Barnes blown away by OAs

National League 2 South

National League 2 South

Old Albanian 56

Barnes 12

OLD ALBANIAN warmed up for this weekend’s big derby match with Hertford with a comfortable victory over Barnes at Woollams on Saturday, writes Kate Barnes.

From kick off OAs stormed into Barnes’ territory with lock Marc Comb leading the way.

A wide miss pass in the backs - almost mimicking the opening move from last week - led to the opening try for the home team courtesy of scrum-half Jean-Baptiste Bruzulier. A snipe and dummy from Bruzulier baffled the opposition leaving a clear run for the scrum-half to score in the corner and this was converted by full-back Richard Gregg.

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Keeping hold of possession, OAs got quick ball to flanker Paul Gustard running from deep and a simple draw and pass down the blind side to hooker Wes Cope out on the wing worked well but the ball was turned over.

The game proceeded to continue with possession alternating between the two sides but Barnes failed to spin out clean passes under pressure from OAs who were winning collisions in tackle situations.

A glimmer of hope for Barnes came from a blindside move that put inside centre David Butler away but he was stopped in his tracks by a crunching tackle from Lloyd Bickle. Barnes were awarded a penalty 12 minutes into the game after OAs were caught offside but a missed kick from full-back James Clarke prolonged the Londoners’ wait for their first points of the game.

OAs continued to play in Barnes’ 22, and they looked threatening every time they had ball in hand. The hosts’ link up play between forwards and backs was smooth with back-row trio Andrew Daish, Gustard and Rob Farenheim all hungry for the ball.

They maintained OAs’ momentum and another try followed thanks to the quick reactions of Farneheim. The ball shot out the back of a Barnes’ scrum just shy of the try line and Farenheim was quickest to pounce and score the try which was again converted by Gregg.

Three more tries were scored in quick succession and another six points added courtesy of Gregg’s impeccable kicking prior to the interval.

First to cross the whitewash was wing Ollie Marchon accelerating down the wing before fly-half James Shanahan spotted a gap to score under the posts and wing Chris May crashed through the Barnes defence to give OAs’ a 35-0 half-time lead.

There was no let up in the second half as loose ball from a Barnes handling error was gathered and fed to inside centre Chris Lombard who scored not even three minutes into the second half.

The Woollams’ faithful was treated to more Champagne rugby from the backs as a dummy switch pop to Lombard and then a lovely pick and go from Bruzulier saw the ball spun out wide to Spiers who slipped in Marchon, again in support down the wing, to score. Gregg added the extras.

A number of replacements appeared to spark Barnes into life and the fresh legs helped them get on the scoreboard when a grubber kick through was grounded by replacement Williams.

Any feint hopes Barnes may have had of a fightback were soon extinguished when OAs’ Swedish international Andy Daish scored a pushover try which was converted by Gregg.

With a comfortable lead under their belts, OAs rang the changes introducing Mark Evans for Bruzulier and replacing Shanahan resulting in Gregg moving from full-back to fly-half.

With the end of the match looming and Barnes looking unlikely to score again Williams made a sudden break into OAs’ 22 and offloaded to Ciaran Smyth but Evans was on hand to make the try-saving tackle.

Barnes were determined to keep fighting and their spirit was rewarded with a try from Williams in the dying minutes but it was little more than a consolation for the visitors as OAs ended their two-game losing streak in the best possible fashion ahead of this weekend’s Hertfordshire derby.

OAs: Gregg, May, Spiers, Lombaard, Marchon, Shanahan �, Bruzulier, Cecere, Cope, Ross Comb, Bickle, Gustard, Farneheim, Daish. Reps: Spurling, Ormesher, Micans, Evans, O Keefe.