Perfect and winning start for Centurions as tricky Eels are trapped without scoring

PUBLISHED: 07:19 08 May 2019

St Albans Centurions' Kristian Naylor on his way to score the first try. Picture: DARRYL BROWN

St Albans Centurions' Kristian Naylor on his way to score the first try. Picture: DARRYL BROWN

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St Albans Centurions enjoyed a good start to the season with an 18-0 shut-out of Brentwood Eels in the East Rugby League.

Man of the match Sam Bucknall takes the ball up for St Albans Centurions. Picture: DARRYL BROWNMan of the match Sam Bucknall takes the ball up for St Albans Centurions. Picture: DARRYL BROWN

It was a deserved success for the Toulmin Drive-based club who had given three debuts as well as welcoming back 2017 captain Sam Bucknall from a year living and playing rugby in New Zealand.

Brentwood gave no indication of what was to come with a strong opening 20 minutes to the contest, camping themselves inside the Cents' half.

The fact that they were kept scoreless was down to some strong and resolute defence from the St Albans side that simply repulsed and stifled every Eels attack.

And slowly the tide began to change in the Centurions' favour with the first interchanges bringing three fresh forwards on.

Joe Shaw, with Andy Spencer in support, hands off a Brentwood Eels defender. Picture: DARRYL BROWNJoe Shaw, with Andy Spencer in support, hands off a Brentwood Eels defender. Picture: DARRYL BROWN

And it was through the forwards that St Albans got the first score.

Prop Kristian Naylor broke through three tackles and with a head of steam ran 30 metres to touch down for a try.

Alex Powdrell added the conversion and the first-half finished 6-0 in the hosts' favour.

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After the break the home side kept up their domination with Peter Strain and Josh Lawrence quickly adding further tries.

Strain picked up a dropped ball in his own half and with pace to burn, he scooted around the Brentwood defenders and across the line in the corner.

Ever the handful, Lawrence's try saw him take the ball from 15 metres out, break two tackles and drag two defenders over the line to score.

Both conversions were missed but with some niggly incidents coming from the frazzled Brentwood players, incidents which led to sin-bins, St Albans were able to add a fourth try.

It came in the closing moments of the game with Cents' other prop forward, Tom Spratt, crashing through several tackles of a tiring defence to score.

He took the conversion himself but watched as it came back off the post.

Team manager Tony Bottomley said: "It was a good run out as a first game of the seasons goes against a very fast and fit opposition.

"Our defence, especially in the first half, was the key to our victory. If we can maintain this form we can be hopeful of winning some silverware this season."

Centurions are back at home for a game with Bedford Tigers on Saturday, kick-off at 2.30pm.

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