Avalanche of mistakes from both sides bury Old Albanian at Rosslyn Park

PUBLISHED: 17:15 20 January 2017

Nick Foster grabbed a try for OAs at Rosslyn Park. Picture: KEVIN LINES

Nick Foster grabbed a try for OAs at Rosslyn Park. Picture: KEVIN LINES

Archant

It looked for a while like Rosslyn Park were going to avenge their defeat to Old Albanian at Woollams in September in some style.

But a veritable avalanche of mistakes from both sides and a doughty example of defence for almost the entire match by the visitors ensured daylight in the 35-17 win only appeared as the contest drew to a close.

Certainly Albanian will look closely at their tight scrum and the line-out before venturing out against Plymouth next week.

The mechanics of the scrum worked well considering the enforced personnel changes but there seemed to be trouble freeing up the ball from the back row. It took until the second period for this problem to be ironed out.

The line-out is a greater worry and either the execution needs practise or the whole approach needs to be simplified. For sure this phase of the afternoon gained Albanians very little though Park were slow to take full advantage.

What Park did do was to take the opportunity to dance through two elements of loose OA tackling in the first half and Hugo Ellis darted in from 30 metres. Harry Hudson did almost the same, still in the first quarter and Harry Leonard converted both.

Sam Lunnon then took advantage of slow reactions and sauntered over by the posts after a quickly-taken short penalty. Ben Palmer converted.

A seven point difference at half time was less than a frustrated crowd expected and things got worse for home supporters.

From the restart the hosts besieged the Albanian 22 for fully 18 minutes and, as the fourth quarter loomed, had nothing to show for it.

However, terrific defence eventually bore fruit for the visitors as Nick Foster intercepted from a Park mistake and raced in from fully 70 metres, close enough for Palmers perfunctory improvement.

Charles Piper restored the home lead with a bustling run and Palmer closed the OA account with a penalty shortly after. Hudson and Piper both crossed in the closing moments.

Albanian’s league position of ninth in National One remains unchanged and plans are now well in hand for the challenge from the West Country.

If the above mentioned details are addressed there is every reason for confidence.

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