OA win on the road
National Three London & SE North Walsham 5 Old Albanian 15 THE Old Albanian RFC had an early start to the day, making the long trip up into Norfolk with the first and second XV s both away to North Walsham. Injuries to Eddie Panting and Tom Chester meant
National Three London & SE
North Walsham 5 Old Albanian 15
THE Old Albanian RFC had an early start to the day, making the long trip up into Norfolk with the first and second XV's both away to North Walsham.
Injuries to Eddie Panting and Tom Chester meant a reshuffle in the first team backs with Simon Lincoln moving to full back, Mark Evans to wing and Ollie Peck coming in at number nine for his first start of the season. Paul Gustard's return to the back row was of course also most welcome.
Conditions were very firm and North Walsham kicked off with the warm sun behind them. However, the prospect of a feast of tries in such conditions did not materialise, even though OA started brightly enough.
The early exchanges went OA's way with Evans featuring, skipper Lawrence White making an early impression on the Walsham number eight and Terry Adams breaking the line but seeing his off-load going forward. Unfortunately, forward passes on a number of occasions prevented OA from racking up a big score.
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OA opened their account after a quick break by Peck from the 22 and the forwards recycled well at the breakdown for Gregg to put Adams away after 18 minutes.
Shortly after, following some strong running from Bennett and Jamie Hearn, Tryfan Edwards was just beaten to the touch from a kick through from Evans.
Some concerted pressure from the OA pack should have been rewarded with a try but Hearn was short of the line and gave away a penalty for holding on.
North Walsham did start to wobble a bit but resolute defence kept the likes of Ellershaw and Lincoln at bay.
In fact it was another forward pass after a typical strong charge by Ellershaw that denied OA again.
Ross Hamilton pounced on a loose ball but yet again the pass went astray.
When North Walsham did threaten, excellent defence from OA did the job. Just before half time, Evans got away again with Alex Bennett in support, Gustard took the move on but alas another loose pass ended the opportunity.
Early second half pressure was at last rewarded when a move involving Gregg, Adams and Hearn ended with a penalty, which Gregg took quickly and ran in for OA's second try.
Gregg's kick from the re-start made huge yards but North Walsham launched an attack from their 22 to pin OA's back on their 10 metre line. A poor lineout allowed the Walsh second row to plough through and quick ball down the line gave them a well-deserved try.
OA replied with a 40-yard burst from Lincoln and having survived another lost line-out, the forwards turned on the power and rumbled the ball some 20 yards for a try. Agonisingly, the conversion attempt hit both up-rights but didn't go over.
From this point the OA pack dominated the Walsham eight but, despite excellent work particularly from Bennett, Hearn and Lincoln, OA could not find that extra score, as a penalty given away or a lost lineout put paid to further points.
However, it was OA's good defence in the last few minutes that brought the hard won victory against a side who are always hard to beat on their own turf.
Old Albanian second XV notched up their third win of the season by 70 points.