Narrow victory for Old Albanian on first visit to Bournemouth
- Credit: Archant
A trip to the seaside showed plenty of evidence of the tiny difference between joy and heartache in National Two South as Old Albanian held on to a 28-26 victory at Bournemouth.
The hosts came away with just one league point to show for all their stalwart efforts whilst Albanian made it a maximum five for the third week running to deepen Bournemouth's woe at the foot of the table.
Weather conditions were much more benign then they were for OAs last match against
This time there was no gale to blame or be thankful for and the pitch, sodden 24 hours earlier, stood up well to every pressure. Even the sun shone on this balmy January day.
Home scrum-half Grant Hancox produced a display that was more than worthy of any man of the match award and it ensured his side stayed in the contest at times when others might have given up the ghost.
More than that though he also put Bournemouth into the lead with two neat penalties after just 10 minutes.
This advantage remained until Albanians forced their first meaningful assault into Bournemouth territory on the half-hour.
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Three attacking five metre scrums were well defended until Chris Napier, a thorn in the hosts' side all afternoon, bundled over by the posts and Morgan Thompson converted.
Even reduced to 14 men following a yellow card to Roddy Giles, OAs' defence proved thunderous and they counter-attacked accurately enough for Joe Butler to intercept on halfway and stroll to the line.
Thompson's second conversion gave the visitors a useful 14-6 lead at the interval.
The pack largely took over the scoring duties in the second half and player-coach Nick Stevens bagged the third touchdown, improved once more by Thompson.
Hancox reduced the deficit a minute later with his third penalty and a much more difficult kick crowned Gianluca Firetto's try when he caught a catch and drive with 15 minutes remaining.
Albanian seemed to have settled matters three minutes with Josh Taylor and Thompson adding the seven points but Hancox kicked another penalty and then added a conversion to Alan Manning's try.
It brought the margin to just two points but that was as close as it was to get.