Darlington Mowden Park vs Old Albanians

Getting there…

Old Albanians were caught cold in this lively encounter. A kickable penalty went wide in the first minute and shortly after Garret Doman-Cann was sent to the bench for a red zone infringement. The visitors were made to pay for this lapse and two tries had been recorded by the time they were back to full strength. Brandon Staples forced his way over from a set scrum. Caolan Ryan’s conversion attempt hit the top of a post. He made a better fist of improving the next try scored by hooker Santiago Socino. All this within the first ten minutes. Chris May put his side on the scoreboard midway through the half as OAs came to grips with the tempo and ground out some territorial advantage. But the 12-3 scoreline remained until the interval. Try hero Socino became villain before the break as he mirrored Doman-Cann’s offence and left for a ten minute rest. Turning round a man to the good helped the OA cause and allowed them into home space for longer periods. Ben Palmer obliged with two more penalties but despite fine efforts at the base of the Albanian scrum no try resulted even though lock Joe Craggs spent ten minutes warming the bench. Ryan widened the gap with a penalty and he converted when Ben Frankland’s charge allowed Socino in for his second. Thus it ended. OA supporters can feel happy that their team’s tight play is stronger than it was at the start of the season but there is still room for a little more gas in broken play and intensity when in possession. Loughborough visit Woollams next Saturday and with two long and, league-wise, pointless journeys behind them Billy Johnson’s men will look to return to winning ways. Kickoff 1500hrs.

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Long road trip ends in disappointment as Old Albanian are beaten by Darlington Mowden Park

16:41 08 October 2016

Chris May lines up a kick at goal. Picture: NEIL BALDWIN PHOTOGRAPHY

Three penalties was all Old Albanian Rugby Club could muster from their long trip to Darlington Mowden Park as they went down to a 22-9 defeat in National League One.

Ben Palmer kicked two and Chris May one and for a moment in the second half it looked as if Albanian may come away from the Northern Echo Arena with something. But, although there was little to choose between the two sides, Darlington had just a little bit more than the side from St Albans. The opening seven minutes had a lot to do with that and as starts go, this was awful for OAs. May missed with an early penalty and within five minutes Albanian were a man down and DMP had grabbed two tries.

Garret Doman-Cann was the man sent for an early break when he was penalised for collapsing a maul as the hosts rumbled towards the line. From the penalty, DMP slipped the ball out wide for Brandon Staples to score.

Caolan Ryan hit the near post from the conversion but was more successful a minute later when Darlington scored again. This time it was hooker Santiago Socino who got it, finishing it off after a break by Ryan, and then Talite Vaioleti had punched holes in the Albanian defence. The return of the OAs prop-forward saw the visitors finally get back in to the game and Doman-Cann almost scored late on in the first half but he was held up on the line. However, that move saw Socino pick up a yellow, this time for leaving his feet at a ruck. But bar the first few minutes of that spell, Albanian couldn’t threaten a score.

May had redeemed his self after that earlier miss by kicking a penalty on 31 minutes but wasn’t on the field 15 minutes into the second half when Palmer scored their second kick. That came after a much brighter opening from the visitors with plenty of quick ball stretching the Mowden defence. It led to Joe Craggs committing a late challenge on OAs player-coach James Shanahan and Palmer did the rest. That already made this period more profitable than the last and another Palmer penalty pulled Albanian to within three. But as the sin-bin came to an end, Albanian were punished at a scrum and Ryan kicked the penalty. And any hopes of a dogged, come-from-behind win were extinguished 12 minutes from time thanks to Socino’s second. It was again proof that the hosts were finding holes in the opposition defensive line on more regular occasions than OAs. They couldn’t get the bonus point score but neither could Albanian get the converted score to grab a losing bonus point that perhaps their play deserved.

Old Albanian: Garside, Taylor, Doman-Cann, Bickle, Hamilton, Bate, Stevens, Lunnon, Gliksten, Shanahan, Dowsett, May, Lombaard, Speirs, Palmer

Replacements: Miles, Reed, Tuilagi, Thompson, Burgess



Penalties: May 31, Palmer 55, 61

Drop goals:

Darlington Mowden Park: Nesbitt, Socino, Appleby, Vaioleti, Craggs, Staples, Mackenzie, Duff, Duchesne, Ryan, Auld, Frankland, Homan, Bragman Replacements: Fearn, Wood, Freydell, Fitzpatrick, Allan Tries: Staples 6, Socino 7, 68 Conversions: Ryan 7, 68 Penalties: Ryan 65 Drop goals: HT: Darlington Mowden Park 12 Old Albanian 3 Attendance: Referee: Matt Turvey  

Shanahan frustrated with Old Albanian’s start in National One – but that’s a good thing

09:15 13 October 2016

Old Albanian player-coach James Shanahan is happy with his side's start to life in National One. Picture: DANNY LOO

Old Albanian player-coach James Shanahan is happy with his side’s start to life in National One. Picture: DANNY LOO

Old Albanian player-coach James Shanahan is a touch frustrated with his side’s start to life back in National One – but says that is a good thing.

The Woollams-based rugby club won promotion back to the third tier of English rugby last year and after the opening six games they lie seventh in the 16 team league, with 15 points and three wins.

Their most recent outing was a 22-9 defeat at Darlington Mowden Park, their fourth away trip of the campaign.

But considering the start they have had, with visits to Blaydon and Plymouth Albion, as well as Darlington, Shanahan thinks his side are doing fine.

He said: “We’ve got three wins on the board already which is good. It was always going to be a difficult start with four away trips in the first six matches, and the three longest ones to places where it’s always hard to go and get victories.

“So to have that start and pick up three wins, I would have taken that before the season started but now I’m a little disappointed because we’ve put ourselves into some good positions to pick up another win.

“It’s nothing massive to change; just being clinical and accurate in the final third because its’s hard work to get there so when we get there, lets get something from it.

“I don’t have to rip up the script and throw it away, we just need to tweak a few things and the wins will come.

“It’s a hard league and I knew it would be, but except from Hartpury College, I think everyone can and will beat everyone else.

“So if you don’t turn up, either home or away, you could take a hiding. but if you do, then you could walk away with the points.”

The defeat at the Northern Echo Arena saw OAs ship 12 points inside the opening 10 minutes, a statistic which was the killer blow for OAs.

“That first 10 minutes absolutely killed us,” said Shanahan. “I don’t know if we were still in the changing rooms, on the train, in bed, I just don’t know.

“It’s two games on the bounce where we’ve had loads of possession and plenty of territory but come away with nothing, which is a bit harsh. “But we’ve got to learn that while in National Two you can give away a couple of tries and maybe score four or five, in National One if you give a team a lead, the defences are better organised, teams are fitter, stronger and you will always end up playing catch-up rugby. “We had a number of chances which we didn’t take and our scrum was dominant and got nothing from it which is frustrating. “But we’ll learn. We certainly had enough possession to win a game of rugby.”

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