Sharks too strong for depleted Cents

PUBLISHED: 12:17 14 May 2009 | UPDATED: 14:07 06 May 2010

St Albans Centurions 14 West London Sharks 40 St Albans Centurions were unable to make it three wins out of three games when they came up against the current Conference champions, West London Sharks, at Cotlandswick on Saturday. The Cents team were cove

St Albans Centurions 14 West London Sharks 40

St Albans Centurions were unable to make it three wins out of three games when they came up against the current Conference champions, West London Sharks, at Cotlandswick on Saturday.

The Cents team were covering injured players positions by having several players playing in positions they had never played in before, and this obviously unsettled them, as it was in the first 15 minutes of the game that the home side gave it away.

The West London Sharks came out of the blocks at top speed and did not give the Cents any time to get into their rhythm. It was noticeable that the West London team were fired up for a quick start and the Cents were knocked completely off their pattern of play as the Sharks ran in four unanswered tries and three conversions. It was 22-0 to the Londoners after only 17 minutes of play.

It was now that the Centurions began to settle down and play good rugby. Although the Sharks had the larger pack, the St Albans team were giving as good as they got and after some great play from the centres, the ball came out to forward Joe Vassie, playing his first game of the season for Cents, and he crashed through the visitors' defensive line and touched down beneath the sticks. Adam Kal converted.

Although St Albans lost a lot of possession through silly mistakes, it looked as though a fight back was on the cards when, with five minutes to go to half time, Cents flying South African winger Jacques Steynberg got the ball and raced 50 yards down the wing, breaking several tackles and went in for a try in the corner. The Cents were unable to convert the try and the half time score was 10-22 to the visitors.

The crowd of supporters at the game thought they were on for a fight back scenario in the second half, but that was short lived as it became a case of deja-vu.

The first half was replayed with the Sharks getting three unanswered tries whilst the Cents looked unsettled.

When Cents finally got into their stride it actually became a good, hard and fast game. On several occasions Johnno Elvin, Rudi Van Der Merwe, Shane Rampling and Roy Dube came tantalisingly close to the opposition's try line, only to be held up or lose the ball.

The last Cents try came when centre Elvin got the ball from a great Paul Maloney, Russ Kelleway and Brant Allan ball interchange and raced down the far wing to score. The score was 14 -34, and just to rub salt into the wound, the Sharks ran in one final try just before full time.

Coach Shane Rampling said after the game: "We lost the game in the first 20 and were just playing catch up football after that. With a team as big and as fast as the Sharks are, you can't give them a four try start and expect to pass them. It didn't help that several of the boys were playing in positions they had never played in before, but I'm making no excuses. Our possession wasn't good and you can't make mistakes against a team of West London's quality without being punished."

The Cents travel to Ipswich on Saturday.

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