GALLERY: Kentish injury proves key as St Albans’ relegation is confirmed
- Credit: Archant
Saints relegated to London Three North West after loss to Chiswick
An injury to full-back Mark Kentish proved pivotal as St Albans’ relegation from London Two North West was confirmed after a 29-18 loss to Chiswick at Boggymead.
Saturday’s opponents were the Saints’ closest rivals for the drop, but the win put clear daylight between the sides with one game remaining and resigned the hosts to a year in London Three North West.
Needing a win, the start of the game was bittersweet for St Albans; Kentish kicked them into a three-point lead but tweaked his hamstring and played no further part.
Chiswick took advantage of the reorganised back line to go over in the corner. The severity of Kentish’s absence soon became clear when a chance to retake the lead sailed wide of the posts.
After another try for the visitors, Jack Middleton secured a catch-and-drive try to reduce the gap to two points. Once again, points were left on the field as the conversion sailed wide.
A slick move saw Chiswick score a converted try but St Albans replied when Brenton Lemiere spotted a gap and went over. Another missed conversion meant Chiswick led 17-13 at the break.
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With the wind behind them, Chiswick utilised their kicking game to cross the whitewash twice without reply, the second from a controversial five-metre scrum.
St Albans continued to fight and, after Chiswick had a man yellow carded, Fraser Morris darted over the line for an unconverted try.
The Saints threw everything at the visitors in the final moments but their comeback, and their bid for survival, ran out of time.