Naylor praises ‘outstanding’ U12s

St Albans Cents juniors

St Albans Cents juniors - Credit: Archant

St Albans Centurions U12 coach Craig Naylor praised his “outstanding” players after they beat Brentwood 26-22.

Cents were beaten 34-6 in the reverse fixture but on Saturday the St Albans side came out on top in all areas of play.

Centurions took the game to the Eels from the kick-off and, despite an early try from Brentwood, they continued to go through a full set of six tackles to advance the ball.

Ball retention was rewarded with an individual try from Tom Liddelow and he ran in a second try following a length-of-the-field drive.

Great work from Barry Heath and Sam Ellis ensured quick ‘play the ball’ and breaks as Eels struggled to contain their running, resulting in significant ground being gained throughout the match.

Centurions fourth first-half try came from quick hands and feet as Edward Mann picked up the ball from the back of the scrum to beat several opposition players to dot down.

In defence Centurions were magnificent with solid tackles being made by all the team, working collectively to drive Eels back.

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At the restart, Eels scored three unanswered tries to narrow the score but the response from St Albans was unrelenting. Full-back Isaak Nathan made a diagonal run across the pitch to stop an Eels player in his tracks. His determination almost resulted in a try for St Albans but winger Ben Kelly was stopped short.

Still down 24-22 with 10 minutes to go, Centurions quickly regained possession after a series of handling errors to push forward once again and this time Nathan carried the ball at pace and broke through the Eels defensive line to score.

St Albans had to hold out for one last attack from the Eels, which broke down outside, but the defence held firm.

Head coach Craig Naylor said “This was an outstanding victory demonstrating collective team strength and effort. A special mention must go to Ben Kelly, Ben Cliffe, Will Lawrence, George Pelham and Euan McQuade for their selfless support and commitment to the tackle which ensured the 13 players who started the game, finished as a result of everyone taking responsibility.”