OAs in narrow 15 – 16 loss against bottom of the table FyldeEvery season contains a match like this and every club suffers during this type of encounter with a certain lack of a green rub, peculiar injuries, wrong decisions and the like. Albanians will hope the unhappy set of circumstances which played out last weekend will prove sufficient torment for this campaign year.
All considered it was not a great spectacle but the overriding factor is that Fylde took more of their chances than did their hosts. It matters not that the winning kick crawled over the crossbar in the last minute or the forty first minute but it does feel cruel when there is not the time to answer such a crucial blow. Having said that the visitors are to be congratulated on their win, certainly after the months they have endured; Albanians will bide their time until the visit to Lancashire in March.
Two Greg Smith penalties in the first quarter of an hour were answered by Dan Watt’s effort on thirty minutes. The remainder of the half belonged to OAs. First Jack Daly split the Fylde midfield with a neat grubber. Joe Bridger’s pace was sufficient to outmatch the defence and Watt’s conversion gave his side the lead for the first time.
Then, in time added, Bridger notched his second which this time Watt couldn’t improve. The points advantage let Albanians look to the second half with some confidence but Fylde had other ideas.
Chris Friers took off through a defence which couldn’t close him down and Smith’s conversion put his side a scant two points behind.
Albanians rumbled forward again and gained territorial ascendancy for fully twenty minutes. Attacking pressure forced the visitors into penalty concessions, none of which yielded reward for the hosts. In modern rugby if you get close to the target you have to score or risk handing a morale benefit to your opponents.
Fylde took this benefit upfield and held it there as the match wound down. One penalty, just within range, was all Smith needed to clinch the points just before no side.
Next week’s fixture at Loughborough now has heightened importance since OAs are now just a League point away from the relegation zone and the students will be only too aware of their opportunity.
A busy week awaits.
Brian QuinnPress & Publicity
Match Preview [archive]
Many of the players who put up such an heroic showing against Bishops Stortford last week will be called upon for a repeat performance this coming Saturday against League strugglers Fylde. Their lowly position may well be ignored by students of OA history since they had the beating of Rosslyn Park four tries to two at the tail end of September. It will be remembered with some anguish what Park did to Albanians a scant four weeks before so nothing will be taken for granted this weekend.
Much of the pack will be as selected last week with the exception of James Docherty who is on loan from Richmond and is brought in as cover for the potential absence of Charlie Hughes. It remains to be seen if the doughty Hughes recovers sufficiently to take his place in the starting lineup or on the bench.
One of our three scrum halves in last weeks match, Morgan Thompson, will not appear this week courtesy of a hamstring strain and it is hoped Jack Bradford will be stepping back into the breach. More anon.
Fylde are one of the several clubs in this division from what may be considered the old ‘Premiership’ since many of our older members grew up reading their results on a Saturday evening. Billy Beaumont has other things on his mind these days but his traditions loom large over the Lancashiremen and surely his good wishes go with them.
We must seek to disappoint him again!
Kickoff 15.00hrs.Brian Quinn
Press & Publicity
|Old Albanian Sports Club, 160 Harpenden Rd, St Albans AL3 6BB, UK|