Gallery: Mistakes continue to cost winless OAs

Brett McNamee is prevented from scoring after the ball is held up

Brett McNamee is prevented from scoring after the ball is held up - Credit: Archant

Old Albanian went into this match on the back of three straight losses and were hoping to make up some of the ground lost since the season’s start, writes Brian Quinn.

A certain lack of pace and an inability to deal with Blackheath’s astute kicking game brought these hopes to nought and OAs go next week to Rosslyn Park still looking for the first win of the campaign.

The back row started with vigour yet it was the Blackheath half backs who took early control and Jake Bedding showed remarkable enterprise when, from a short penalty, he tore through the defence for fly half Alex Gallagher to convert.

Muddled play from both sides yielded penalties and lost possession but 15 minutes in, full back Mike Canty proved quick enough to scoot round a despairing defence on the right. Gallagher did the same almost immediately after and successfully converted both efforts.

OAs concentrated. Having given, for the third time this season, a 20-plus point benefit to their opponents an opportunity was smartly taken. Jimmy Speirs cleverly opened the home account almost from the restart and Elliott Reeder converted. However he missed the improvement of Billy Johnson’s bullocking try just before half time.

So far the Blackheath kicking game had given them positional advantage and OA’s unforced errors had not helped but the penalty count now seemed to favour Johnson’s men. This, however, did not seem to provide any territorial advantage.

After the restart, play gradually moved to Blackheath territory. Lineout and scrum gave the hosts sufficiency of possession but a plethora of errors couldn’t make it count.

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Gallagher’s boot exacted positional penalties and they kicked their way back into OA’s half and Harry Fry scored the visitors’ bonus point try. Full-back Canty was put free moments later and Gallagher’s two conversions sealed his side’s accomplished victory.

Head coach Andy Holloway said: “We must start with more urgency and more precision. We have the ability to thrive in this division but that will not happen if we sit back and let any of our opponents dictate play.

“Too many opportunities have gone begging and we have reaped what we have sown. It’s time to change that.”

This Saturday OAs travel to Rosslyn Park, kick-off at Roehampton is 3pm.