Hammersmith cash in against weakened Cents

Makeshift Cents side outgunned by Hammersmith

RLC Southern Premiership

St Albans Centurions 14

Hammersmith Hoists 44

RUGBY LEAGUE: ST ALBANS Centurions Rugby League Club played host on Saturday to the team that many pundits think are the favourites for this seasons title, Hammersmith Hoists, a team made up from ex-pat Australian Rugby League players living in London.

The Cents were still without several key players due to injury and this caused player/coach Shane Rampling to re-jig his team to cover these positions while Dylan Rampling and Martin Day made their first appearance for the Cents.

The game started badly for St Albans, as the Cents boys appeared to be unsettled, and this showed with the number of dropped balls and missed tackles.

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Hammersmith full-back Jason Patterson burst onto a ball after the Cents defence allowed the Hoists to off load in the tackle, and he scored the first try of the game. Things went from bad to worse for the Centurions, as they had no answer to the Hoists’ tactics of offloading in almost every tackle, and a thoroughly unsteady Cents allowed four quick tries to be scored by Brenton Winnell, Dean Lockhart, Murray Crapp and Brad Toole. Kicker Wayde Kelly converted three of the four tries.

The scoreline looked bad with 28 points scored against the Cents in 28 minutes. On the half hour mark, St Albans slowly progressed into the Hammersmith half, and a Mick Wade kick into the corner sent centre Russ Kelloway in for an unconverted try.

More bad luck followed for St Albans as winger, Oli Fountain, now covering for the injured David Kramer at full-back, was taken off with an injured wrist. The score was 4-28 at half time.

It seemed in the second half that Cents had managed to stop the Hoists’ offloading tactics and a free flowing game was beginning to appear. Unfortunately, once again the Cents defence went to sleep and allowed two tries to be scored within four minutes of each other by the Australians, once again, both down to offloads. This gave the Hoists a 40-4 lead with 20 minutes left.

And this is when St Albans stared to settle into a routine and began to play. First player/coach Shane Rampling, playing in the unfamiliar hooker position crashed over for a try, followed five minutes later when Wade put up a high ball which was allowed to bounce by the Hammersmith team, allowing loose forward Miles Dempsey to kick the ball over the line and dive on it to score. Gareth Waters converted.

It was now almost incessant Cents pressure and on three further occasions players were held up having crossed the try line in an attempt to score.

In the last minutes of the game the Cents, with nothing to lose were throwing the ball freely around the pitch, and unfortunately one of these passes was intercepted by a Hoists player who raced 50 yards before being chased down and tackled by Dan Hensby. From the very quick play the ball, Hammersmith loose forward Mike Crosby crossed the line and scored.

Player/coach Shane Rampling said afterwards: “Everyone is allowed an off day, and this was ours. I have never known us to allow as many offloads as in this game, and that together with the number of balls we dropped and tackles we missed meant it was just not going to be our day.

“I still believe we have the makings of a very good team, we just have to train together more, and get as many first choice players out on the paddock at the same time. I’ve put todays loss down to several players being unavailable, and playing several more out of position to cover for them.”

Next week the Cents, now third in the league, travel to West London Sharks, who are currently in second place.

Cents: Fountain, Waters, Kelloway, Westhead, Cornthwaite, Norris, Wade, Dube, S Rampling, Bell, Hollister, Lake, M Dempsey, D Rampling, Day, Petty, Drummond, Hensby, Elvin, Moffitt.