St Albans Centurions got back to winning ways on Saturday, as they finally put into practice what we have been doing on the training field, and came away with the three points against Bramley Buffaloes. Team captain Andy Lake, out of the side because of a concussion he suffered last week, took over on the sidelines as acting coach for the day as the Cents were without regular player/coach Shane Rampling.
It looked like the visitors were up for this game when after five minutes they crossed the Cents line for an unconverted try. This seemed to on spur the St Albans team, and they put continuous pressure on Bramley, pushing them downfield on the back of a series of enforced mistakes, culminating with prop Dylan Rampling taking three defenders over the try line with him as he opened up the scoring for the Centurions. Full back Gareth Waters converted. The Buffaloes kicked off and the ball did not bounce in play, but went out on the full. From the resulting penalty, the Centurions pushed Bramley down the field and on the last play, stand off Nick Woolley jinked his way through the visitors defence to score. Waters again converted. The rest of the half belonged to St Albans, with the backs attacking Bramley all over the field, and the forwards making yardage with every play the ball. At half time the score was twelve points to four to the Cents.
Bramley Buffaloes came out all fired up in the second half, and led by their player/coach, Craig Lingard, an ex professional player, they tore into the St Albans side and ran in two tries within seven minutes of the restart, giving Bramley a four point lead over Cents. The game developed into an an arm wrestle, with both teams trying to impose their dominance, and gradually St Albans began to get on top. From a downfield kick, Centurions mid season signing, winger Keiron O'Shea caught the ball and raced 40 metres through the Bramley defence. A quick play the ball and lovely long ball from Cents hooker Ryan Kambouris saw centre Mike Benson race through the visitors defensive line and score. Again Gareth Waters converted. Straight from the kick off fullback Gareth Waters collected the ball and ran through the Bramley defence, again a quick play the ball to Kambouris, and again a wide ball saw centre Joe Shaw run onto it, crash through the Bramley defence and score. Gareth Waters again converted. In the last ten minutes the Centurions were on the scoreboard again when Joe Shaw again attacked the Bramley line, drew several players to him, and then a quick offload to winger Keiron O'Shea who powered over the line to score the last try of the match.
After the game acting coach Andy Lake said " Our coach Shane Rampling couldn't be here today, but we followed his instructions and played to his game plan and came out the winners. About a third of todays team were playing out of position because we have a few boys still out with injuries etc., but they all played with passion and determination, and to beat a team of Bramleys calibre is a great achievement. We travel to South Wales Hornets next weekend, and if we get some of our players back in the squad, we are definitely in with a chance of another win."
Next Saturday Centurions are away at South Wales Hornets.