Ealing come out on top of shootout with OAs

Old Albanians vs Ealing

Old Albanians vs Ealing - Credit: Archant

Offence was the order of the day at Woollams on Saturday and OAs came out second best in a shootout with Ealing Trailfinders.

It was never going to be an easy task for Old Albanian to take on a Trailfinders side fresh from their Championship endeavours writes Brian Quinn.

But it was always going to be an exciting afternoon and in the long run it seems A’s will have gained valuable experience this early in the season. This was particularly the case in the third quarter when the hosts had the temerity to reduce a 27 point deficit to the value of one solitary, successful goal kick.

Seventy seven points meant great entertainment for the crowd and headaches for both defence coaches. Ealing will be concerned that their opponents were able to breach their hitherto unbroken lines three times in less than a quarter of an hour and did it after apparently being beaten out of sight in the first half. Albanians will have nagging worries that they don’t start quick enough, the pace of the game occasionally eludes them at this highest level, and some unforced errors are still in evidence. Albanians have a little work to do before next week’s visit to Coventry but will be cheered at scoring thirty points against illustrious Ealing.

Will Magie, an Ealing veteran, opened the scoring with an A’s penalty a minute into this whirlwind game. James Love missed the chance to equalise five minutes later but by the end of the first quarter the visitors had gained a penalty try and a lead they were not to lose. The lineout was firm enough and despite the scrum appearing under pressure two strikes were secured against the head, always pleasing for a tight forward.

Magie closed the gap to a point but Ealing skipper Tom Brown charged over direct from a scrum, Love converting. Then a dropped pass allowed Phil Chesters through on the left and he repeated the dose for Ealing’s bonus point when A’s conceded a penalty in midfield eight minutes before the break.

Clever work by Matt Jarvis gave Daniel Kenny free range four minutes later for Love to convert and take the Ealing score to 33.

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Then Albanians dramatically took control for the next twenty minutes and it was almost as if another gear had been found in the transmission. Skipper Billy Johnson and centre Elliott Reeder were the prime movers in this resurgence and it was Johnson who crossed after a clever box kick. He was over again three minutes later from another charging run, Reeder converting both. Mike Allan scored A’s third try at the end of the third quarter for Reeder to improve again and the centre’s penalty left his side just three points adrift.

Ealing desperately pulled their game together and showed their Championship experience in the last ten minutes when Alex Penny and Brown cleaved through OA ranks. Love converted both to bring an enthralling match to a close.

Head Coach Andy Holloway was disappointed at the end but took comfort in the second half performance.

“Now we must try to do that for the entire game,” he said.