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St Albans Centurions skipper hospitalised after Leicester Storm defeat
1:10pm Thursday 15th August 2013 in Sport
St Albans Centurions captain Rob Holbrook was left hospitalised with a broken jaw as his side’s “worst season ever” continued with a 40-18 defeat at Leicester Storm.
With seven first teamers missing for their final National Conference South game of the season, the Cents knew they would be in for a hard game.
In what has become a habit this season, the visitors took a long time to settle into the game and Leicester ran in two quick tries in the first seven minutes.
The Cents gained more composure and when Leicester were penalised, a quick tap and move saw St Albans winger Ryan Shorter race in at the corner.
The game began to get rougher and on the 20-minute mark the Cents captain received a high shot to the face. The referee said he saw nothing wrong with the tackle and gave a scrum against Holbrook for dropping the ball in the tackle.
But Holbrook was later taken to hospital where it was found his jaw was broken in two places and he has been kept in pending an operation. With the ball in Leicester’s possession, they drove down the field and scored.
But with ten minutes of the first half remaining, Joe Shaw went on the blind side of the scrum and crashed his way through the home side’s defensive line to score under the posts and full-back Gareth Waters converted.
Once again, Cents must have had their manager pulling his hair out as they seemed to go to sleep in the last five minutes of the half and let Leicester run in two more tries which handed them a 28-10 lead.
If the Cents were asleep at the end of the first half, they were wide awake at the start of the second.
Playing some of their best rugby of the season, the Centurions dominated the game in the third quarter, and centre Shaw got his hat-trick by running in two more tries. The Storms defence could not cope with the strong running Centurions and several high shots throughout the game went unpunished by the referee.
The turning point came in the 60th minute when what seemed to be a great winger’s try by Shorter was disallowed by the touch judge. This saw the Cents’ heads begin to drop and they started to question some of the referee’s decisions and give several penalties away. The Storm side capitalised on St Albans' disarray and managed to run in two very late tries. St Albans were reduced to 12 players for the last few minutes of the game, when Shaw questioned the referee as to why the last Leicester try was given when their player appeared to knock the ball forward as he placed it down.
Cents manager Tony Bottomley said: “We have lost our captain to a high shot and he will be out for next week. We have quite a few players in the dressing rooms with black eyes and bloody noses so to say I am frustrated about this game would be an understatement, but the boys did us proud out there. “We came with an under-strength team and they never gave in, they did us proud. However, this is the worst season we have ever had since we were formed in 1996.
“We have one home game left next Saturday, and then we must sit down and look at rebuilding for next year. We have a great stadium and clubhouse, now we must work on producing better results on the field.”
The Cents are at home for their last game of the season on Saturday when they take on second-placed Bristol Sonics.
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