OA up into top three
National Three, London and South East Old Albanian 29 Haywards Heath 12 SATURDAY S victory against Haywards Heath propelled The Woollams Men into the top three of London and South East as their immediate rivals all faltered. OA struggled for long spells,
National Three, London and South East
Old Albanian 29
Haywards Heath 12
SATURDAY'S victory against Haywards Heath propelled The Woollams Men into the top three of London and South East as their immediate rivals all faltered.
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OA struggled for long spells, however, to find their fluency against a well organised opposition who hung on stubbornly to their task and managed to keep in touch through the accuracy of Owen Ashton's kicking.
When the winger slotted his fourth successful penalty attempt, early in the second half, to bring his team to within two points of equality, visiting supporters even began to sense that a turn up was on the cards as OA continued to find difficulty in exploiting the lion's share of territory and possession.
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While those around them were showing only glimpses of their true potential, OA's front row of James Ellershaw, Matt Hart and Aaron Tawera succeeded in maintaining a stable platform throughout.
The trio used their weight advantage to good effect and provided the match winner in the guise of in-form loose head prop Ellershaw who, robust in his routine duties, was capable of producing bludgeoning, direct runs.
Such was the case on 25 minutes when Ellershaw ran in OA's second try from 20 metres in a burst of power and including a sweet side step for good measure.
An almost identical approach set up Simon Lincoln for the killer blow in the dying moments.
The hard working winger, and pick of the backs, still had a measure of work to do before finishing with a flourish as if to celebrate the prize of a valuable bonus point.
Between these scores, Paul Gustard had given his side some breathing space having emerged from a ruck in possession and in no mood to be denied his chosen path over the try line.
Tryfan Edwards was the other try scorer having opened the scoring on 11 minutes having gone close only moments earlier in a similar position.
Richard Gregg, who used the favourable wind to good effect after the break, kicked three conversions and landed a penalty.
Debutant Carling Colfer entered the fray latterly, on the wing, and brought the number of ex-Colts on display for the home side to four, which compares favourably with most teams at level five.
To their credit, Haywards Heath are outstandingly successful at this level in their ability to nurture home grown talent through their junior sides into first XV status and no fewer than 10 of their squad on show on Saturday fall into this category.
This success means six wins out of eight for OA's, including the last three on the bounce.
Next Saturday will be a severe test of their staying power in the title race as they visit Bishop's Stortford.
OA: May, Miller, Adams, Edwards, Lincoln, Gregg, Evans, Ellershaw, Hart, Tawera, Comb, Hamilton, Townsend, White, Gustard. Subs: Hughes, Lye, Colf.