OAs crash out of Herts Cup to Stevenage Town
Herts Presidents s Cup Semi Final Stevenage Town 13 Old Albanians 7 IN a repeat of last season s semi- final Old Albanians were beaten by a well organised Stevenage side who now move on to face Hertford, once again, for possession of the county silverwar
Herts Presidents's Cup Semi Final
Stevenage Town 13 Old Albanians 7
IN a repeat of last season's semi- final Old Albanians were beaten by a well organised Stevenage side who now move on to face Hertford, once again, for possession of the county silverware.
OAs arrived at a wet and blustery Stevenage with big names like Gregg Botterman and Paul Mansfield missing from their pack and, disastrously, lost Mike Rout and Paul Sullivan mid way through the first half with leg injuries. With the departure of this experienced duo from the scene OAs also lost their mobility around the scrum and crucially all their line out expertise.
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As a result, already promoted Division Three North West outfit Stevenage, bossed the set pieces throughout and dominated line out ball from both sides.
It was from a line out routine that the home side opened the scoring on 30 minutes. An unnecessary piece of indiscipline had gifted Stevenage a throw in the corner from which catcher and hooker pulled off a neat interplay to breach the OA defence.
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In an attempt to get back on terms whilst both wind and slope were in their favour, Alex Bennett and Adam Gelman led a number of charges deep into the red zone which brought the best from a resolute home defence.
The OAs back line, in which Darragh O'Mahoney was celebrating his call up to the Barbarian squad for Wednesday's Hobbs Memorial Trophy game, looked dangerous on the rare occasions they were presented with quality ball.
To the mounting frustration of their travelling fans, the Woollams' men persisted with route one ball with monotonous regularity and ultimate lack of penetration, their only success coming when Richard Gregg latched onto a punt over the defence by Mark Evans to make it 7-5 at the break.
After five minutes of the second period Stevenage were down to 13 courtesy of harshly awarded yellow cards but, before his side could bring numbers to bear, Bennett also got a 10 minute penalty when a caution seemed more appropriate.
Playing the conditions to their advantage, Stevenage survived this temporary disadvantage in numbers and continued to parry their opponents' feisty, if predictable, efforts to create a more secure lead. It was the home side, however, who broke the deadlock with a penalty followed by a try 10 minutes before the end which sealed a deserved victory.
As with every semi final there was a contrast in emotions between supporters after this game but all present in the bar united in dismay at the spectacle itself. Both sides felt aggrieved that the match had not been allowed to flow freely.
Old Albanians: Darragh O'Mahoney, Francis Denney, Justin Azzopardi, Tryfan Edwards, Paul Ashford, Richard Gregg, Mark Evans , Adam Gelman, Adrian Summers, Andy Pearson, Roly Burr, Alex Bennett , Paul Sullivan, David Fergusson, Mike Rout. Subs used: James Steventon, Jeremy Edwards, Jonny Mills.