Coventry vs Old Albanians


May (and his team) unlucky at Coventry

Coventry 43pts  Old Albanian 42pts

This titanic clash almost needed a calculator to sort out the score but Coventry desperately overhauled Albanians with a hugely debated
Will Maisey penalty awarded after six minutes of injury time. But this one point defeat was totally overshadowed by the horrific leg injury suffered by centre Chris May five minutes before half time.

At the time of writing May is still being treated in a Coventry Hospital and all at OAs offer their sincere thanks for the care he received from both medical teams on the pitch.
We wish him a speedy recovery. It was a match of extremes: eighty five points, ten tries, seven penalties and three bonus points.

The fact that six of those penalties were scored by Ben Palmer (who also notched two conversions) indicates the hosts tried their best to give their guests every advantage. Indeed had the home backs taken more care with decision making the result might have been out of OA reach after an hour, three overlaps going begging in that time.
A’s were already missing totemic skipper Billy Johnson, recovering from last week’s leg injury and the hurt list is still almost at the crucial stage.

But the squad spirit is immense and this was never better demonstrated when, for a large part of the second period, three Albanian scrum halves manned the back line. Harry Bate re-entered the fray as ‘walking’ wounded and was certainly not found wanting. From May’s departure to almost full time Albanian confidence grew whilst Palmer ratcheted up the score; but this, in the circumstances, was probably an ask too far and the two League point haul, rather than the five so tantalisingly on offer, was enough to lever the club up to eighth in the rankings.
A’s had started slowly and a smart Coventry attack saw Ali Bone over,

Tony Fenner converting. Palmer opened his account with the first of his penalties six minutes in. May saw yellow with ten minutes gone but still Craig Dowsett scorched over for Palmer to improve.
Owain James and Scott Tolmie, both aided by the boot of Fenner, then contributed fourteen points in four minutes.
Palmer took another three points off the deficit before Dowsett crossed again when Nick Stevens took advantage of great recycling.
James provided Cov’s bonus point on the half hour.

After May’s sad departure Palmer struck again and improved Karl Garside’s thunderous score as the half wound down.
The fly half improved his tally twice more in the third quarter before Craig Tuilagi (brother of Brian and Mano!) touched down on the hour. Jack Daly, one of the many visiting scrum halves gave OAs their bonus point and Palmer’s last penalty sailed over with five minutes to go before notional no side.
Tom Jubb crossed for Cov and Maisey converted before the dramatic finale.

James Shanahan professed himself proud of the attacking spirit of his charges but bemoaned the defensive frailty. “We have our problems”, he said “but we do know how to tackle! Today we lost the defensive knack. We cannot expect to thrive if we give away six tries. We will work on it!


Match Video

Venue

Coventry RFC
Coventry RFC, Butts Park Arena, Butts Rd, Coventry CV1 3GE