Blackheath show there is still work to be done for OAs

Brett McNamee carries the ball forward

Brett McNamee carries the ball forward - Credit: Archant

Blackheath 33 Old Albanian 8

OA's maul the ball towards the line

OA's maul the ball towards the line - Credit: Archant

Old Albanian came to the Rectory Field confident in the knowledge that their narrow loss the previous week to a rampant Coventry side should stand them in good stead against opponents who had won their last two games, writes Brian Quinn.

Never assume! Basically OAs were not in the hunt this week and, truth to tell, once more were, in many ways, the architects of their own destruction. Club attended to business in a perfectly orderly manner without, at any time, setting the world alight and when they made mistakes, which happened occasionally, they recovered quickly and without panic. Opportunities offered were snapped up with alacrity and, all in all, they can be pleased with their third win in a row.

Defence proved the greatest difference between the sides, however. Almost whenever OAs threatened there was an immediate response from Blackheath which either drove the offenders back or, worse, turned over possession. It is very difficult for a side under the cosh to provide a coherent attack when field position and ball possession is constantly in jeopardy. Though this is certainly the way the game should be played.

For the second week in a row the match was subject to a blustery wind which favoured the hosts in the first period. With the breeze or against it Club dealt with the conditions better than the visitors throughout and three minutes after kick-off lock George Oram crashed over for the opening try which Ryan Squires converted.

The next half hour will not be remembered as OA’s finest but it was Richard Gregg who provided some respite with his penalty 25 minutes in after Club prop Aston Croall was sin-binned. However, Squires barrelled over in the corner and the conversion left OAs trailing 14-3 at the break.

The third quarter found the visitors with wind advantage but error strewn and gradually the Blackheath lineout gained supremacy. Geoff Griffiths took advantage after 17 minutes of the half and the excellent Squires improved once more.

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Jordi Pasqualin made the most of an opportunity to crash over with 20 minutes left but that closed OA’s account.

Dave Allen provided Blackheath with the try-scoring bonus point and Griffiths added his second as the match came to an end.

Rosslyn Park have lost but three times this year and they visit Woollams this weekend. January can still be a worthwhile month for Billy Johnson’s men but, once more, attention to detail will be high on the agenda during training this week.