Injury-hit St Albans Centurions slumped to their heaviest defeat of the season after losing 46-6 at home to Hemel Stags on Saturday in the London Premier League.
The Cents had played a charity match against the British Army on Wednesday evening to raise money for charity, and the effects of that game were visible for all to see three days later as several key players were carrying injuries picked up in the Army game.
On the ten-minute mark Cents’ Dan Tominey had to go to hospital with a broken nose, and shortly after Hemel scored their first converted try.
The hosts suffered another blow when one of their star players, Joe Shaw, left the field with a hamstring injury and after the restart Hemel ran in three converted tries in a ten-minute period.
St Albans could not use their speedy players, as the Hemel tactics of holding down as long as possible in the tackles to slow the game down was working.
Half-time could not come soon enough for the Cents in the monsoon-like conditions.
However, the second half could not have started worse for the home team as the visitors scored two quick tries in the first ten minutes.
More problems for Cents arose when half back Ashley Westhead had to leave the field with a head injury.
The Cents, missing three key players, had some reorganising to do but could not stop the Stags scoring two more tries.
The Cents suffered another setback in the last quarter of an hour when captain Mike Hollister was taken off with a leg injury.
With ten minutes left, the Cents finally got on the scoreboard when George Steven burst through three tackles to score under the post. Full-back Gareth Waters kicked the conversion.
Cents assistant coach Andy Lake said: “This was a bad day at the office. I won’t blame the midweek army game for this result.
“We lost this game against a big, well drilled and efficient team as we were inconsistent and our plays lacked execution.
“We also lost four players to injuries, so had to reorganise on the run.
“I hope we get some of them back for next week’s game at Colchester against the Eastern Rhinos.”
The Cents’ Development squad fought back from 20-0 down to defeat Billericay Rangers 44-20 in their first London Merit League game of the season.
The Billericay team kicked off and within minutes scored the first try of the game.
The Centurions team, made up mostly of players new to the sport and who had never played a competitive game of rugby together as a team, looked a bit disjointed as the Essex side ran in three more tries and two conversions before the half-time whistle.
It was a completely different story in the second half though as David Coyle was brought onto the pitch and the team ran in nine unanswered tries to complete the comeback.
The development team’s next game is at home against the SW London Chargers ‘A’ team on Saturday, June 7 at 1pm.