OAs lose opener at Luton
London One Luton RFC 31 Old Albanians 7 IN the opening game of the 2008/9 campaign, Old Albanians competed well in a tight first half but were then ground down by a strong Luton side who made the most of their chances on Saturday. Both sides paraded new
Luton RFC 31 Old Albanians 7
IN the opening game of the 2008/9 campaign, Old Albanians competed well in a tight first half but were then ground down by a strong Luton side who made the most of their chances on Saturday.
Both sides paraded new signings and were eager to impress a good crowd with excellent support for both sides. Lutonians started the game with a squad widely perceived to be stronger than the one that was relegated last season after a torrid time in National Three.
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After conceding an early penalty, OAs hit back to take the lead after 20 minutes. Richard Gregg fed Terry Adams who crowned his league debut with a devastating line through the defence for the opening try.
The score was reward for OAs' best spell of the match as their lively backs threatened to regularly unlock the home defence.
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Panting, starting well in his less favoured position at full back, together with flying wingers Dene Miller and, ex Lutonian, Mark Mansfield regularly stretched a well organised rearguard. Adams working well with Tryfan Edwards, his partner in the centre, also posed a string of problems.
Having failed to build upon their advantage, OAs slender lead began to look vulnerable.
Luton settled for a penalty under the posts before captain and ex England 'A' star, Matt Allen finally went over.
Within minutes OA woes had multiplied when new signing Henry Whitford left the field of play having seriously aggravated a back injury which throws doubt on the availability of the ex Cambridge and Bedford Blues number 8 for the foreseeable future.
Miller twice went close to restoring OAs lead in the closing minutes of the first period, being thwarted by a forward pass and then unluckily knocking on within sight of the line.
New scrum half Oliver Peck ensured the Woollams men started the second half brightly as they battled to overcome the 11-7 deficit.
Matt Alford broke powerfully from the scrum but Luton held strong.
Full back Howells notched a penalty for Luton, after OAs transgressed once again.
A defensive lapse saw Allen go over for his second try with 10 minutes to play and, with the visitors struggling to keep up with the pace in the heat this score looked likely to be the match winner.
Luton finally sealed a deserved win when Dane Grey powered over in injury time. The big second row had arrived earlier in the week from North Otago, South Island Maoris and marked his arrival in the best way possible for the home fans.
OAs will be looking for a more sustained effort from their pack when they entertain newly promoted Haywards Heath on Saturday at Woollams. Kick off is 3pm.
Old Albanians: Panting, Miller, Adams, Edwards, Mansfield, Gregg, Peck, Gelman, Botterman, Pearson, Mate, Kriukelis, Bennett, Alford, Whitford. Subs: Murphy, Lye, Evans.