Our thanks to Andrew Ferguson for his 2014 piece recounting the story of Edward Larkin, who among ot...
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St Albans Centurions will play host to a star-studded London Broncos team on Thursday 12 February in easily the most glamorous game the National League Three side have ever hosted.
Broncos' coach Tony Rea will bring his Super League stars to Woollams to face a London Barbarians XIII, composed of several Centurions players alongside some from National League Two side London Skolars, plus NL3 rivals Hemel Stags and local RL Conference clubs Luton Vipers and West London Sharks.
They will have their work cut out to match a Broncos side who finished fifth in Super League last season, and who will be at full strength, having just ten days to prepare for the big kick-off at Leeds Rhinos on 22 February. It will be the Broncos second and only pre-season friendly, having played against Wigan in Terry O'Connor's Testimonial at the JJB Stadium on 8 February and spent most of pre-season in a Dubai training camp.
Among the stars expected at Woollams are thrilling Australian scrum-half Dennis Moran - the top try-scorer in Super League for the past two seasons - giant England international forward Francis Stephenson, former Kangaroo star Jim Dymock, veteran USA international Steele Retchless, and exciting young England A duo Paul Sykes and Rob Purdham.
"It's quite remarkable that we are now in a position down here to be able to stage such an event," said Broncos coach Tony Rea. "It's always been part of the bigger picture that the professional game would get to this stage and now we are in a position whereby the wider development of the game will benefit us all. The Barbarians will give us some quality opposition and they will also benefit considerably, so it's a win win situation."
Centurions director Gavin Willacy is also delighted that Super League's big guns are coming to town. "This is a marvellous opportunity for so many people: our players, the Centurions club as a whole, OA Sport and Woollams, rugby league fans in Hertfordshire, and for the sports fans of St Albans to see some of the world's best players in action just down the road. Let's face it, it hasn't happened very often in my lifetime. Let's hope it's the start of many top class rugby league matches in our city."
Tickets for the Barbarians v Broncos game will be ?5 on the gate or ?4 in advance from St Albans Centurions or through the Broncos office on 0871 222 1132 or www.LondonBroncos.co.uk An array of hospitality will also be available on the night. See www.stalbanscenturions.com for details as well as for directions to Woollams.