Disallowed tries halt Cents’ comeback

Joe Shaw scores his try.

Joe Shaw scores his try. - Credit: Archant

Three disallowed tries resigned St Albans Centurions to defeat in their final home game of the regular season against Eastern Rhinos.

Charging back in the final 20 minutes, and trailing by 16 points, Cents’ Joe Shaw, Josh Lawrence and captain Mike Hollister were all adjudged to have been held up over the line and the points scrubbed off the board.

With the mercury in the mid-20s, and a hydration station set up for players, the teams were equally matched and it seemed as when one side scored it was answered by the other.

Rhinos scored first with an unconverted try in the fifth minute, only for Sam Bucknall to answer back for the Cents with a powerful run from 20 metres out six minutes later. George Stevens converted.

Almost on cue, five minutes later the visitors scored a converted try, only for this to be answered by St Albans’ Phil Shire who broke three tackles to score for the home team.

Slightly off script, the Rhinos scored twice more before Cents flying winger Kieran O’Shea ran in a great solo try. In the last five minutes of the half, Eastern Rhinos scored twice more, making the half-time score 34-14.

Within five minutes of the restart, St Albans were back on the scoresheet when man of the match Andy Hogg ran in the first of his two tries in a six-minute period. Rhinos replied with two tries of their own, and, with 20 minutes left, Cents were down 44-22.

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Joe Shaw scored for the home team, powering through a wall of defenders, and Dan Ashcroft kicked the conversion. Then, within five minutes, Darren Westhead jinked his way through the defence to score another try, which Ashcroft converted.

It seemed as though the game was changing in Cents’ favour but Rhino’s defence managed to hold up three drives over the line to keep their lead intact.

Against the run of play, the visitors scored one more try to seal the game, before the Cents struck for the last time when Simon Paige scored from 20 meters out, crashing through three defenders to do so.

After the game, Centurions director of rugby Dave Stevens said: “I’m sure the crowd enjoyed this game, even in this temperature; it was non-stop rugby. Well done to both teams.

“I thought we were going to win this game in the dying minutes, but having three tries disallowed and missing more conversions than the opposition just meant it wasn’t to be.

“I have a feeling that next season is going to be different for us, as the new players get used to the team and settle in.”

St Albans play their last regular game of the season on Saturday when they travel to unbeaten league leaders South West London Chargers.

The club has also announced that they will be hosting a friendly game against the British Army Veterans Rugby League team. The game will be played at Toulmin Drive, St Albans at 6.30pm on Friday, August 29.