Gallery: Cents top the league after week one

Kieran O'Shea tackles

Kieran O'Shea tackles - Credit: Archant

St Albans Centurions sit top of the London Premier League at the end of the first round of games after soundly defeating Staines Titans 44-20 at Toulmin Drive on Saturday.

Cents raced to a 32-6 lead at the break and despite letting off in the second half they comfortably saw out the game.

After the game, coach Obi Ijeoma said: “I was very pleased with the team in the first half: great running and great moves provided us with some spectacular tries.

“However, the second half could have been better. I think, because of the score line, we took our foot of the gas a little towards the end, and we wer epunished by a Staines team who did not stop running at us until the final whistle.”

St Albans went into the game without full-back Gareth Walters, centre Brad Webber, forward Scott Clewlow and winger Matt Stringer but welcomed back Rob Holbrook, Joe Shaw, David Coyle and Josh Lawrence.

In the fourth minute Cents gave notice of their intent when Ryan Shorter burst through the Titans defence and raced 40 yards to score in the corner. Nick Woolley missed the conversion but he was perfect with his next attempt after Andy Hogg crashed over.

Staines replied with a converted try to narrow the gap but their resurgence was short-lived as Woolley crossed the whitewash. He missed the conversion but his try started a flurry of scored with all but ended the contest.

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First winger Kieran O’Shea returned a long kick 70 yards before off-loading to Simon Paige who left defenders in his wake on the way to the try line. O’Shea was at it again soon after, galloping 60 yards to score. Having opened the floodgates, Woolley added another try to end the half.

The Centurions started slowly in the second period, allowingthe Titans to run in a converted try after five minutes. St Albans returned the favour, though, when scrum-half George Stevens powered his way. Woolley split the uprights and then proved he had his eye in when he added another two points after Shaw’s second try.

With twenty minutes left, and down 44-12, most of the spectators thought the game was over, but the visitors began to play expansive rugby, throwing the ball around and keeping the Cents pinned in their own quarter as they added two unconverted tries.

St Albans’ next test comes on Saturday, when they travel to north London to play the London Skolars ‘B’ team.