Much-improved performance ends in undeserved defeat for St Albans Centurions
PUBLISHED: 15:37 16 May 2018 | UPDATED: 15:39 16 May 2018
Two freak tries prevented St Albans Centurions from picking up the victory their much-improved performance probably deserved.
The 22-18 loss at Toulmin Drive saw Cents in fine form as they bounced back from being comprehensively out-played and out-fought at North Herts seven days earlier.
The match was played in treacherous conditions, with rain streaming down, but St Albans dominated possession and territory from the first whistle.
They were inspired by Scott Cluelow’s powerful man-of-the-match performance and Nick Woolley’s clever use of the ball from both hand and foot.
And Jake Lawrence’s converted 11th-minute try was the least the Centurions deserved.
It took an inspirational run from Bedford’s right winger to bring the Tigers level and incredibly he repeated the feat from the restart to make it 12-6.
But before the break, more quick-thinking and fancy footwork from Woolley saw him score his first try of the season and convert it from short range to leave the sides tied at 12-12.
As conditions worsened in the second-half territory was at a premium and the Centurions were clearly on top, only for lightning to strike twice.
First, a hopeful punt upfield was mis-controlled by Darren Westhead allowing Tigers’ pacey wing to cross for his hat-trick.
And then another knock-on, this time from skipper Joe Baker, fell straight into his path once more who hoofed it forward and won the foot race to the line.
Wave after wave of Centurions pressure followed with no reward thanks to stout defence or crucial errors being made just short of the line.
But with two minutes to go, the ever-improving Lawrence added his second converted try but Bedford were able to field the last up-and-under to clinch the win.
Baker was thrilled at the performance if not the result.
He said: “The lads responded brilliantly today against one of the better teams in the League. There’s a real momentum building which I’m confident will soon deliver the victories the squad deserves.
“I can’t believe we didn’t win today but I’m delighted with the effort that every member of the squad is putting in.”
The Centurions host Brentwood Eels at Toulmin Drive on Saturday with a 2.30pm start.