Fortunate Old Albanian come away with a happy Canterbury Tale

Ross Hamilton scored the second of the OAs tries. Photo: DAVID BUXTON

Ross Hamilton scored the second of the OAs tries. Photo: DAVID BUXTON - Credit: Archant

Old Albanian probably considered themselves fortunate to come away from this encounter with Canterbury with a 23-19 win and four league points.

But the fact is they made fewer mistakes in the filthy weather than did their hosts and were that much more careful at the tackle and breakdown.

Coupled with the fact that the visitors defence is a force to be reckoned with these days, this was sufficient to bring home the spoils.

Yet the slanting rain ensured that despite the best efforts of both sides this encounter was never going to be a thing of beauty and the wonder is that handling throughout was as good as it was.

Despite the above Albanians did begin by conceding four penalties in their own 22 and a driving lineout gave Tyler Edwards the lead for Canterbury, Tom Best converting.

Max Malins replied with two penalties and with 25 minutes gone Jimmy Speirs was on the end of a tidy overlap on the right.

Malins’ conversion was incredible in the circumstances.

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Minutes later Ross Hamilton forced the home defence giving his side an 11 point interval lead.

The OA lineout had been as tenuous as last week and the scrum as powerful but so many passes had gone behind the recipient during Albanian attacks that promising forays were delayed as players turned to retrieve the ball rather than simply running onto it.

Into the elements the Albanian game tightened up whereas Canterbury’s penalty count increased.

Scoreless for 25 minutes the second period livened up somewhat when Mason Rosvall kicked on and won the race for the line.

Then Malins took a hand again. Receiving a somewhat aimless kick on his own 10 metre line, the young fly half accelerated into opposition territory with a speed that beleaguered defenders were unable to match.

His touchdown gave Albanians the cushion they needed.

In stoppage time Harry Sayers scored Canterbury’s third try after another kick-and-chase and this converted try gave his side the deserved bonus point.

A’s move up a notch in the pecking order as a result of this close win and take on new leaders Taunton at Woollams on Saturday.

The Somerset side are well coached and full of talent as Coach James Shanahan knows well.

He said: “I’ve seen them on video several times this year and they are not top of the heap for nothing.

“We have our work to do but this is also a tremendous opportunity for Albanians.

“Once again attention to detail will be paramount. It should be a great afternoon.”

Kick-off is at 3pm.