Losing bonus point only reward for brave Old Albanian performance at Blackheath

PUBLISHED: 06:25 10 November 2016

Sam Lunnon escapes a Blackheath tackle. Picture: NEIL BALDWIN PHOTOGRAPHY

Sam Lunnon escapes a Blackheath tackle. Picture: NEIL BALDWIN PHOTOGRAPHY

Archant

Old Albanian Rugby Club put in a brave performance against Blackheath but ended up on the wrong side of a 13-7 score.

Morgan Thompson tries to get clear. Picture: NEIL BALDWIN PHOTOGRAPHYMorgan Thompson tries to get clear. Picture: NEIL BALDWIN PHOTOGRAPHY

The hosts had only lost twice going into the game and views differed in the clubhouse after this tight match as to the reason for their eighth success.

Some maintained Blackheath’s defensive effort was heroic whilst others were certain Albanians did not make the best of their chances, particularly in the scoreless second half.

Probably both factors played their part in an exciting if unmemorable encounter.

Blackheath took a workmanlike grip on the opening phase and threatened for fully 10 minutes.

OAs charge down a Blackheath clearance. Picture: NEIL BALDWIN PHOTOGRAPHYOAs charge down a Blackheath clearance. Picture: NEIL BALDWIN PHOTOGRAPHY

These assaults were thwarted by accomplished Albanian defending, which was rewarded in dramatic fashion when, with their first possession of the afternoon, they gained swift, trademark yardage for Jimmy Speirs to speed over by the posts.

A simple conversion followed.

It stung Blackheath into action and they were soon level.

Jamie Davies beat the defence to score in the corner and Simon Whatling converted successfully.

Billy Johnson on a typical charge. Picture: NEIL BALDWIN PHOTOGRAPHYBilly Johnson on a typical charge. Picture: NEIL BALDWIN PHOTOGRAPHY

He added two penalties before the break to end the scoring, if not the tension.

Albanians held sway for most of the second period in terms of territory and possession but they also racked up a far greater number of penalties than their opponents, which did not help the cause.

The pack performed well, especially in broken play, whilst the scrums and line-outs did not disappoint.

OAs had one final chance to breach the Blackheath line in the closing moments, only for a magnificent tackle by Davies to dislodge the ball from the hands of Speirs.

Runaway National One league leaders Hartpury College, who have won all 10 of their games this season, visit Woollams on Saturday.

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