Lancashire Hot Pot!
It seemed at first as if the almost balmy local weather had lulled Albanians into a state of generosity akin to that which has been displayed so often in this campaign. To sum up, by the end of the first quarter OAs had shipped fourteen points to Fylde whose tries by Tom Carleton and Adam Lewis, along with Greg Smith’s conversions, made the sternest of statements of intent.
Carleton, son of ex-England flyer John, was a thorn in the OA side all afternoon and here he showed cracking pace.
During this period A’s had missed a penalty, conceded five and also gave away a free kick. Those few present with OA leanings yet hoped for better things.
There was nothing wrong with tight play; scrum and lineout delivered and the breakdown was addressed with enthusiasm but it took until nearly the half hour for the side to ‘gel’ as a unit. Happily, with this achieved, it was mostly one way traffic from then on.
Harry Elbrow opened the visitors’ account on 24 minutes with determination and fellow backrower Andy Christie followed suit 6 minutes later. Tom Bednall’s kick narrowed the margin and skipper Ross Hamilton, leading from the front, drove over five minutes before the interval. Bednall again improved to give his side a 5 point lead at the break.
The third quarter was looking to be without a score when David Fairbrother took a substantial hand for Smith’s kick to give the lead back to the hosts; but the pressure was already on the Lancastrians as position and possession now went almost exclusively to Albanians.
The bonus point came suddenly with a strike from Ollie Morris 6 minutes after the hour. Bednall’s conversion provided a 5 point gap but the best was yet to come. Three minutes later pressure told and a strike against the head in midfield was urgently taken on by Chris West and Nick Foster’s pace took him unerringly away from the defence.
Ten minutes remained and Albanians contained a disappointed Fylde side to earn their second five pointer in a row. The end came almost as a surprise and most of the spectators seemed ready for more rugby. Thus it stayed.
DoR Bruce Millar and Head Coach Gavin Hogg were relieved and delighted with the squad’s performance. It was pointed out that once more selection was somewhat of a lottery, training had been possible just once in the week, and indoors at that. So neither man was surprised it took a while for things to run smoothly. Both were very pleased with how the players had acquitted themselves.
Loughborough Students, not out of the mire by any means, will visit next Saturday. There is a certain confidence amongst the players which transcends gallows humour. The squad is convinced it can claw its way to National One safety and point to efforts against Ampthill and lofty Coventry as an indication of what is possible.
Next week’s visitors will no doubt have similar feelings.
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