Malins four puts OAs top

Max Malins produced a man-of-the-match performance. Photo: DAVID BUXTON

Max Malins produced a man-of-the-match performance. Photo: DAVID BUXTON - Credit: David Buxton

Old Albanian Rugby Club moved back to the top of the National League Division Two South after this 34-5 win over Clifton.

It was arguably the most professional display this season by the Woollams-based side.

Despite missing three first choice backs and fielding a back row forward, Andrew Daish, on the left wing, Clifton had no real answer to the incisive running of Max Malins and Chris May.

The match was virtually decided in a searing five minute spell in the first quarter when Malins notched two of his four tries, sandwiching an effort by Jimmy Spiers.

Chris Lombaard, Nick Foster and Daish were also superbly evident in each attack.

When they were in possession, Clifton faced a troublesome wind and a resolute OA defence.

And though their scrum did well in the tight phases, they fared less well in broken play.

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However, the second quarter was scoreless and this was due to the fact that despite more Clifton possession and better field position there seemed no way through.

The Albanian bonus point was secured by Malins eight minutes into the second period when he also scored his second conversion but a clean lineout break eight minutes later allowed Sam Harrison the space he needed to break through for Clifton’s try.

Malins adjusted the margin at the end of the third quarter after sharp interpassing and the indefatiguable Harry Bate ended matters from close range with seven minutes to go.

Cambridge who started the day on top, also won but their 38-23 success at home to Redingensians allowed OAs to leapfrog them on points difference, by virtue of a mere eight points.