First half mistakes give Cents too much to do

Rob Holbrook makes a break through the Bedford defence. Picture: Darryl Brown

Rob Holbrook makes a break through the Bedford defence. Picture: Darryl Brown - Credit: Archant

A superb second-half display against Bedford Tigers wasn’t enough to earn St Albans Centurions their first win of the East League campaign after first-half mistakes gave them too much to do.

Cents gave up 32 points in a disappointing 40 minutes at Wentworth Drive. An inspiring talk from head coach Andy Lake turned the tide of the game as Cents outscored Bedford 22 points to 10 in the second, but it wasn’t enough as St Albans lost 42-32.

“It seemed as though that was two different games,” said Lake. “I hope they never again play as badly as they did in the first half. However, the team showed their character in the second half and if the game was slightly longer we would have won it.

“Our first-half problem was that we lost the ball on the first or second tackle at least half a dozen times and made basic passing and tackling errors. In the second half it was a different team, I’m so proud of that fight back. It’s up to me as the coach to get consistency into our game. And I’m sure I will.”

The first-half saw a cornucopia of mistakes from Cents as they gave up their first try six minutes into the game.

Josh Lawrence replied to level the match but the momentum was soon back in Bedford’s favour as they went over in the corner following a Cents knock on.

Following an injury to Roy Dube, which forced Cents to rearrange their front line, St Albans capitulated and Bedford ran in four unanswered tries in 15 minutes to affectively seal the result.

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Five minutes from the break Cents worked the ball out to Sam Buckland to crash through the defensive line and score under the posts. Gareth Waters converted to end a miserable half for Lake’s side.

After a motivating talk from the manager, Sott Clellow hauled three defenders with him over the line to bring the score to 32-16.

A yellow card only helped Cents’ cause as Rob Holbrook started to take over the game. He surged over the line to close the gap to 32-22.

Two mistakes from St Albans allowed Bedford to add 10 points to their tally, but it didn’t dishearten them. Nick Woolley side-stepped defenders on his way to the line and then Holbrook set up Lawrence, only for the try to be disallowed.

Lawrence was denied his second try again a few minutes later after the referee adjudged that he was held up. Iain Langley had no such problems as he took a pass from Woolley and barged over. Waters closed the gap to 10 points with five minutes left.

Cents threw everything at Bedford only to be twice held up, have another crossed off by a non-decision by the referee and the ball bounce agonisingly out of Andy Hogg’s reach in the goal area as Bedford held on to win the match.