OA sink plucky Pompey
National Three, London and SE Old Albanian RFC 18 Portsmouth RFC 12 OLD ALBANIAN were obliged to stage a fine, second half recovery to overhaul a feisty Portsmouth side who had arrived at Woollams determined to grab their first away points of the season.
National Three, London and SE
Old Albanian RFC 18 Portsmouth RFC 12
OLD ALBANIAN were obliged to stage a fine, second half recovery to overhaul a feisty Portsmouth side who had arrived at Woollams determined to grab their first away points of the season.
OA's tend to reserve their best form for the top teams and once again took too long to get into their stride against a side they were generally expected to beat. Without the services of James Ellershaw and Alex Bennett, however, they struggled against a powerful away pack until Gregg Botterman's injection of craft and grunt began to make a difference after the break.
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As The Woollams Men became more frustrated, their opponents maintained a steady tempo and did enough to win a succession of penalties within kickable distance for fly half, James McSeveny.
Their Kiwi star, who recently arrived from North Island with centre Darryl Wihapi, used the perfect conditions to land four, consecutive kicks posting 12 unanswered points after 21 minutes of play.
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Thriving on his share of possession, McSeveny was busy orchestrating the majority of attacking efforts on show, such that OA's were left with the consolation of Richard Gregg's penalty after a late tackle had ended a rare home attack five minutes before the break.
OA's finally began to settle and twice went close to scoring in the opening action of the second period.
Paul Gustard and James Hearn combined well to set up a drive which was halted just short of the line.
The next thrust won them a penalty which Gregg coolly despatched and his side set about the business of finding a way through Pompey's massed ranks.
When OA's forced another penalty close to the line their scrum appeared to set itself for a push over but, in the event the ball was channelled back to Gustard who broke from behind and finished decisively. OA's edged in front for the first time as Gregg's conversion found the mark.
OA's struck again with 63 minutes on the clock, thanks to a brave individual effort from returning marksman Ed Panting.
Terry Adams, who had already done his fair share of defending, started the move close to half way. Having received the ball in full stride, Panting still had plenty to do to score the points but the winger took the responsibility to go all the way resisting a heavy challenge en route, designed to deposit him in touch.
Some of Portsmouth's defenders were beginning to show the effects of their earlier labours and OA's created two chances to kill off the game in quick succession.
First, Simon Lincoln was on the end of a smart movement undone by the quality of the final pass to him and then Adams, himself, looked odds-on to touch down but knocked on after Gregg had conjured up another gilt edged chance.
As a result, the men from the South coast retained a possible lifeline and forced Panting to clear a promising situation in the dying moments of injury time.
The Woollams Men had deservedly earned their win, and stay a clear second but another big scoring victory by league leaders Jersey secured them the bonus point which stretches the gap between the two rivals.
OA's travel to Basingstoke next Saturday, November 14, where they can expect a big challenge to an hitherto, perfect record on the road.
OA: Lincoln, Panting, Adams, Edwards, Hearn, Gregg, Evans, Gelman, Hughes, Tawera, Comb, Hamilton, Townsend, White, Gustard.
Reps: Botterman, Lye, May.
Old Albanian II soared to the top of their Division in the Canterbury Shield League with a 93-12 try-fest against Portsmouth at Woollams on Saturday.
Whilst the Portsmouth side pitched up with a weakened side due to late cancellations; OA could only play what was in front of them and dispatched the Pompey side in a clinically efficient manner.
Fifteen tries were scored including four hat-tricks. One each for the scoring machine that is wing Carling Colfer, centre Niall Keane, new boy Graham Smith at flanker and full-back Adrian Dennis.
The stand-out player in the forwards was Graham Smith who is rapidly staking a claim for a regular place in the First XV and in the backs, Adrian Dennis, playing only his third game at fullback for OA's.
Special mention must go to Ed Orchard who stepped in at scrum-half and put in a quality performance that belied the fact he had never played in that position before. OA II visit Basingstoke next week travelling with the 1st XV.