Stunning Centurions rout nearest challengers Bedford Tigers
- Credit: DARRYL BROWN
St Albans Centurions turned on the style as they pummelled Bedford Tigers - their nearest challengers in the East Rugby League table.
Just a few weeks ago the Toulmin Drive-based rugby league club had clawed out an 18-16 victory at home but there was no repeat as they simply destroyed their hosts, storming to a 50-24 success.
Debutant Charlie Richards gave them the perfect start from the opening kick-off, side-stepping and stuttering his way 40 yards down the field to score with Harry Mac adding the conversion.
And it got better just two minutes later after Keiron O'Shea and Joe Shaw combined to send Martin Day barrelling over the line, Mac again adding the points.
And by half-time they had powered their way to a 30-12 lead.
Bedford had levelled things up but Cents always seemed in control and a second try from Richards, another bewitching run, plus scores for Adam Jasinski, an interception from 80 yards, and Will Fairhead, all three converted by Mac, put them clear.
The second half, however, did not start well for the visitors as Bedford threw everything they had at them, coming away with two converted tries in 10 minutes.
- 1 Woman in her 70s victim of St Albans 'distraction theft'
- 2 Trains between St Albans and Luton cancelled due to fire
- 3 Motorbike strikes barrier on North Orbital Road near St Albans
- 4 Alex Lankshear goes pro after leaving St Albans City for a Championship side
- 5 Man arrested following alleged St Albans M&S theft
- 6 Man threatened officers with 'bomb' at police station
- 7 Harpenden residents hit back at Green Belt homes bid
- 8 Village prepares for return of Scarecrow Festival after three years
- 9 Cool off at London Colney's new Watersplash
- 10 Dog owner avoids jail after hitting pet so hard that wooden pole snaps
But the Centurions were still not rattled and Rob Campbell pushed their lead out further when he wrong footed the Tigers defence and crossed between the sticks to score.
James Ryan added that conversion.
The high speed and St Albans ferocious tackles began to take its toll of the Bedford team, with three of their players being substituted and going off for treatment.
St Albans very own wrecking ball, Josh Lawrence, had been a rock in defence and when he attacked, he took a Tigers defender on his back over the try line to score.
Luke Ogbourn was the next to cross the whitewash for St Albans. Getting the ball on his own 40 yard line, he broke the Tigers defence and outpaced his four chasers to score an unconverted try.
With five minutes left, it was left to Centurions' mercurial full-back Kieran O'Shea to score their last try.
Joining in the attack, O'Shea managed to send three defenders the wrong way as he side stepped under the posts to score with Ryan's kick taking them to the half-century.
Head coach Sam Wingad said: "Two weeks ago I was happy with a two-point win over the Tigers, so I'm ecstatic with a 26-point victory.
"We also had a couple of our U18s making the step up and I was very pleased with their attitude and commitment. The team just gelled, everyone playing for each other.
"They are a great bunch of lads and we are doing very well in the league."
The club's masters will once again be the warm-up act ahead of the London 9s Festival at Chiswick Rugby Club on Sunday.
They kick-off at 10am against a touring Myanmar Dragons squad, with money being raised for the Crossing the Gain Line charity.
The festival itself has featured senior Centurions in the past.
Wingers Godson Sado and Joshua Adebayo were in the West Africa squad for the main competition in 2019 while Peter Wampamba-Strain represented Africa United Lions.