Centurions edged out in clash with Buffaloes

ST ALBANS Centurions came within one minute and one yard of an unexpected victory away at semi-pro side Bramley Buffaloes.

In the last minute, and trailing by only four points, St Albans stalwart Russ Kelloway was tackled a yard short of the try line by a Bramley defender on Saturday.

This was the end play of a very exciting game as the Cents once again played in their, by now usual, style of playing a passable first half and an outstanding second half.

Things could not have started better for the visitors as player/coach Shane Rampling jinked over for a try on the two minute mark, which was converted by full back Gareth Waters.

Bramley have a new player/coach this season, in the shape of ex-profesional player Craig Lingard, and this player made all the difference to the Bramley attack, scoring three tries, two of them converted, in the first period.

Bramley ended the half with another try, making the score 20-6 to the Buffaloes.

The second period started badly for Cents with a Bramley converted try after only one minute.

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But after that, St Albans started to fight back as they have done in so many recent matches.

Fifty minutes in, substitute Sam Norris ran in Cents first try, followed five minutes later by winger Nick Woolly crossing for the second, which was converted by Waters.

Next it was time for Cents’ other winger, Rudi Van Der Merwe, to get on the score board when he intercepted a long Bramley pass and raced in for another converted try.

Both team had opportunities in the last 10 minutes to wrap up the game, but both sets of defences held on.

In the final minute St Albans gathered in a loose pass and winger Russell Kelloway sprinted away to an open try line when Bramley coach, Lingard, who came from the opposite side of the field, tackled the winger into touch one yard short of the try line.

St Albans team manager Tony Bottomley said: “The upside is I am pleased with the attitude and grit shown by the players, the downside is we lost our inspirational captain Andy Lake and stand off Ben Moore to injuries during this game.

“If they had stayed on, I believe they would have made a difference to the final score. But thats rugby league, it is a hard and fast sport, especially at this level.”

Centurions have the coming weekend off, with no game to play, and resume their league campaign on Sunday, June 3 at Hemel Hempstead, where they take on local rivals the Hemel Stags, who are entering the semi-pro Rugby League Championship next season.