James Shanahan ends his time at OA with emphatic win

Action from Old Albanian's win against Tynedale. Picture by EG Baldwin Photography

Action from Old Albanian's win against Tynedale. Picture by EG Baldwin Photography - Credit: Archant

MAESTRO James Shanahan bid farewell to his charges at Woollams last Saturday with a commanding performance against Tynedale writes Brian Quinn.

As an example of leadership by example this has rarely been equalled in several seasons and he leaves St Albans for the balmy South West next month to take up the new challenge offered by Plymouth Albion and the Championship. All that those left behind now have to do is ensure his legacy is not left in vain.

Tynedale had been A‘s first National One opponents back in early September and gave their visitors somewhat of a reality check, so this encounter provided an interesting yardstick reflecting how much has been learned in the past seven months.

Nothing went right for Tynedale from the kick-off and when Albanians received the first possession Mike Allan sped into the opposition’s 22. After ignoring a kick at the posts and opting for a lineout, OAs were eventually awarded a penalty try after sustained pressure. Richard Gregg converted.

Eight minutes later with play still in the Tynedale half Billy Johnson made a telling incursion and handed the scoring pass to the industrious Ollie Cooper-Millar. Gregg was again successful with the kick.

Albanian pressure was still inexorable and Matt Chambers bustled through a flailing defence for the third try. Goaded into desperate measures Tynedale fought their way into Albanian territory until a loose pass was intercepted by Ollie Marchon who sped to the posts for the bonus point.

Terry Adams increased Tynedale’s misery five minutes later and Shanahan himself obliged with a virtuoso break just before the interval. Gregg landed both kicks to leave the half time score 38-0.

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The visitors’ had Graeme Dunn and David Cherry yellow carded at the end of the first half and thus restarted two men down. Undaunted they tore into the wind and Harry Mountain opened their account, , George Cullen converting.

Adams then received a 10-minute rest for not releasing and it was a further 10 minutes before the scoreboard moved again, Billy Johnson surging over the line for Gregg to notch his fifth conversion.

Tynedale reeled once more when Matt Hankin took the ball from the restart and charged 60 metres to the line. This time Sam Stanley got the extras. But the visitors had not come all that way just to sit on the touchline. In the last three minutes of the match Sam Reynolds and Tom Bramwell both crossed the OA line to add respectability to their total.

It was left to Shanahan to end the game, the season and his tenure in fitting style with a trademark dash on the left.