St Albans Centurions still hopeful of a home play-off tie despite Brentwood defeat
PUBLISHED: 12:00 26 July 2016
St Albans Centurions remain confident of securing a home tie in the East Rugby League play-offs – despite a lacklustre defeat by Brentwood Eels.
The result keeps Cents in second place in the league and requiring just two points from their remaining two fixtures to bring play-off rugby to Toulmin Drive.
However, this 34-12 defeat will not have helped the nerves.
St Albans’ preparations were again affected by changes in personnel and problems on the M25 and a late arrival at Doddinghurst Road made their task even more onerous.
Yey amazingly Centurions actually made the better start and were ahead in 11 minutes through Mike Hollister.
They increased that lead to 8-0 midway through the first half when Joe Baker smashed through the Eels defensive line, setting But the Cents were the authors of their own demise as they gave away the next two tries.
Firstly, a wayward pass was picked off for an intercept score and straight from the restart, a wicked bounce wrong footed the chasers, giving Brentwood another converted try.
And the hosts’ third converted score five minutes before the break gave the Eels a comfortable lead.
Whilst the first half had been a fairly even game, with both teams performing well in the heat, the home team were the ones with their tails up in the second half.
They scored two tries before Nick Woolley close enough to crash through three defenders and score Cents last try of the game.
There was still time though for the Eels to score a final converted score.
Manager Tony Bottomley said: “After the great display against Hemel last week, there was no sparkle. We just did not get it together for this game.
“In the second half we played flat, and Brentwood upped their game in the heat.
“Perhaps it was having less than 30 minutes to warm up and get game ready or perhaps it was having to play a game with a different squad from last week.
“We need two more points from our last two games at home to Bedford and away at North Herts, to make sure of a home game in the play-offs.
“Brentwood travel to [third-placed] Hemel next week so I hope they can do us a favour and beat them.”