OA’s search for elusive first win continues

Elliott Reeder kicks a conversion. Picture: Kevin Lines

Elliott Reeder kicks a conversion. Picture: Kevin Lines - Credit: Archant

Old Albanian’s search for an elusive first victory this season goes on after a patchy display in the North East, writes Brian Quinn.

Precision and discipline are necessary at this level if meaningful progress is to be made and neither quality was in evidence for the entire encounter. It does have to be said that the visitors also suffered a deal of bad luck since the first scoring opportunities which came their way could have put Blaydon on the back foot from the second minute.

A neat grubber kick rolled over the try line out on the right and Chris May won the race for the touch down. Referee and touch judge could not agree on the score so the try was disallowed and the first crucial strike went begging.

Still, Sam Lunnon and the back row were making their presence felt as play lurched up and down field for the rest of the first quarter.

A poor defensive clearance gave the hosts good field possession and Chris Wearmouth was driven over the line after a catch and drive from a lineout close in. Andrew Baggett converted. Wearmouth scored again with seven minutes left of the half as OA’s cohesion deserted them.

Mike Allan showed what could be achieved when he sped over in the corner as the half wound down and Jack Daly proved his worth immediately after the restart when he skipped through a fractured Blaydon defence for Elliott Reeder to convert.

Scores remained even for just three minutes and when Matthew Jenkinson was pushed over Blaydon gained the momentum they needed.

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The referee lost patience with Billy Johnson who was sin-binned after 13 minutes and Baggett kicked the resulting penalty. Johnson’s return, however, could not stop Baggett’s try, which brought up Blaydon’s bonus point.

OAs regrouped and, after they tied up the Blaydon defence in midfield, Nick Stevens cantered over, making good use of a two-man overlap on the left. Richard Gregg’s conversion gave hope to the visitors with 10 minutes left but this was eradicated when Nathan Bailey scored Blaydon’s fifth try and Baggett’s conversion ended the match.

Wharfedale visit Woollams next weekend and will not make OA’s search for a first win any easier. OAs will be working on ball retention and discipline in the meantime.