Much better effort from Old Albanian despite home defeat to Old Elthamians

Ali Crossdale was on the score sheet for Old Albanian against Old Elthamians. Picture: KARYN HADDON

Ali Crossdale was on the score sheet for Old Albanian against Old Elthamians. Picture: KARYN HADDON - Credit: Archant

Those who remember old-fashioned rugby, where power defeated promise, will have appreciated this offering – despite Old Albanian’s 24-15 defeat at home to Old Elthamians.

Old Albanian's Nick Foster. Picture: KARYN HADDON

Old Albanian's Nick Foster. Picture: KARYN HADDON - Credit: Archant

There were times, earlier in this season, when Albanian packs punched above their weight and shifted much vaunted opponents off even their own ball.

Too often lately the opposite has been the case with the decided disadvantage of the selection lottery.

This latest offering has given a measure of optimism, and praise is due in equal measure to the management team and the playing personnel.

On Saturday the tight scrum performed admirably and it should be no surprise that the backs benefitted accordingly.

Too many opportunities have gone begging in recent weeks and too much of that depends upon achieving and maintaining possession.

The performance against Old Elthamians showed what could be achieved even with limited possession.

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Jack Daly and, later, Morgan Thompson, are scrum halves of great fortitude, and the pair ensured their outside backs got every opportunity which came their way.

The backs were a mishmash of talent and each backed the other in assaulting the OE line.

Twice it worked in spectacular fashion.

Firstly Nick Foster rounded his non-plussed opponent and crossed close enough for a successful conversion from Tom Bednall.

Then came the move of the match.

Albanian were deep in their 22 when the ball went loose. Foster carried and released Ali Crossdale who was not going to be stopped 30 metres out.

Sam Lunnon’s yellow card followed along with a penalty try, and although Bednall kicked a penalty, Jay Rudland-Thomas pushed his entire scrum over the line and Joe Carlisle converted to put Elthamians to within a point at 15-14.

And any hopes OAs had of the victory were dashed as another penalty try and Carlisle’s late penalty sealed matters.

Albanian have two matches left before the Christmas period, although the first is the lengthy away trip to Plymouth Albion on Saturday.

They host Ampthill on December 23.