Gallery: Ellershaw shines in Herts derby triumph
National Three London & SE Old Albanian 34 Bishop s Stortford 15 AN UNANSWERABLE display of force from Old Albanian s forwards made up for a lacklustre afternoon in the three-quarters and did enough to subdue Bishops Stortford s lively backs, whilst grabb
National Three London & SE
Old Albanian 34 Bishop's Stortford 15
AN UNANSWERABLE display of force from Old Albanian's forwards made up for a lacklustre afternoon in the three-quarters and did enough to subdue Bishops Stortford's lively backs, whilst grabbing a bonus point to win the game by five tries to two.
Although OA started this match in second position in the league, Stortford in mid-table also had accrued twelve bonus points so far in the season.
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Right-winger Joe Clarke showed why they have been scoring four or more tries for a bonus point by providing the try of the match with an unstoppable first half sprint against the run of play from fully 40 metres.
By contrast, only the ever-menacing Tom Chesters and Terry Adams really threatened for OA but were let down by poor handling and back-up.
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Chesters at full-back took an Adams popped-up pass to score five minutes from full time in the corner.
Led by Man of the Match loose-head prop James Ellershaw, whose tackle rate was as good as any in the back row, OA forwards by contrast ran riot on the score sheet.
A try by Ellershaw was first after 10 minutes. From 30 metres out he knocked the Bishop's Stortford defenders aside like ninepins and strode to the try-line.
In full flight Ellershaw is a phenomenon to behold bouncing from defender to defender and continuing undaunted at high speed or taking ball from short range and forcing a ton of bodies over the line with him.
Unkind and ungrateful spectators have likened him to Mr Blobby on speed, and for a front-row forward to possess both bulk and pace is an eye-opener for the Woollams faithful, inured over the years to gnome-like second row and willowy props.
The next to score was tight-head prop Aaron Tarwera from a drive by Ellershaw which was halted, albeit briefly, as he popped the ball up for Tawera to dive over the line.
Fly-half Richard Gregg failed with this conversion but minutes later made amends with a penalty as Bishop's Stortford held on to the ball on the ground under severe OA pressure.
Then Stortford's pacy backs got their side back in the match, firstly with a penalty from fly-half Tom Coleman, followed up with Clarke's brilliant try.
So as the players went in with the half time score at 15-8, the crowd could hear every word of the full and frank exchange of views in the OA changing room.
Galvanised, OA stormed out, kicked off, drove at the Stortford defence and rode with skipper Lawrence White over the try line.
Having re-established their superiority the initiative again slipped and it wasn't until second row Marc Comb drove for the line after a sharp burst by Adams that this was reinforced with a four-try bonus point.
However, sensing that OA had relaxed, Stortford piled on the pressure again and scored courtesy of replacement hooker George Johnson who took advantage of both Adams and Comb receiving yellow cards at different times towards the close of the match. Coleman again converted from wide out.
But just to show who's boss and to seal a home and away double over the visitors, Chesters responded with his try despite the lack of manpower about him.
OA now face a rescheduled home game next week against North Walsham. Some newcomers were welcomed to today's side and may be paraded again next week - Stefan Liebenberg who deputised for the injured Mark Evans at scrum-half had a feisty game and it was good to give a first run-out to Chris Lombard and Jared Saunders, both of whom gelled well alongside the old stagers.
Simon Lye has also received praise after fighting hard to re-establish himself in the pack, filling in at second row in the absence of Alex Bennett.
OA: Ellershaw, Botterman, Tarwera, Comb, Lye, Bache, White, Hamilton, Leibenberg, Gregg, Panting, Edwards, Adams, May, Chesters. Reps: Saunders, Alford, Lombaard.