Improving Cents lose again

The Centurions regained some pride after last week's hammering by Huddersfield but still went down to their fourth defeat in five games when they lost 25-18 at Bradford Dudley Hill on Saturday. Trailing 22-0 after just 20 minutes, a repeat of the Underbank debacle was on the cards but the men from Woollams responded superbly. Tries from reserve team regular Craig 'Sal' Gunnell, powerhouse prop Roy 'The Freezer' Dube and skipper Richard Smith, all three converted by lock Adam Cox, got the Cents in with a sniff of victory at 18-24 only for Dudley Hill to kick a late drop goal to secure their seventh straight victory. A full report will appear in the Results section of by Wednesday.

The Cents remain fourth in the table despite this defeat, but with six teams separated by one point, the race for a top eight play-off place is red hot. Top three Woolston (20pts), Dudley Hill (18) and Coventry (18) are now four points clear of the Cents, Hemel and Birmingham on 14 and Bramley, Huddersfield and South London on 13. Sheffield, on 11 pts, are down in 10th place, meaning there are seven teams chasing the five spots below the breakaway trio. Most clubs, including St Albans, have just eight league games left.

THE CENTS RESERVES had an excellent result in their final regular Conference fixture, hammering Rugby Raiders 70-24 in Warwickshire. Leading 30-10 at the break, St Albans ran away with it with tries from Damien Poulter and Simon Lye and two for man of the match Karl McGowen. That win sees the reserves finish fourth in the six-team South Midlands Division, meaning they now enter the end of season RLC Shield. They have a bye this week before playing the winners of bottom two Wolverhampton and Rugby a week on Saturday.

ROCKY II: Edwards Returns For Another Ten Rounds St Albans Centurions could be boasted by two signings from France this weekend when they return to the main pitch at Woollams for a vital National League Three clash with Manchester Knights. Crowd favourite Rocky Edwards returns from Carcassonne to play another off-season on loan with St Albans following his hugely successful period at Woollams last summer. The experience Kiwi centre reached the semi-finals of the French Championships with the top pro club from the Pyrannees but defeat left him free to come back to Hertfordshire for another bout of NL3 action with the Cents.

He will be joined by French winger Benoit Azam who has joined the Centurions from Villefranche, like Carcassonne in France's Elite 1 top flight. Azam spent last summer with Hemel Stags but injury in an early game curtailed his appearance. The speedy three-quarter joined training at Woollams last Thursday night but missed Saturday's action after injuring his knee. He could make a debut in navy and gold on Saturday. Kick off at Woollams against Manchester is at 2.30pm with admission ?3 adults, ?1 concessions.

FANS NEWS The Centurions would like to let fans who ordered supporters' jerseys last month know that the delay at the kit-makers is such that the shirts are unlikely to be delivered in time for Saturday's match but will be here for the Herts derby game on August 14 against Hemel. We apologise for the delay.

For more information contact GAVIN WILLACY on 07796 442041