OAs keep the pressure on at top after Barnes collapse

Chris Lombaard. Picture: DAVID BUXTON

Chris Lombaard. Picture: DAVID BUXTON - Credit: Archant

A crowd of over 400 at Woollams saw Old Albanian Rugby Club claim a 27-7 National Two South league win over Barnes.

The wind could have affected this match to a much greater degree had it been allowed to do so.

However neither side espoused a kicking game in attack or defence so an attritional game developed where one side ran at the other until the referee blew his whistle for the next set piece.

Whilst this made the encounter one more for the purist than the pragmatist it spoke much for the fitness of all concerned that no player was found flagging even as the match drew to a frenetic conclusion.

The Albanian defence is, these days, formidable and proved the main difference between the two sides.

Barnes had plenty of possession but wave after wave of powerful attack broke on the reef of the home defensive formation.

Against the breeze Chris May opened the scoring for OAs with a penalty on 23 minutes but Fraiser Carlisle replied with a well-worked try eight minutes later.

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Tom O’Toole added the extras.

Almost immediately Ollie Cooper-Millar touched down from a feisty driving maul, which virtually ended the half.

Barring brave Barnes forays the hosts controlled the second period with tries from Billy Johnson, Harry Bate and a stormer from Chris Lombaard, May converting the second of these.

Another five point haul for OAs was not quite enough to retake the league leadership.

Cambridge go into the New Year with the smallest of advantages, the teams separated by just three points on points difference.