Cents weather the Storm in style
Centurions maintain second place
Rugby League Conference - Southern Premiership
St Albans Centurions 46 South London Storm 10
ST ALBANS Centurions cemented their second place in the league with a comfortable win over South London Storm on Saturday.
The game could not have started better for Cents, when straight from the kick off, the ball was knocked forward by an opponent, and from the resultant scrum, the ball went through several pairs of quick hands to Cents’ Scottish International Ewan Drummond who scored out wide. The game settled down with both teams feeling the other side out, and when Storm hooker Peter Cook crashed over the St Albans line for an unconverted try, it looked like the Centurions were in for a good game. After a further 10 minutes of play, South London knocked the ball forward in a crunching tackle, and Centurions got the ball back on their own 20 metre line. Cents played some great rugby and moved the ball down field 60 metres. On the fifth play the ball Cents’ 20-stone prop forward Dylan Rampling got the ball 20 metres out and crashed through four tacklers and to score with two South London defenders around his neck. The try was converted by David Kramer.
With 10 minutes left in the first half, Cents 6’2” prop forward Daniel Blinkhorn made a great run from inside his own half and broke the Storm’s defence, being tackled on the visitors’ 30-metre line. Two quick play the balls caught the South London side all at sea and Cents full-back Kramer joined the attack to jink his way over the try line. Kramer then converted his own try, giving St Albans a 16-4 lead at half time.
The second half started off just as well as the first half had for St Albans, when a 10 minutes blitz on the South London side saw Cents score three quick tries.
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First Kramer scored when he chased down, picked up and scored off a ball that stand off George Stevens had kicked through on just the second play of the ball, and three minutes later the same ploy, a kick through early in the tackle count, enabled Oli Fountain to collect the loose ball and scoot over for a try which was converted. Centre Nick Woolley rounded off the try spree when taking the ball 30 metres out, he burst through two tackles and sprinted in for a great solo try. Although leading 30-4, Cents seemed to ease off the pressure a little, and the South London team took advantage of this when their centre Aaron Brown broke through a missed tackle and scored a converted try for the visitors.
St Albans have a big squad of forwards this season, and you could see that the constant rotation of the big players was having a tiring effect on the South London team. Fountain found a crack in their tiring defence with a typical solo try from distance. With 15 minutes left, Centurions scrum-half Mike Wade capitalized on a Storm dropped ball when he kicked it through football style, chased it over the try line and dropped on it to score. Kramer converted.
In the dying minutes of the game, Fountain once again attacked the opposition with a trademark jinking 30-metre run and off load to centre Matt Stringer. Stringer, who had been tormenting the visitors all game, and had been unlucky not to score on several occasions, took the ball over the try line and scored. Kramer converted the kick to give Cents a 46-10 victory.
Player/coach Shane Rampling was full of praise for his team, saying: “I really am pleased by today’s display. I can’t actually pick out anyone for special praise as the whole squad did very well.
“The forwards were played in rotation, and when this is done right, the opposition just keep getting hammered by big, fit guys continuously coming at them and putting the big hits on them. The half backs and backs were also very good, they have speed and guile, and those boys just didn’t take a backwards step. The last time we played the Souths, we won but only by one try, so today’s result makes me very happy.”
Cents: Kramer, Fountain, Stringer, Woolley, Waters, Stevens, Wade, Dube, S Rampling, Bell, Hollister, Drummond, Westhead, Blinkhorn, Day, Lake, Kellaway, D Rampling, Webber, Clewlow.