Dings despair at OAs’ ten-try trouncing

OAs remain fifth in the table

National League 2 South

Old Albanians 62 Dings Crusaders 3

FRESH from taking the wind out of Worthing’s sails, OAs – despite some juggling of available manpower – breezed through this fixture. Earlier in the season away at Dings in Bristol, margins were tighter as a last minute James Shanahan drop goal just squeezed victory for the visitors.

In doing so OAs remain fifth in the League, but the logjam at the top of the last month is starting to disperse as both Worthing and Henley lost; this leaves them with 61 and 60 points respectively in front of bonus point-winning OAs on 59. Next week OAs travel to Henley. For Dings, level now on points with Barnes in the drop zone, an uncertain future awaits.

The manpower juggle brought a welcome first start for lock Jon Phillips, late of Northampton Saints, who put in a rugged performance. As Paul Gustard and Richard Gregg were unavailable on Saracens duty at Wembley, Ollie Marchon returned at full-back and Gregg’s kicking duties were shared between Shanahan, scrum half Jean-Baptiste Bruzulier and wing Chris May.

It only took three minutes for Dings to look aghast as the pace of Terry Adams took him along the right wing to score his first of two tries; a modest reflection of the damage he caused in the Dings defence but a tribute to his unselfish distribution. However, OAs contrived to leak penalties, three in the first eight minutes, one of which was slotted by Dings’ No 10, Steve Plummer.

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From that point on, it was all OAs. Dings are nothing if not stubborn and obdurate as the result down at Bristol showed. Away from home they were beaten by the sheer pace that OAs put on the ball to create space and wrong-foot defenders. A classic example was the second try which began from an OA lineout on Dings’ 22 mark and went from hand to hand, with Marchon’s pace allowing James Spiers on the wing an unobscured view of the try line.

Adams made all the running in the first of No.8, Andy Daish’s hat trick of tries. From a lineout on half way taken by Philips, Adams ran 30 metres into the Dings half to unload to May who fed Marchon and on to Daish to score in the right hand corner. Bruzulier converted the first three tries until his form or luck deserted him. Seven minutes later, a Shanahan cross-kick allowed Adams to take on the wing and feed Daish to plant his second over the line.

Two minutes later and a high kick out of the Dings’ defence led to the try of the afternoon. The kick had length as Marchon was in his own half when his catch was made. Where the kick went wrong was that it went not far enough towards touch and away from Dings’ own defenders. One such unfortunate approached Marchon, who by this time had got into Usain Bolt mode, and swerved round his man to hit the line 40 metres on untouched by human hand.

The second half started much as the first with Adams accepting a pass on the Dings 30-metre mark, swerving left then right to score, this time after four minutes. Upset by this dazzling show of pace and precision passing, the forwards then decided to get in on the act with a drive over from tight head prop, Marco Cecere after good approach work from Stu Bailey and Bruzulier, with the latter adding the extra two.

Wes Cope, on at hooker for Bailey, helped himself to the next try after another upfield drive ripped into the Dings defence. Cue May to try his luck with the conversions but his kick hit the crossbar. Daish’s hat-trick maker came from a tapped penalty 15-metres out from Dings’ try line, which May converted as he did for the final and very popular try scored by skipper, Lawrence White.

Dings, to their everlasting credit, never gave up despite the avalanche of scores being heaped upon them as OAs now stand with the second highest points difference in the table of 306 with only Hartpury College, currently second in the table, nine ahead on 315.

OAs: Marchon, May, Adams, Lombaard, Spiers, Shanahan, Bruzulier, Hughes, Bailey, Cecere, Cooper-Millar, Phillips, White �, Farenheim, Daish.

Reps: Cope, Ormesher, Micans, Evans, O’Keefe.