Time to look ahead to Sunday's decider! Rob Crosby has a full look at both teams and what to expect ...
12 hours ago
St Albans Centurions will celebrate the New Year knowing that their biggest challenge yet awaits in 2004 - making progress. Having improved hugely over the last two years, going within one kick of winning the Eastern Division of the RL Conference in 2002 then making the huge step up to National League 3 in 2003 and shocking the rugby league world by finishing fourth, St Albans have it all to do to keep on an upward curve.
"2004 is going to be another difficult year but with the success we had in 2003, the mood in the Centurions camp is good and we are very excited about the challenges ahead," said Centurions director Gavin Willacy. "Coach Peter Tonkin and director Gary Tetlow are busy recruiting players from all corners of the globe, as well as all corners of St Albans, and a deal with OA Sport to make next season even better at Woollams is very close to being signed.
"What we need now is for the business people of St Albans to support us. We have joined the National League - the only team in the district at any sport to be playing at that level in the summer - and we have shown we can compete at the top of our division. We are the third best rugby league team south of Sheffield, which is quite some achievement. Three of our players were voted into the Team of the Year for National League 3 and Peter Tonkin won Coach of the Year. We have wonderful facilities at Woollams, and an ever-increasing enthusiastic group of supporters who have seen what we do and love it. And our media profile has shot up with the club mentioned in the national papers twice a week."
"We are an amateur club: no one gets paid anything," explains Willacy. "But next season we will be competing in a division against clubs who are paying their players decent appearance money. If we are to compete with that, we need to be able to offer our players the best possible environment and ensure that they are at least not out of pocket after playing for St Albans on the national stage.
"Now is the ideal opportunity for businesses in Hertfordshire to get involved. We are already putting sponsorship deals into place for next season, knowing that we have several high-profile friendlies lined up in spring before the real things kicks off in late April. We have some very valued partnerships but are looking for more - from match and player sponsorship level right up to naming sponsors. It's time for the St Albans commercial sector to back us like the people have."
Potential sponsors can contact Gary Tetlow on 07713 472091 or [email protected]
The Centurions are also looking for a COMMERCIAL MANAGER to handle sponsorship and marketing of the club. The candidate needs to have experience of the St Albans area business and commerce sectors and be prepared to work on a generous commission-only basis. Anyone keen to apply for the position should contact Gary Tetlow on 07713 472091 before January 5.