Two wins on the bounce for Cents

Bottomly overjoyed by team’s display in Wales

Rugby League Conference

South Wales Hornets 14

St Albans Centurions 44

CENTS team manager Tony Bottomly says Saturday’s comprehensive win over South Wales Hornets was his side’s best performance of the season.

It was their second win on the spin, and Bottomly praised his players’ character to gain maximum points despite the squad being a man light for the 320-mile round trip to Newport.

“What a game!” said Bottomly. “It was a continuation from the win over Bramley the previous week and with a squad short by one man as well.

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“Ryan Shorter from the U16s was outstanding and had a fantastic debut for us. Shane [Rampling] rolled back the years and was inspirational.

“Everyone played for one another. This was the performance of the year so far. The Man of the Match was Joe Shaw, what a player, he never stopped running and every time he got the ball he caused panic in the Hornets defence.

“We are now up to sixth place in the league, and although we have some tough games to come, we now seem to be improving every week.”

Due to holidays and other commitments the team only had a squad of 16, not 17, making the journey. In the first 10 minutes the Centurions looked like they were suffering from the effects of the long trip, looking generally unsettled; but then the Rampling brothers took over.

First, prop forward Dylan Rampling dived over for a try after the Hornets had been penalised twice for high tackles, followed shortly afterwards by big brother Shane Rampling who turned back the years and jinked and danced through the Welsh defence. Gareth Waters converted both tries.

Cents were now in the ascendancy and quick hands down the line saw Cents winger Kieron O’Shea go in at the corner.

The Hornets got a try of their own when they ran in after Cents had given away a penalty for a high tackle. With 10 minutes of the first half left, Cents were on the scoreboard again when full-back Waters broke the Hornets defensive line, and ran for 40 yards before offloading to Ryan Kambouris who made more yardage and then passed the ball out wide to Shane Rampling who once again ripped the defence wide open to score a converted try.

In the last moments of the half, a missed shoulder charge by a Cents player opened a gap and let the Hornets score a converted try. The score at half time was 22-10 to the St Albans team.

The second half started with the Welshmen trying to outmuscle the visitors, but they gave away a series of penalties for high tackles. One of these penalties saw Cents winger Rudi Van Der Merwe, on his return from a two-game suspension, take an angled pass and gain substantial yardage. A quick play the ball saw Cents prop forward Scott Clewlow crash over the line to score his first senior try for the club. Waters again converted.

The Cents’ momentum was held up for a short while when the referee needed treatment after falling over and hurting his ankle. When the game resumed, it was the home team that scored first.

From then on, it was nearly all St albans. Centre Nick Woolley put in a great pass out wide to skipper Andy Lake who ran in to score. Then it was hooker Kambouris’ turn, from a penalty he took the ball and charged through several tackles to touchdown.

The score could have been a lot higher for the St Albans team as U16s player Ryan Shorter came on to play his first senior game for his home town team and crossed the try-line on two occasions, for what appeared to be perfectly good tries, only to have the touch judge rule them both out.

With 10 minutes left of the match, speedster Van Der Merwe got the ball, cut inside and ran through several tackles to score the last converted try of the game.

Next Saturday the Centurions are away at Kippax Knights in Yorkshire.