Long road trip ends in disappointment as Old Albanian are beaten by Darlington Mowden Park
- Credit: Archant
Three penalties was all Old Albanian Rugby Club could muster from their long trip to Darlington Mowden Park as they went down to a 22-9 defeat in National League One.
Ben Palmer kicked two and Chris May one and for a moment in the second half it looked as if Albanian may come away from the Northern Echo Arena with something.
But, although there was little to choose between the two sides, Darlington had just a little bit more than the side from St Albans.
The opening seven minutes had a lot to do with that and as starts go, this was awful for OAs.
May missed with an early penalty and within five minutes Albanian were a man down and DMP had grabbed two tries.
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Garret Doman-Cann was the man sent for an early break when he was penalised for collapsing a maul as the hosts rumbled towards the line.
From the penalty, DMP slipped the ball out wide for Brandon Staples to score.
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Caolan Ryan hit the near post from the conversion but was more successful a minute later when Darlington scored again.
This time it was hooker Santiago Socino who got it, finishing it off after a break by Ryan, and then Talite Vaioleti had punched holes in the Albanian defence.
The return of the OAs prop-forward saw the visitors finally get back in to the game and Doman-Cann almost scored late on in the first half but he was held up on the line.
However, that move saw Socino pick up a yellow, this time for leaving his feet at a ruck.
But bar the first few minutes of that spell, Albanian couldn’t threaten a score.
May had redeemed his self after that earlier miss by kicking a penalty on 31 minutes but wasn’t on the field 15 minutes into the second half when Palmer scored their second kick.
That came after a much brighter opening from the visitors with plenty of quick ball stretching the Mowden defence.
It led to Joe Craggs committing a late challenge on OAs player-coach James Shanahan and Palmer did the rest.
That already made this period more profitable than the last and another Palmer penalty pulled Albanian to within three.
But as the sin-bin came to an end, Albanian were punished at a scrum and Ryan kicked the penalty.
And any hopes of a dogged, come-from-behind win were extinguished 12 minutes from time thanks to Socino’s second.
It was again proof that the hosts were finding holes in the opposition defensive line on more regular occasions than OAs.
They couldn’t get the bonus point score but neither could Albanian get the converted score to grab a losing bonus point that perhaps their play deserved.
Old Albanian: Garside, Taylor, Doman-Cann, Bickle, Hamilton, Bate, Stevens, Lunnon, Gliksten, Shanahan, Dowsett, May, Lombaard, Speirs, Palmer
Replacements: Miles, Reed, Tuilagi, Thompson, Burgess
Penalties: May 31, Palmer 55, 61
Darlington Mowden Park: Nesbitt, Socino, Appleby, Vaioleti, Craggs, Staples, Mackenzie, Duff, Duchesne, Ryan, Auld, Frankland, Homan, Bragman
Replacements: Fearn, Wood, Freydell, Fitzpatrick, Allan
Tries: Staples 6, Socino 7, 68
Conversions: Ryan 7, 68
Penalties: Ryan 65
HT: Darlington Mowden Park 12 Old Albanian 3
Referee: Matt Turvey