A Quarrel with the Wirral!
Five matches on the trot have seen Albanians gain four try bonus points and four of those fixtures have been won. The desperate relegation dogfight continued against gallant Caldy who appeared somehow out of sorts at least for the first hour. So it seemed at any rate in the early stages when, with the wind at their backs, they conceded three tries and answered with two penalties.
The Cambridge pack had very much the upper hand at scrum time before Easter and such lessons as there were to learn were put into practice this week. Charlie Hughes would argue that his return made the difference and he has a substantial point! Joel Kpoku’s mighty presence was a driving feature in tight and loose.
Jack Daly, OA scrum half, made the necessary ground for Tom Bednall to dot down and convert after just three minutes and the fly half was successful with a penalty shortly after. Ben Jones answered with a penalty for the visitors on fifteen minutes but Daly took advantage of an unstoppable Nick Foster break seven minutes later. Bednall improved before Jones added a second penalty.
Foster recovered lost possession for Kpoku’s mighty charge and Dom Morris was on hand to finish.
The interval score was 22-6 but Ollie Morris outdid his brother when his searing dash wide on the right took him past the static Caldy defence for the bonus point. Bednall converted brilliantly from the touchline.
No 8 Joe Dickenson scored the visitors first try eight minutes into the second period to narrow the margin but his opposite number, Andy Christie, continued the Albanian charge, Bednall again successful with the kick.
Ten minutes from the end Jones scored and converted the second Caldy try but this was equalled in short order by Dom Morris for Morgan Thompson to convert. Throughout this encounter the two stand out players for the visitors were locks Nick Gray and Tom Sanders who both put in titanic shifts. So it was appropriate that Gray would lead the final Caldy attack and his slick back-hand pass to winger Joe Royle, who crossed on the wide right, was warmly applauded by the large crowd. Jones conversion brought matters to a close.
As a result of the weekend evolutions Loughborough Students are one point nearer but with a game in hand. Hull Ionians startling demolition of Plymouth means they are still seven points to the good. Everything is still to play for when we head to OEs next Saturday.
Press & Publicity
Man of the Match
Caldy come to visit.
Caldy’s first visit to Woollams takes on added significance, at least for the hosts, since there are now just four matches left in this campaign; four matches in which Albanians have to garner enough league points to remain in the third tier of English Rugby.
Interestingly nobody can, at this late stage, put an exact figure on how many points are necessary to do this particular job but it goes without saying that the safest course would be to win all four contests. Naturally our opponents, starting with the men from Cheshire, will have a significant amount to say about matters.
Caldy can feel proud of the way they have approached their first season in National One, safely ensconced in mid table as the season enters the endgame. No potential relegation worries for them.
OAs have had a good month if you discount the last half hour against Cambridge and the three victories in a row before the visit to the Fens have given the club more hope than perhaps was thought possible at the end of February.
Some stalwarts are missing: Ross Hamilton, Tim Bond and Sam Lunnon in particular. But the forwards will be boosted by the commanding presence of Joel Kpoku who makes his debut this weekend and Charlie Hughes will be welcomed back into the front row.
The Morris brothers (nothing to do with folk dancing!) will add even more bounce to a talented back line. The half backs and the back three line up as they did a fortnight ago.It is now up to the squad to produce enough firepower to overcome four sets of talented opponents and there has been sufficient evidence through the past six months that survival is possible. In lieu of the likes of Coventry and Bishops Stortford doing us some favours this month we must make the possible probable.
Press & Publicity
|Old Albanian Sports Club, 160 Harpenden Rd, St Albans AL3 6BB, UK|