St Albans Centurions double up against Hemel Stags

PUBLISHED: 10:33 21 July 2016 | UPDATED: 10:34 21 July 2016

Hemel Stags try to stop Joe Shaw from getting the ball down

Hemel Stags try to stop Joe Shaw from getting the ball down

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St Albans Centurions did the double over near-neighbours Hemel Stags with a 28-16 win at Pennine Way.

Jake McLoughlin takes a pass from Alex Ricci before racing over the line to score for St AlbansJake McLoughlin takes a pass from Alex Ricci before racing over the line to score for St Albans

The Cents put together arguably their finest performance of the season, running in five tries with Alex Ricci kicking a further eight points.

Ricci was also one of the try-scorers along with Mike Hollister, Joe Shaw, Jake McLoughlin and Sam Allen as St Albans moved second in the East Rugby League.

Sam Norris made his return after being injured in the first game of the season, and Sam Bucknall also returned after several weeks off with a leg injury.

However, they were missing three others out with injury.

Alex Ricci delivers a hand-off on his way to scoreAlex Ricci delivers a hand-off on his way to score

This didn’t seem to affect them though as within four minutes of kick-off, Sam Allen’s chip and chase caused confusion in the Stags defence allowing Hollister to crash through the defence from 15 metres out.

Hemel were clearly unsettled and shipped a second try on 10 minutes when Ricci side-stepped his way to the line.

The next 20 minutes featured free-flowing rugby as both teams attacked and defended in all parts of the field.

And it was Cents who scored next, Ricci drawing three tacklers for Shaw to score.

Joe Shaw charges towards the Hemel lineJoe Shaw charges towards the Hemel line

But the game was certainly not over and two converted tries in the last five minutes of the half narrowed the gap to 14-12.

The second half continued at as great a speed and McLoughlin restored Cents two-score cushion.

The final 20 minutes saw both teams trade scores, Allen chasing down a Tim Rangihuna kick, and Ricci slotted home a penalty at the death to finish off the scoring.

Cents team manager Tony Bottomley said: “A team comprising of players of all different levels just clicked and produced a great display of rugby.

Mike Hollister scores St Albans first tryMike Hollister scores St Albans first try

“I’d like to mention Alex Curtis, a 17 year old playing his first ever game of rugby league for us. He was outstanding, making at least two tackles that probably stopped Hemel from scoring.

“Also Ross Saunders, again playing his first game for us and finishing as the top tackler.

“But praise must also go to the regular first teamers, they really stepped up to the mark today.

“They were awesome, and that’s not a word I usually use.

“They played their hearts out and did not take a step backwards against a very good opposition.”

Cents are on their travels next week as well when they head to Essex on Saturday to take on Brentwood Eels.

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