OAs crash out
EDF Intermediate Cup Fourth Round Old Albanians 10 Coney Hill 22 MARK Mansfield further enhanced his reputation with a glorious individual try but it was not enough to rescue Old Albanians at Woollams on Saturday. In the EDF Intermediate Cup Fourth Round
EDF Intermediate Cup Fourth Round
Old Albanians 10 Coney Hill 22
MARK Mansfield further enhanced his reputation with a glorious individual try but it was not enough to rescue Old Albanians at Woollams on Saturday.
In the EDF Intermediate Cup Fourth Round clash, visitors Coney Hill from South West One proved too strong for the depleted OAs.
With five experienced men, including all their recognised centres, unavailable for selection, the back line for OAs took on an experimental feel with Darragh O'Mahony and Ed Panting partnered for the first time in the channel. Adrian Twining, back at Woollams after a spell in the Army, came in on the wing allowing the impressive Mark Mansfield to fill the troublesome full back position. Though burdened with defensive duties, Mansfield still managed to enhance his reputation as a deadly finisher with another glorious individual try in the dying moments when the outcome of this game had already been decided.
The visitors from Gloucester were good value for an interval lead of 17-5, having shrugged off a long journey to seize the initiative from the kick off.
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Just 10 minutes into the game, OAs were punished for having lost their own scrum in the shadow of their posts when number eight Mark Rimmer went over for a converted try. Then Coney Hill's scrum half dummied his way through an unconvincing defence to set up winger Darren Carr for the first of his two well taken scores.
Though OAs' pack held its own, the home side never seriously troubled their opponents, even when a man to the good, following hooker Chris Hall's booking with 15 minutes gone. Coney Hill's team work and organisation were superior throughout and, all too often, an unfamiliar home back line failed to turn their share of possession into telling attacks, hampered by a frustrating tendency to shun the conventional pass in favour of unnecessary, and ineffective, over elaboration.
When the pressure was on, too many tackles went missing and the long-suffering Woollams faithful began to wonder how a score could ever be fashioned from such a dysfunctional performance.
Twining provided the answer when he marked his return for OAs after he intercepted a pass midway into his own half and surged clear for the try. Simon Gregory, deputising for Richard Gregg at fly half, appeared less relaxed with the boot than he had been a week earlier and his conversion attempt went wide of the mark.
Much of the second period was dominated by the battle for forward supremacy and punctuated by continual stoppages. Some bad tempered exchanges resulted before OAs finally began to find some rhythm and string some passes together. Paul Mansfield, who had received an earlier yellow card, led two charges into opposition territory but, when the backs got involved, their attempts to progress always appeared to break down with either a grounded pass or an ill judged kick.
The remaining points scored came late in the game. First Carr, who had been a menace to OAs all game, claimed a try to put his team clear at 22-5. Then, with the 10 minutes of injury time ebbing away, Mark Mansfield unlocked Coney Hill's defence with his dazzling effort.
There was evidence of the bright future at Woollams when Jonnie Mill's introduction to the action saw the young scrum half line up with Francis Denny and Gregory, his colleagues in OAs Colts' county cup winning side of last season.
OAs return to action next on Saturday when they resume their league campaign with a difficult fixture away to Shelford.
OAs: Mark Mansfield, Adrian Twining, Darragh O'Mahony, Ed Panting, Francis Denny, Simon Gregory, Mark Evans, Adam Gelman, Gregg Botterman, Andy Pearson, Arthur Mate, Roly Burr, Alex Bennett, Mike Rout, Paul Mansfield. Subs: Simon Williams, Paul Sullivan, James Steventon, Jonnie Mills.