St Albans Centurions lost 52-38 to Eastern Rhinos in their final home game of the London Premiership season on Saturday.
The visitors scored first with an unconverted try in the fifth minute only for Sam Bucknall to answer back for the Cents with a powerful run from 20m out and score a converted try six minutes later.
Almost on cue, five minutes later the visitors scored a try, only for this to be answered by St Albans' Phil Shire breaking three tackles to reply for the home team.
Slightly off script, the Rhinos scored twice more before Cents winger Kieran O’Shea ran in a great solo effort for the Cents. In the last five minutes, the Eastern Rhinos scored another couple of tries making the half-time score 34-14 to the visitors.
Within five minutes of the second half, St Albans were back on the scoresheet when man-of-the-match Andy Hogg ran in the first of his two tries in a six minute period. Another two scores from the Rhinos made it 44-22.
Joe Shaw scored for the home team, powering through a wall of defenders who could not stop him, and Dan Ashcroft kicked the conversion. Within five minutes, Darren Westhead, jinked his way through the Rhinos to score another try which Ashcroft again converted.
Shaw, Josh Lawrence and captain Mike Hollister all crossed the opposition line but were all ruled to have been ‘held up’ by the referee. Against the run of play, the visitors scored one more try to seal the game, before the Cents struck for the last time when Simon Paige scored after carrying three defenders over the line with him.
Centurions Director of Rugby Dave Stevens said: "I thought we were going to win this game in the dying minutes, but having three tries disallowed and missing more conversions than the opposition just meant it wasn’t to be.
"We had six first teamers missing, due to holidays and work, but the lads that stepped into the breach did very well for us. I have a feeling that next season is going to be different for us, as players get used to the team and settle in."
St Albans play their last regular game of the season next Saturday when they travel to unbeaten league leaders South West London Chargers.
The Centurions have announced they will be hosting a friendly game against the British Army Veterans Rugby League team at Toulmin Drive at 6.30pm on Friday, August 29.