercepted a wild pass to race in unopposed and touch down under the sticks. Chris True made good yards and Shane Rampling set up Jacques Steynberg with a good kick but the flying South African couldn't take the ball.

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Lewis Padmore, Jonno Elvin and Toby Turk threatened with some good runs but the young Cents were struggling. On 25 minutes Prior picked up a loose ball and raced over the line for the Storm's third try. To make matters worse, Walker and Madigan added two more in quick succession, having been gifted possession by the luckless Cents. With Walker converting every goal, Cents were 30-0 down at half time.

The resilient Centurions performed with much more vigour and conviction after the restart. Steynberg made an excellent break down the left but dropped the ball with no-one threatening.

Tobi Osibodeu, playing his first senior game for the club, was starting to come into his own and as he grew in confidence, made some strong runs from deep. Adam Cox, Dan Hensby and Elvin combined to set up what looked like a certain try but scrappy play at the last let the Cents down and South London raced downfield for Walker to power over for yet another try.

To their credit, the Cents fought back with their best rugby of the afternoon. Chris True and Mike Okwusogu ran strongly to set up good field position and as the ball went left, Elvin passed to Steynberg, who failed to hold the ball with the line at his mercy.

When the Cents did manage to score, it was an excellent try. Young star Padmore, unusually the most experienced player in the pack, surged upfield and Elvin followed suit with a strong run before Okwusogu cut through the defence on the right for the four points. Adam Cox added the goal.

Straight from the kick off Tobi Osibodeu, who was having a great second half, gathered the ball a few metres short of his own line and, brushing off several would-be tacklers, charged upfield before passing to the hard working Angus Simpson, who jinked his way through for a fine try.

It looked like the Centurions were going to stage a remarkable recovery as they continued to mount some promising attacks with Miles Dempsey, Turk and Elvin all going close.

The Londoners Stormed back and had the final say with another try from Walker. Battling Cents had ended the match with a flourish but were beaten down 42-10.

On Saturday, June 28 St Albans Centurions entertain Ipswich Rhinos at the Recreation Ground, Colney Heath. Kick off is at 2.30pm.

Centurions: True, Turk, Hensby, Steynberg, Okwusogu, Cox, Rampling, Padmore, Simpson, Vassie, Elvin, M. Dempsey, Rayner, Osibodeu, Martell, M. Chapman, Weldon.