Flying OA wingers run Redruth ragged
Bonus-point win lifts OAs above visitors
National League 2 South
Old Albanian 50 Redruth 7
REDRUTH made the journey to St Albans in private vehicles and returned in as much disarray from their first ever meeting with OAs.
Last week they crept up to fifth place in the League at OAs expense despite OAs’ win away to Clifton. Now the situation has reversed as the home side cruised to a bonus point in the first half to establish a four point margin and a points difference of 203.
Until seven minutes into the second half, this was the most absorbing, visceral, in-your-face contest that has ever been seen at Woollams. At that moment in the match, OAs’ No 8, Paul Gustard, was yellow carded and with the scores unchanged from the interval 24-7, it looked like Redruth might break back and do as other sides have done by wresting the game from the home side in the second half.
Redruth’s penalty went just short of half way and from the ensuing lineout they lost the ball which went at high speed across the OA threequarter line to James Speirs on the right wing who beat three men to score before Richard Gregg converted.
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Gregg also slotted four other conversions whilst his opposing kicker, high-scoring No 10 Aaron Penberthy, had only the one. The absence of penalty goals despite the continual war of attrition amongst both forwards and backs is a tribute to OAs’ restraint. Their total match penalties against amounted to six and, to their credit, this was the same total for the visitors in a match tightly controlled by referee Simon McConnell and his team.
Fielding massive front five forwards and a hard-working back row, Redruth looked the part right from the kick-off. However, they reckoned without OAs’ philosophy of keeping the ball in hand – and out of harms way – which rendered the huffing and puffing superfluous. Few scrum situations were given away by OAs with their lightweight second row, in which Ollie Cooper-Millar starred with his supercharged work-rate and lineout catches. Led by skipper, Lawrence White, the OAs back row dominated most of the encounters when the ball went loose.
Redruth’s tactic of hoisting of high ball for their chasing pack died in the hole as some memorable catches of the approaching bombs were made by Speirs, Gregg and lock, Lloyd Bickle with a spectacular pick-up and feed to the threequarters which saw left winger, Ollie Marchon, speed 75 metres to score his first of a hat-trick of brilliant tries.
As the bombs were the only attacking ploy Redruth seemed disposed to use, their time in OAs’ half of the field was brief. After only two minutes, flanker, Rob Farenheim touched down, only to be hauled back for a knock-on. The ensuing scrum was cleared to half way from which an OA lineout began a passing sequence from Jean-Baptiste Bruzulier, James Shanahan, Terry Adams and Cooper-Millar, who fed Speirs for his first of two. Uncharacteristically, Gregg missed this kick.
Chris Lombaard was next on the scoresheet with one of his direction-shifting runs from a lineout to score under the posts, just as he did at Hertford. But on the 20 minute-mark, the visitors fought back as Adams – who also had a try disallowed - attempted a tap through their three quarter line, it was caught in spectacular fashion by Redruth skipper, Craig Bonds, and, with the whole OA defence wrong footed, he ran back untouched and fed to centre partner, Jamie Semmens, who scored for Penberthy to convert.
There then followed 10 minutes of Redruth pressure on the OA line with the visitors increasingly looking like they would catch up before half time. Pick-and-go after pick-and-go saw the OA defence stretched to breaking point but a penalty award to OAs lifted the siege to a roar of applause from the OA past-players in good voice after a thoroughly well-lubricated lunch. As Redruth’s lock earned himself a yellow card with only four minutes to half-time, a scrum on his side’s 35-metre mark was wheeled and re-awarded to OAs from which Marchon was fed by Bruzulier on the blind side to duplicate his dash to the line, this time under the posts.
After Redruth saw the match go beyond recall in the early minutes of the second half, there were scores from the prolific Marco Cecere after a lineout drive from five metres, Marchon’s third and a try from Andy Daish, on his return from international duty with Sweden.
OAs: Gregg, Speirs, Adams, Lombaard, Marchon, Shanahan, Bruzulier, Hughes, Cope, Cecere, Bickle, Cooper-Millar, White �, Farenheim, Gustard.
Reps: Bailey, Daish, May, Micans, Ross.