Five star OA
National Three, London & SE Havant 0 Old Albanian 33 OA s bandwagon continues to gain momentum with another emphatic victory on the road. Their latest victims were home specialists, Havant, who were stunned by four tries from in-form OA within the opening
National Three, London & SE
Havant 0 Old Albanian 33
OA's bandwagon continues to gain momentum with another emphatic victory on the road.
Their latest victims were home specialists, Havant, who were stunned by four tries from in-form OA within the opening 20 minutes.
Applying what has become, officially, the meanest defence across the South and Midlands at National level, The Woollams Men consolidated their advantage for the rest of the game before Aaron Tarwera added a fifth in the dying moments.
As club records tumble, their latest clean sheet means that OA have now recorded over four hours of rugby without having conceded a single point.
- 1 Body of man in his 40s found in Hemel Hempstead
- 2 Trains between St Albans and Luton cancelled due to fire
- 3 Three rail and bus strikes in London and the East this week
- 4 Hertfordshire under Met Office yellow warning for storms
- 5 Motorcyclist in serious but stable condition after B556 London Colney crash
- 6 Main footpath closed while CCOS South work underway
- 7 Married at First Sight: St Albans' Whitney wants to walk down the aisle
- 8 Motorbike strikes barrier on North Orbital Road near St Albans
- 9 Man threatened officers with 'bomb' at police station
- 10 Man arrested following alleged St Albans M&S theft
Selection did not run smoothly in the run up to the action, however.
Injuries over the previous seven days led to a reorganised pack with Simon Lye stepping up to replace Ross Hamilton in the second row and Graham Smith making his full debut after a string of irresistible performances in the IIs.
Both men slipped smoothly into the pattern of play as OA's forwards established the early dominance which, together with collective responsibility, has been the key to their amazing run of success.
A last minute hitch saw Sam Townsend step up from the bench to start on the wing.
In a wonderful display of versatility, Townsend sped in to score the second try, set up by a slick interchange between props Ellershaw and Tarwera, before resuming a more familiar role in the back row after the break.
In between, the ex-Colt even had a spell at hooker, as Director of Rugby, Bruce Millar rang the changes to get the best from the 18 who had made the trip with the second team squad, themselves winners by 51 points to 12.
Paul Mansfield put in his trademark show of Welsh steel at number eight and opened the scoring after six minutes of play, breaking from the scrum.
Before Havant had settled, OA struck again as Mark Evans was fed by Richard Gregg from a short line out and the 'razor sharp' scrum half cut a straight path through a surprised defence.
In the next attack, Evans supplied Ellershaw and the big prop jinked his way over the line to add to his tally as his team's top try scorer.
Gregg was again on target, in difficult kicking conditions and, with an hour still on the clock, Havant set a 26-point deficit.
The Hampshire side looked to a swift, and well drilled, back line to get them back into contention and full back, James McCann, together with Sid Claffey, their powerful inside centre, started to orchestrate a lively response.
Their new signing, Jarryd Robinson, based on the Isle of Wight, used his uncanny acceleration to set up promising opportunities on both flanks, whilst being forced himself into twice kicking ahead as the close attention of Miller, Adams and co. showed no direct way through.
OA achieved a crucial turn defending a five-metre scrum and then went close themselves as they tried to punish the home side for a high clearance which went astray.
Havant restarted with an over combative Claffey 'in the bin'. Undeterred, they pressed on from a generous period of advantage to run a penalty, only to be repelled on one flank and then the other after a clever switch of play.
Terry Adams also saw yellow as the drizzle set in and, though conditions steadily deteriorated, Simon Lincoln was able to maintain an inspirational performance from full back where he produced a string of exhilarating counter attacks.
Despite the early 2pm kick off, necessary in the absence of floodlighting at the Hook Lane ground, the gloom descended over the final quarter and, with the light, any hope of a home revival faded.
OA mounted their last thrust at the line and Havant's desperate efforts to hold out, resulted in a yellow card for their hooker. Seizing their opportunity, The Woollams Men called a penalty scrum and from the resulting drive Tarwera rumbled over, and Gregg added a difficult conversion.
A small band of away supporters joined the players in acknowledging a fine win but the strains of the club song had hardly died before coach, Mark Langley was focusing his players' minds on next Saturday's potential 'banana skin' with Tring (KO 3pm).
OA: Lincoln, Townsend, Adams, Edwards, Miller, Gregg, Evans, Ellershaw, Botterman, Tawera, Comb, Lye, Smith, White, Mansfield
Reps: Hughes, Burr, Panting.