St Albans Centurions fall just short of silencing Roosters
- Credit: Archant
St Albans Centurions came within a whisker of defeating last season’s league runners up St Ives Roosters as the East Rugby League season got underway.
A converted try two minutes from time gave the Roosters a 42-40 win at their California Road ground.
That late score wasn’t the final act though in a dramatic day as Myles Costello crossed in the final play, only for the referee to pull it back for an infringement.
Despite the result head coach Andy Luke was still a satisfied man.
He said: “When you concede 42 points in a game, you are not going to win – but we nearly did.
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“St Ives relied on their huge forwards to crash over the try line from five or 10 yards out and stopping someone their size from doing that is a big ask.
“I am not disappointed. This is the boys first run out and on what I’ve seen today, we have the making of a great squad”. First team manager Tony Bottomley added: “I must say I was impressed. When you look at the new squad members, they fitted in very well with the squad, and it was a first time player, Jake McLaughlin, that was our top tackler.
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“There is scope for improvement and I know the team will get better the more we play together.”
To mark the 20th anniversary of the club St Albans went into the game in their new ‘retro’ kit, based on their first ever strip they wore in 1996.
The first half saw Joe Shaw get two tries and Sam Bucknell one, Gareth Waters converting two of them, but unfortunately St Ives crossed three times to lead 18-16 at the break.
The second half started badly for the Cents with the Roosters going over twice in quick succession.
But St Albans would not be beaten and came back with two scores of their own as first Darren Westhead and then Shaw, for his hat-trick, crossed.
Another converted home try put the hosts into a 36-28 lead with 13 minutes to go but the Cents would suddenly turn that around.
Scrum half Tim Rangihuna jinked his way through the opposition to score under the posts and with six minutes to go McLaughlin side-stepped in for the lead.
Unfortunately the constant tackling of the huge St Ives forwards had begun to take its toll on the Centurions, and when the Roosters made one last onslaught on the Cents defensive line, all the St Albans defenders could do was drive them out wide and see them score almost on the touchline.
The kick went over to the Roosters ahead again and despite the late drama they hung on for the win.
Next Saturday, the Cents are at home, when they take on Hemel Stags ‘A’ team in a repeat of their very first competitive league game played 20 years ago.
Kick off is at 2.30pm at Toulmin Drive.
As a prelude to game, the Cents masters team (over 35’s) will be playing the LADS (London And Down South) masters team.
Kick-off there is at 12.30pm.