OAs play with Power and Panache
Albanians welcomed this five point, six try victory over local rivals Bishops Stortford in fine style. But all are agreed there is much work to do to remain in National One at the end of this season.
This work may well focus on the generosity OAs seem to display when treating opponents to unforced errors and positional benefits when giving away needless penalties.
The first quarter showcased the best and worst of Albanian abilities when a rapidly gained fourteen point advantage was as swiftly allowed to vanish when Stortford gained parity. All this in the first fifteen minutes.
Stortford scrum power was a problem for OAs for the first hour and were it not for sturdy Albanian defence the result may well have been different.
Chris West, Man of the Match, and Jack Daly crossed first for OAs, each effort converted by Tom Bednall. Bill Roberts and Ryan Hutler replied in kind for the visitors and George Cullen made it all square. Matt Gallagher made it to the line on the half hour but Cullen reduced the deficit with a penalty.
A’s two point advantage held for a quarter of an hour when Tadgh McElroy charged over after two missed scoring opportunities. Bednall improved. Morgan Thompson and Reuben Bird-Tulloch both found holes when Albanian morale, lifted by the points margin, let the home attack finally express itself.
Just seven matches remain for Albanians to dig themselves out of the relegation zone, four of which are away fixtures. All three sides immediately above OAs have a match in hand and the least Gavin Hogg’s men have to do is to make up ten points on Loughborough Students who will visit March 10th after the Former Players lunch. Fylde are the only opponents below Albanians in the reckoning and they won at Woollams earlier in the season. If the Woollams players remember the sea change which took hold in the last quarter of Saturday’s match when they played with power and panache they have a good chance of remaining in this division. It will be close!
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