OAs set up final day showdown with Barnes victory
- Credit: Archant
Old Albanian narrowed the gap between them and National Two South league leaders Cambridge with an entertaining 46-27 win over Barnes – but know it will take another mighty slip by the leaders if the clubs are to trade places on the last weekend of the year.
Cambridge’s shock 43-38 defeat to Cambridge mean OAs have cut the gap to just two points ahead of Saturday’s final day fixtures.
And Albanians will hope Dorking can provide another twist in this exciting season while at the same time they can see off the threat of already-relegated Launceston at Woollams.
In their final away fixture of the year Albanians started briskly and England U20 star Max Malins crossed after just three minutes after a neat offload by Chris May.
The full-back’s conversion attempt was slightly off target but he fared better when Mike Allan darted over from broken play nine minutes later.
Allan repeated the dose with 17 minutes gone when Ross Hamilton’s sleight of hand produced the neatest of slip passes close to the line. Malins again improved.
Barnes though would not yield and Tom O’Toole personally dominated matters for the next five minutes scoring and converting a brace of tries.
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But back came Albanians and further forward pressure allowed hooker Matt Miles to scamper over for the bonus-point try just after the half hour.
Andrew Daish crashed over after a slick crossfield handling effort and Chris Lombaard was on hand to benefit after a series of handling errors.
Malins converted all three to leave the half-time score 40-14.
Most of the second period belonged to Barnes who were adept at taking their opportunities.
Malins was awarded a ten minute rest for a deliberate knock-on and Jamie Collins was driven over in a forthright rolling maul.
O’Toole had no problem with the kick but he was unable to improve his wingers effort in the middle of the half.
However, Barnes had earned their bonus point.
Jimmy Speirs had the last word, powering over with less than 10 minutes to play and again Malins made no mistake with the kick bringing his personal tally to 17 points.