Chargers rout Cents for second week running

Cents spread the ball out wide.

Cents spread the ball out wide. - Credit: Archant

For the second week running, St Albans Centurions were humbled by the league’s top side, South West London Chargers.

Kieran O'Shea makes a break.

Kieran O'Shea makes a break. - Credit: Archant

After a 54-0 loss in the London Cup last week, Cents managed to cross the whitewash in Saturday’s league tie but still ended up on the wrong end of a 62-4 drubbing.

Cents director of rugby David Stevens said: “I can only repeat what I said after last week’s game. We were playing against what is probably the best team in the league today. They were outstanding opponents.

“We had even more players off through injury this week than last week and had to play a couple of development team lads to fill in the gaps, so the result should be put into some context.

“There is a great spirit in this team and whilst very disappointed at their defeat, the players never stopped trying”.

Missing the injured Joe Shaw, Ryan Shorter, Matt Stringer, Andy Hogg, Scott Clewlow and Kier Bell, the Cents were glad to see the return of Brad Webber and Alesandro Ricci, who was back after a two-year injury lay-off.

Cents once again had to rearrange positions to cover the gaps, which saw several players playing in new roles. The visitors, with a profusion of Australian and New Zealand players, showed why they are top of the London League and cup finalists, with a fine display of rugby league.

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For the first 15 minutes the game was played fairly evenly, with both teams getting close to scoring. One highlight was when the Chargers kicked through and two of their players were chasing the ball in the Cents in goal area only for Ricci to overtake them and touch the ball down to save a certain try.

Shortly after, Nick Woolley put in a crunching tackle that saved a try. However, incidents like this were few and far between as the London team scored five converted tries to lead 30-0 at half-time.

The second half continued like the first. Knowing they had to start scoring to get back into the game, the Centurions began to throw the ball around which in turn led to several interception tries.

And yet, Cents heads did not go down and time and again they pushed down field but lacked that final touch to score. On the 70th minute a concerted set of six saw the home team drive deep into the visitors half, and a move started on one side of the pitch ended on the other as Ricci again showed his strength and speed as he scooped the ball up and crashed over the line to score Centurions’ only try.