Centurions lose to Leicester Storm

Sam Norris and Wayne Crawford make a tackle.

Sam Norris and Wayne Crawford make a tackle. - Credit: Archant

A MUCH-improved Centurions side are on the cusp of getting back to winning ways, according to the manager after their second successive defeat.

Andy Lake chases the ball.

Andy Lake chases the ball. - Credit: Archant

Centurions were outgunned by Sheffield Hallam Eagles last week in a 62-0 thrashing and on Saturday they were unable to convert their considerable dominance into points against Leicester Storm, losing 22-12.

After the game team manager Tony Bottomley said: “This was a far more impressive performance by the Cents [compared to] last week. We dominated that game but could not get over the whitewash.

“Leicester played very well in defence. If the team can cut out the mistakes, and there was quite a few, we will be soon back to winning ways.”

This was the first time the teams had met and first blood went to the home side. With only two minutes on the clock Cents surrendered possession with a knock on, and from the resulting scrum Leicester put three phases together before Blake Turner went over in the corner.

The score galvanized Centurions and for the next 15 minutes they controlled play, but couldn’t cross the line.

From a penalty for a high tackle the forwards once again drove downfield and this time second row forward David Coyle, on his return after two years away, found a hole in the Storm defence and danced over. Full back Gareth Waters converted.

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Repeated knock-ons kept Centurions from adding to the score and they went in 10-6 behind when Storms’ Simon Anniss dived over for a try.

In a repeat of the first half, Storm exploited a gap in the Cents defence to score early, Lewis Moult getting his name on the score sheet.

Again Cents fought back and dominated the game but again knock-ons in the third and fourth tackle relieved any pressure they had built up. Even when Cents did cross the line, the referee judged they had been held up.

Storm made the game safe when, against the run of play, Kevin Wroe broke through the line of defence and raced from the halfway line to score under the post which was converted.

Even at 22-6 down Centurions were the stronger team but Leicester’s well-organised defence refused to buckle. It took Kieron O’Shea’s blazing speed to get the final score of the game after good build up play from the forwards.

• The Cents now have a week off before they play top of the table Bristol at their new stadium at Toulmin Drive, St Albans. The development squad play North Herts Crusaders at Letchworth on Friday, May 3. Kick-off 7pm.