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St Albans Centurions went down to a heavy defeat in their first away game in the National League last Saturday defeated by Warrington Woolston Rovers by 46 - 10.
Woolston, one of the top amateur clubs in the country, showed St Albans how high the standards will be in the new league this season with an impressive display at Warrington Wolves' Wilderspool ground and while the Centurions will have gained from the experience, they were left deflated by a second half collapse.
"I never want to fell that way after a game ever again," admitted Centurions' forward Scott Drewe. "Nobody wanted to speak afterwards - we were so down. Perosnally that was about the worst I've ever played. They were okay but we have a much better team than last year - we could be awesome but we are just not gelling yet."
St Albans were still in the game at half-time, trailing just 14-6, despite getting off to a bad start. Woolston opened the scoring in the thirteenth minute when a scrum on the St Albans line saw four players combine to find debutant winger ANDY WROE who squeezed over in the corner. Full back MARK ROUGHNEEN converted from the touchline.
Twelve minutes later ROUGHNEEN landed a penalty for Warrington Woolston after St Albans were penalised for offside, and then shortly after the half hour good play by Rovers saw stand off BRAD MALONE break out of a tackle to score under the posts. Centre CHRIS MELLOR converted.
Just before the interval St Albans were rewarded for their efforts when a good long ball from stand off Tony Eisenhuth found centre DENE MILLER who broke through to score with full back STEVE TOON converting. "The half-time scoreline was a fair reflection of how things went," said Centurions chairman Gary Tetlow. "We deserved to still be in contention but we lost Leigh Strid and Jon Warner with injuries and they blew us away after the break."
Indeed, Woolston came out and blitzed the Centurions with four quick tries. Straight from the kick off Rovers moved the ball upfield and Roughneen's chip through bounced of a ST Albans player and into the arms of substitute MARK COSGROVE who scored an unconverted try.
Two minutes later slick passing by Rovers stretched the Centurions defence and COSGROVE was on hand to score his second try. ROUGHNEEN added the touchline conversion.
The next try for Rovers saw second row MATT PATTERSON bounce off three attempted tackles to score out wide. ROUGHNEEN added the goal points once again, before good play by Wallington saw him use Dave Powlesland as a dummy runner and put PATTERSON through a gap to score his second try. Roughneen's goal made the score 36-6 after fifty-three minutes.
St Albans then pressed the Rovers line without success and then on the hour, straight from a scrum deep inside their own half, Mellor kicked downfield and Rovers winger KRIS BUCKLEY outpaced the Centurions defence to pick up and score.
The persistance of the St Albans players was rewarded on sixty six minutes when a long ball from scrum half Daniel Wortley found winger Neil Yates who in turn put centre NICK WALKER over in the corner.
The scoring was completed in the final minute when Roughneen made a sixty-yard break, that was carried on by Wallington, before a quick play the ball saw MALONE cross for his second touchdown. Roughneen converted to make the final score 46-10 for Warrington Woolston.
The Man of the Match for Rovers was second row Matt Patterson, well supported by stand off Brad Malone, prop forward Glen Horrabin, winger Andy Wroe and full back Mark Roughneen.
For Centurions their Man of the Match was centre Dene Miller, well supported by prop forward Ken Edwards, second row Brian Stokes and loose forward Quentin Kersh.
Teams & Scorers: Warrington Woolston: Mark ROUGHNEEN, Andy WROE, Paul BERRY, Chris MELLOR, Kris BUCKLEY, Brad MALONE, Mark WALLINGTON, Glen HORRABIN, Wes LAWTON, Dave POWLESLAND, Matt PATTERSON, Tony FAITAUA, Matt TAYLOR. Substitutes (all used): Neil SULLIVAN, Mark COSGROVE, Darren PARKER, Mark DANIELS.
Tries: Andy WROE (13 mins), Brad MALONE (34 & 80), Mark COSGROVE (41 & 43), Matt PATTERSON (48 & 53), Kris BUCKLEY (61). Goals: Mark ROUGHNEEN 6 & Chris MELLOR 1
St Albans: Steve TOON, Neil YATES, Dene MILLER, Nick WALKER, Jon LONG, Tony EISENHUTH, Daniel WORTLEY, Ken EDWARDS, Leigh STRID, Jon WARNER, Brian MOLYNEAUX, Brian STOKES, Quentin KERSH. Substitutes (all used): Matt SAUNDERS, Callum IRVING, Scott DREWE, Craig GUNNELL.
Tries: Dene MILLER (39), Nick WALKER (66). Goal: Steve TOON 1
Referee: Matthew KIDD (Castleford & Featherstone)
THE CENTURIONS are back in National League action this Saturday when they play Huddersfield Underbank Rangers at OAs' Woollams ground on Harpenden Road, kick off 2.30pm. Entry is ?2.50 with programmes ?1.
CENTURIONS' second team played their first game of the season, losing a friendly with Clock Face ARLFC 44-8 in St Helens. They start their London Amateur Rugby League campaign at Woollams this Saturday against Greenwich Admirals' second team, kick off 12.45pm. There will be another curtain-raiser at 11.30am when Lee Parkin's Centurions' Under-16s make their debut against Essex Eels. With some of the best young union players in the county getting their first taste of league recently, that should be a fascinating encounter at Woollams.