Development Squad pushing for senior places after victory at Bedford
- Credit: Archant
St Albans Centurions Development Squad could be pushing for first-team places after beating Bedford Tigers A 10-8 on the strength of their defence.
Despite having only three recognised senior players in the side, Cents produced a near-faultless display in the London Merit League match. They defended resolutely whenever Bedford threatened the line, were sure in the tackle and played quick, basic rugby league.
Andy Lake, head coach, said: “It was a great performance. I asked those players to do certain roles, which they did. They played out their sets, stuck to the game plan, showed awesome defence and pushed Bedford back time and again.
“Basic and balanced rugby wins the game, together with an honest and motivated team.
“On that performance, a lot of these players are pushing for first team places, and they will be given that chance.”
With no senior game, the Development Squad took centre stage and they did not disappoint. After a scoreless opening 25 minutes, Sam Norris and Josh Lawrence, both of whom are first-team players, linked up to send Chris Bucknall over the line for a debut try.
Bucknall’s first try in his first rugby league game was the difference between the teams at the break.
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Miles Costello extended the advantage straight after the break when he caught Bedford’s kick-off, broke through the defensive line and showed a clean pair of heels to the chasing Tigers. The two points were added and Cents were 10-0 up.
A third try looked on the cards as St Albans drove into Bedford’s territory but an interception and 50-yard run caught the visitors cold as the gap was closed to 10-4.
Kieran O’Shea, Cents’ other senior player in the side, looked to have got the elusive third try when he side-stepped his way over the line but the referee was unsighted and therefore unable to give the score.
Peter Doyle also came close but was forced into the posts and the ball came loose before he could ground it.
The excitement level palpably rose when Bedford scored one further try as the game was coming to an end, but Cents controlled the last five minutes to earn the victory.
Chairman Brian Parker added: “That was a well earned victory based upon a tireless defence. There were hardly any dropped balls or knock-ons – I won’t say our game was error free, but it nearly was. Those young men should be well pleased with that performance, I know I was.”