St Albans Centurions - History

History

The first rugby league club in St Albans was launched in 1970 by the landlord of The Beehive pub just off London Road, St Albans Beehive RLFC lasted four seasons and were followed by St Albans Waverley for a year in the mid-seventies.

The St Albans Centurions was established in 1996 by Gary Tetlow and Ken Edwards and their first game was lost narrowly to a Hemel Hempstead development team. In 1997 the Centurions replaced the Ashford club in London League Division 2, and progressed to the second round of the knock-out competitions. Later that year the Centurions signed a membership agreement with Old Verulamians rugby union club to secure ground sharing, giving them a firm base and offering good facilities for both players and sponsors. The team finished second in the league that season and established a rugby league development team to encourage junior development.

1998 The under-13s competed in a festival of rugby league and also in the London Junior Competition and the senior team were accepted into the Rugby League Conference, where they finished runners-up in the Southern Division. The team was beaten in the semi-finals by the eventual winners, Crawley Jets.

1999 The team fielded a second team for the first time, and the first junior player graduated to the Open Age side.

2000-2002 The club consolidated itself in the Conference and in the London League.

2003 The club entered the newly created National League 3, playing teams from all over the country. They reached the play-offs, beating Sheffield Hillsborough Hawks before going down to Warrington Woolston Rovers. They also entered the Rugby League Challenge Cup, losing to Birkenshaw in the first round.

2004 the Centurions finished 7th in the league and then shocked Bradford Dudley Hill in the play-offs before losing to Bramley Buffaloes.

2005 The first team won 12 out of 16 league matches, finishing third and lost in the play-off semi-finals. The second team continued to play in the Conference and the club continued its junior development programme. The club also relocated its home ground across town to share with Old Albanian Rugby Football Club at Woollam's.

2006 The first team qualified for the play-offs in fourth place in National League Three. It beat Dewsbury Celtic but lost an elimination match to the Warrington Wizards. The team also competed in the Northern Rail Cup, taking on semi-professional outfits London Skolars and Crusaders.

2007 League Champions, Southern Grand Final Winners & National Grand Final Winners. The Cents relocated to Colney Heath and relaunched itself with a new committee and a new club logo in preparation for the 2007 season. The Cents then joined the Rugby League Conference South Premier and went from strength to strength. The Centurions won 12 of their 14 seasonal league games and finished top of the Conference, they also became Major Premiers of the Southern Conference by beating South London Storm 16 - 10 in the Southern Grand Final. St Albans went through to represent the South in the national semi-finals and defeated the Welsh Champions Bridgend Blue Bulls 42 - 16. The Cents then went on to win the National Grand Final and the Harry Jepson Trophy by defeating the Midland champions, Coventry Bears by 28 -20.

2008 was a mixed season for the club, St Albans won the North London Cup, a pre-season 'round robin' tournament between themselves, London Skolars A-team and Hemel Stags. Unfortunately the loss of nine retiring players from last years squad, and a string of injuries meant the club finished fourth in the Rugby League Conference Southern Premier. In October, due to the increasing number of junior teams and limitations of facilities at Colney Heath, the club moved back to their original ground at Cotlandswick, on the outskirts of St Albans.

2009 was a good year for the club as they settled down to life at their new ground. The senior squad finished 3rd in the Rugby League Conference Southern Premier, only losing three games all season, but were knocked out of the end of season play-offs by the eventual National Champions, West London Sharks.

2010 League Champions, Southern Grand Final Winners & National Grand Final Winners. St Albans Centurions won all their games except one in the Southern Premiership and were crowned League Champions. In the Major Premiership play offs that follow the end of the regular season The Cents defeated the Eastern Rhinos in the semi finals by 60 points to 6, and then won the Grand Final against West London by 54 points to 4. In September the Centurions, playing as Southern Champions, defeated the Welsh Champions, Valley Cougars in the National Semi Finals before going on to win The Harry Jepson Trophy by defeating the Midlands Champions Coventry Bears by 56 points to 4.

2011 The Club has taken possession of its own ground and clubhouse at Toulmin Drive, St Albans. The Cents finished second in the league and were losing Grand Finalists.

2012 The Cents were asked by the RFL to take part in the 'National Conference League Three', an experimental, one season only league that was being set up to see how top amateur clubs from all over England and Wales would cope playing in a league involving long distance travelling and other issues. The Cents finished seventh in that league, missing out on the play offs by one point.

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