Students Teach Albanians A Lesson
Apparently the Students had held a players’ meeting on the Monday prior to this match to try and explain to themselves why they occupied such a lowly position in National One. Their conclusion was that there was nothing wrong with the system, just their application of it. Last Saturday they employed just about everything correctly and justifiably confined Albanians to a place in the relegation zone.
From the start there was a zip and vigour about Loughborough’s approach which, it has to be said, was, for much of the game matched by the visitors. But this overwhelming effort by the hosts meant that it was difficult to remember a time when the Students did not pose a threat to Albanians. OAs almost exclusively played catchup all afternoon and though all featured valiantly, it often seemed that it was a group of individuals rather than a team that was trying to stem the tide.
The first half hour went well and the lead changed hands four times. Owen Waters opened with a penalty. This was equalled by Thomas Bednall who put A’s in front with his next effort. Next flanker Ogwenesuve Obano demolished the OA defence from fully 30 metres for Waters to convert.
Then Albanians produced a wrecking ball of their own when James Docherty charged deep into the home 22 and Ollie Morris finished neatly.
Visiting supporters had reason to be happy when another brisk attack developed on the right. But what might have been the scoring pass went instead to a defender. Loughborough stormed 90 metres forward and winger Jack Stapley put power and pace into his attack. Waters improved and notched a penalty before the break.
The third quarter put paid to any notions of victory for Albanians as scrum half George de Cothi squirmed over obliquely from right to left. Waters converted and added yet another penalty.
The hosts were now too far in front but still everyone had a glimpse of the ‘might have beens’. The scrum, stalwart in adversity, provided good ball in midfield. Jack Daly fed Nick Foster, again standing in at fly half. Fozzie checked, as did the defence, and delivered an inch perfect pop pass to Craig Dowsett who made the Students defence look pedestrian at this late stage. Bednall converted but there were but five minutes left.
Play shifted rapidly to the other end and it seemed that there would be no further surprises. Yet a reset scrum was penalised on the Albanian line, a penalty try awarded and the teams changed places in the league pecking order.
Next week’s rest will undoubtedly come as a much-needed relief.
Press & Publicity
Match Preview [archive]
“The past should be confined to history”, a wise man once said. Apocryphal or not that statement is true…so long as bygone lessons are not forgotten! That is the task which confronts Coaches and Squad as all prepare for the visit to yet another in a long list of clubs whose results used to be listed late Saturday afternoon on BBC TV’s reportage.
Injuries and non-availability are outside the control of Head Coach Gavin Hogg and once more he is forced to shuffle and cut the cards containing the names of those who can travel and deal the playing hand which will outfox wily opponents. A rare responsibility in the circumstances!
As has been pointed out before despite being stretched to the limit the playing squad remains strong and confidence is high, just as it needs to be. Whatever misfortunes have occurred so far this year there have been plenty of high spots probably topped by the performances against high flying DMP and league leaders Coventry. It cannot be emphasised enough what has been achieved, for the past, our recent past, will teach us what is possible when our resources are husbanded carefully.
Loughborough will be another tough outing, but that is true for both sides. The result will almost certainly rest in the hands of those who want it most and it will be an exciting day in the Midlands!
Press & Publicity
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