OA ship runs into troubled waters at Portsmouth
London One Portsmouth 23 Old Albanians 17 OLD Albanians were sunk by Portsmouth on Saturday after they could not repeat the quality shown in their previous London One fixture. With four enforced changes made to the side that had recorded an exhilarating
Portsmouth 23 Old Albanians 17
OLD Albanians were sunk by Portsmouth on Saturday after they could not repeat the quality shown in their previous London One fixture.
With four enforced changes made to the side that had recorded an exhilarating home win against Haywards Heath, OAs produced their worst away performance since the last time they sailed down to Portsmouth. Simon Gregory, known to OAs as one of their own, proved influential again for the hosts.
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Portsmouth made a lively start as they looked for their first win of the season and were soon 3-0 up with a penalty.
From the restart, OAs gave away another penalty and Aled Davies, making his debut, fielded well for what was to become a busy afternoon for him. Eddie Panting then put up a huge kick, which Portsmouth tried to counter quickly but fumbled and Dene Miller scooped up a loose ball to score under the posts for 3-7 after 10 minutes.
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The restart was poor and Matt Alford, who had a fine afternoon, was left to take up the charge. From a rare piece of possession, Mark Mansfield was hauled down close to the Portsmouth line. A messy lineout ensued, and Portsmouth were awarded a penalty after Bennet had held up a good Portsmouth attack and the hosts reduced the deficit to one point.
Gregg saw his long range penalty go close for OAs before Portsmouth hit the front with a converted try after Ollie Peck's clearance kick was charged down.
Alex Bennet took the home team on with some fine bullocking runs but the support was not there quickly enough and the frustration continued as Gregg hit the post with a penalty attempt from halfway.
Before the break, Eddie Panting was tackled just short of the line and OAs lost momentum before knocking on after stealing a line out.
Gregg converted a penalty early in the second half and with the score at 13-10 to the hosts, the OA backs began to spark. Peck, Davies and Panting all did well and Edwards produced a half break before, from a good driving maul with Mate and Bennet featuring well, OAs were awarded another penalty. Gregg again chose to kick but from distance struck his effort wide.
Finally, Portsmouth kicked a penalty to draw away and from another lost lineout, Portsmouth spun the ball wide for the centre to scythe through Miller's tackle to score. 23-10.
OAs made changes and Ed Orchard and Simon Lye came off the bench the bench but it seemed too late and it was left to the forwards to power over for a last minute consolation try. The final score was 23-17 to Portsmouth.
Next week, OAs entertain in-form Bishop's Stortford at home and will be looking for a huge improvement to galvanise the roaring OA faithful.