Bittersweet memories as Old Albanian come close to shocking Plymouth Albion

PUBLISHED: 16:48 25 January 2017

Harry Bate in action for the Old Albanians

Harry Bate in action for the Old Albanians

Archant

A bruising affair at Woollams on Saturday saw Old Albanian come within 10 minutes of upsetting high-flying Plymouth Albion in National One before succumbing to a 18-13 loss.

The hosts will take bitter-sweet memories from this encounter but will certainly be happy with a losing bonus point which keeps them in ninth position.

Mistakes were few this time out and thus second placed Plymouth were pushed to the limit and came close to defeat.

To come this close to beating a consistently strong outfit like Albion will be an occasion of pride for those involved but head coach James Shanahan, though pleased with the sterling effort, was somewhat frustrated in his match summation.

As expected, the visitors fielded a mighty pack which set about the battering work with a will. Yet they got little change from motivated Albanian forwards whose tackling and ball retention was a delight to the purist eye.

Shanahan declared himself happy with the scrummaging effort for the most part and the line-out was far more dependable than of late.

Both points are especially encouraging bearing in mind the personnel changes which have to be allowed for most weeks. Possession gained at the ‘coal face’ will stand OAs in good stead in the contests to come.

It took 10 minutes for Albion to open their account with a Will Hooley penalty. Ben Palmer evened things up shortly after and the home full-back gave his side the lead with his second attempt on the half hour.

Hooley levelled things up after the break before Dean Squire, a live wire in Plymouth’s centre, squirmed into the corner for the first try of the afternoon, which was converted.

The hour mark had passed when Nick Foster, for the second week in succession, stole away from a threatening situation and easily outpaced a startled defence. Palmer’s conversion again equalised.

Ten nail-biting minutes remained but it was the other Plymouth centre Harry Strong who broke the deadlock and OA resistance with a storming try which Hooley was just unable to improve.

Darlington Mowden Park are Saturday’s visitors and they have been in good form recently following a somewhat shaky start. Kick-off is at 3pm.

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