Centurions defeated by Coventry Bears

ST ALBANS Centurions fell to a 28-12 away defeat to a big and powerful Coventry Bears side on Saturday.

The first attack was from the Cents, South African winger Rudi Van Der Merwe jinked around two players, offloaded to Nick Woolley who ran clear and was tackled short of the line.

On the 20 minute mark, Cents forward Scott Clellow made a 50 metre run through the Bears defence, and was stopped on the opposition 30.

Player/coach Shane Rampling took the ball up and slipped a pass to Joe Shaw who crossed the try line only for the referee to say it was a forward pass.

It was all Cents again when Shane Rampling sold a dummy pass, burst through the defensive line and fed new signing Kieran O’Shea who ran 40 metres and was tackled on the line.

A number of scoring chances went begging for Cents and it seemed it wasn’t going to be their day when against the run of play Coventry’s one decent attack ran in a converted try.

Things went from bad to worse as O’Shea was sin-binned for 10 minutes for holding down in the tackle, and then hooker Ryan Kambouris was taken off with an injured ankle after his tackle stopped a certain try. A Coventry player was also sin-binned for a high tackle.

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With two minutes left in the half, Coventry ran in their second converted try to lead 12-0 at the break.

It appeared a half-time streaker may have changed the visitors’ luck, from kick-off, a great move by Gareth Waters and Joe Shaw saw George Stevens cross the line to score a try that was converted by Lewis Dempsey.

From the kick-off, big hits from Roy Dube forced a knock on, and Scott Clellow tackled an opponent so hard he needed medical attention.

Having to re-jig the team due to injury, and the amount of effort in dominating Coventry’s huge forwards, the Cents began to tire.

Half way through the second period Coventry ran in their third and fourth converted tries.

With the score at 24-6 Cents upped their game, and with strong build-up by forwards Roy Dube and captain Andy Lake, full-back Gareth Waters ran in another Centurions try which was converted by Dempsey. Controversy followed, after the best play of the game when Mike Hollister’s try was disallowed.

This seemed to knock the wind out of the Centurions’ sails, and a few minutes later Coventry scored an unconverted try.

With two minutes left, Van Der Merwe was yellow carded for complaining to the referee, which was changed to a red card as he said something in Africaan as he walked away.

After the game, Cents team manager Dave Parsons, said: “What a game. Coventry are a very big powerful side. They hope to be moving up to the semi pro Championship next season, so to come here and, although we lost, to be the better team for long periods in this match was a great achievement.

“It’s getting to be a habit this season that we always seem to be saying ‘if only’. We crossed their try line four times for what appeared to be four perfectly good tries, but the referee only awarded two of them, and he’s the boss out there, his word is law. It’s very frustrating for the team, but that’s rugby for you. You have to accept it and get on with the game.”

On Saturday Cents are at home to rivals and table-topping Hemel Hempstead Stags.

The game, which kicks off at 3pm, will round off the Centurions Day of Rugby League which sees all the Cents teams playing at home, from the U6 minis up to the seniors.