Centurions thumped by Outlaws

Andy Lake chases the ball.

Andy Lake chases the ball. - Credit: Archant

DEFENCE will be the focus of Centurions’ preparations for top of the table Sheffield Hallam Eagles after a thumping at Nottingham.

Cents shipped 30 points in the first half and another 20 in the second, and time after time if was defensive mistakes and frailties that cost the team.

After the game team manager Tony Bottomley said it was a “frustrating” situation.

“Things will have to change for the trip to Sheffield next Saturday otherwise we could be on the receiving end of another thumping.

“We will be concentrating on defensive work this week at training, this is a must. We have to get the defence solid again and we need to stop one out rugby and start attacking in pairs and back each other up.

“Some of the teams at this level are semi-pro, so we knew this season would be a hard one, but we are making it even harder for ourselves by our lack of defensive awareness.”

The lack of awareness showed up early against Outlaws – a team Cents beat earlier in the year – when the hosts were on the board within two minutes.

Most Read

For the next twenty minutes St Albans did nothing but defend against attack after attack. However, such was the pressure from the big Midlands side that they ran in another three converted tries.

Soon after, Centurions’ young prop forward Josh Lawrence was yellow carded for 10 minutes for holding down in the tackle, and whilst he was off the field the home team ran in another try.

With five minutes left in the half, one of St Albans few attacks paid off when the forwards crashed the ball down field, and on the fifth tackle, instead of kicking, Cents passed the ball smoothly and quickly down the line for loose forward Andy Lake to charge over into the corner for an unconverted try. Nottingham were leading 30-4at half time.

The second half started just as badly for the Cents as the first half had. Within two minutes of the start the Outlaws were on the scoreboard again after some woeful Cents tackling.

Slowly the Cents began to claw their way back into the game. Two good strong drives saw the St Albans team gain a lot of yards, and the ball came out to Cents second rower Martin Day who charged through the Outlaws defensive line and ran forty yards before being tackled. A very quick play the ball by Day saw prop forward Mike Hollister scoop it up and dive over to score an unconverted try.

The Cents continued to pressurise the Nottingham line, and when they were awarded a penalty for holding down, the ball found its way to captain Rob Holbrook who jinked to send the Outlaws defence the wrong way and scored under the posts to give full back Gareth Waters an easy conversion.

As the game neared the end Nottingham began to throw the ball about with the confidence of a team who knew they were going to win and managed to score three more tries in the last 10 minutes.