Cottonmill Crusaders make debut

PUBLISHED: 11:51 12 March 2009 | UPDATED: 14:01 06 May 2010

The Cottonmill Crusaders line up for the first time.

The Cottonmill Crusaders line up for the first time.

Almost 100 boys turned up to play in three rugby league games at U12s, U14s and U16s level at St Albans Centurions Cotlandswick ground. These games were arranged as pre-season friendly fixtures between St Albans and Hemel Hempstead Rugby League clubs p

Almost 100 boys turned up to play in three rugby league games at U12s, U14s and U16s level at St Albans Centurions' Cotlandswick ground.

These games were arranged as pre-season friendly fixtures between St Albans and Hemel Hempstead Rugby League clubs prior to the summer Rugby League season starting next weekend.

The highlight of the day was the appearance of The Cottonmill Crusaders from St Albans. This is another cluster club that RFL development officer Shane Rampling has formed, and they made their debut, beating Hemel Hempstead U12's 24-16.

The boys, in their colourful purple and gold strip really got stuck in and both teams seemed to really enjoy the game. Considering this was the first proper game of Rugby League some of these boys, on both sides, have played, it was good to see they had grasped the basic skills of the game and weren't afraid to pass and run with the ball.

These boys, together with a number of others, will be coming together during the summer to play as St Albans Centurions Juniors at U12s level in the London Rugby League.

What a difference two years make, because when St Albans U14's played Hemel U14's in their friendly, the game was fast, furious and very hard. Neither team took a backwards step, and if ever the old sporting term ' a game of two halves ' applied to anything, it was to this game. The first half was nearly all St Albans, who played the more expansive rugby, passing the ball through many pairs of hands from one side of the pitch to the other. Hemel, on the other hand, seemed as though they just wanted to put in the big hits and keep the ball slowly trundling around the centre of the field.

The half time scoreline of 14-8 seemed to confirm that St Albans were in their comfort zone. But in the second half, St Albans seemed to go to sleep - dropped balls, knock ons and missed tackles piled up, and Hemel stopped the crash tactics and started to play good rugby. Hemel slowly came back into the game, and at one point were leading 14-34. Unfortunately, a late flourish by the St Albans boys wasn't enough and the final score was 34-22 to the visitors.

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