Cents suffer biggest ever loss

St Albans Centurions

St Albans Centurions - Credit: Archant

CENTURIONS coach Tony Bottomley had nothing but praise for his side despite being on the end of the club’s biggest defeat to date on Saturday.

Sheffield Hallam Eagles – a joint venture made up of professional Championship club Sheffield Eagles and Sheffield Hallam University – ran riot at the Don Valley Stadium, putting 80 points on the board against an injury-stricken Cents team.

After the game Bottomley said he was proud to be a Centurion.

“After that performance and I cannot praise the boys enough,” he said.

“Their attitude was great and they held their own against a side fielding four Sheffield Eagles first teamers, four Sheffield Eagles U23 players and four student internationals.

“Our players can be proud to wear the Cents shirt.

“Their attitude was our old way of playing and they all stood up to be counted against a very good semi professional side. If we had gone with our first choice seventeen man squad I feel we would have given the Eagles a very different game, but this is the difference at this level of a purely amateur side like ours playing against a semi-pro outfit.”

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Cents travelled to the league’s top club with only 14-men, including coach Andy Champ and several A Team players, due to injuries and work commitments. The situation was made worse 20 minutes into the game when full-back Gareth Waters was taken off, reducing the Cents to 13-men for the rest of the game.

The game started with the home team scoring twice, but Cents answered with a Martin Day try which was converted by Gareth Waters. On the 20 minute mark Cents scored again when Champ picked up a dropped ball and raced to the line. Waters converted but it was his last involvement in the game.

Slowly the extra fitness, extra men and speed of the Yorkshire team began to tell and a visibly tiring Centurions team, with no substitutes available, could not stop them running in several more tries to finish the half 60-12 ahead.

Eagles came out fast in the second half, wearing down the Centurions and allowing their forwards to break the defensive line and score.

With 20 minutes to go, with the score at 80-12, Cents found a footing in the game. Spearheaded by strong tackling and long runs, Cents frustrated the Eagles, who began to give away needless penalties.

And after being held up on the try-line several times, Cents scored the last try of the game. A quick kick through 10 metres out saw Nick Woolley offload to Champ for his second touch down. Woolley converted.

The Cents are at home on Saturday June 15 when they play Leicester Storm at their Toulmin Drive ground. Kick-off 2.30pm.