Old Albanian are top of the class in points fest at Loughborough

Harry Bate scored for Old Albanian at Loughborough. Picture: KARYN HADDON

Harry Bate scored for Old Albanian at Loughborough. Picture: KARYN HADDON - Credit: Archant

Old Albanian came out on top at Loughborough Students in National One with a 46-39 win.

It’s not the first time this season Albanians have been involved in a points fest of 50 points or more.

In fact in some half-dozen matches the total has passed 50 and the trend continued on Saturday with OAs outlasting the Students in a match containing no less than 85 points and 13 tries.

Eight of these tries came the way of the visitors so it follows that if some of the more difficult conversions had succeeded the visitors would have made matters easier for themselves.

The reverse fixture in October yielded eight tries and over 60 points so nobody can complain about lack of entertainment.

But skipper Nick Stevens’ industrious example prompted his side to a first victory at Loughborough, and in doing so maintained the Albanian position in mid-table with still over three months campaigning to go.

The all-weather surface slopes slightly from one end to the other and, playing uphill from the kick-off, Albanians almost rushed themselves into a 19-3 lead, courtesy of the opening try by Nick Foster and a smart brace by Craig Dowsett, the last two converted by Ben Palmer.

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Owen Waters’ penalty had placed his side momentarily in front.

During the subsequent OA breather, Will Edwards, Gair Currie and Charlie Dockery rather made a mess of the Albanian defence and two Waters’ conversions gave the lead back to the hosts as the half-hour came and went.

Harry Bate’s traditional storming contribution brought his side to the break just in front.

At this stage the Albanian line-out were enjoying the better of the exchanges whilst the visitors did well to bolster a scrum under great pressure.

Broken play was a strength throughout for OAs but neither defence shone this day.

Dan Moolman retrieved the lead once more, along with Waters’ improvement but three minutes later Alex Glixten tied the score again before the Dockery/Waters combo restored the gap, this time to seven.

The breathless second half continued when Tom Bednall brought A’s to within two points before Waters’ penalty stretched the gap by three.

The last quarter belonged to Albanians, in particular to Oli Burgess who touched down twice amidst a swarm of OA attacks, Palmer converting the first of these.

The forwards had put in the workmanlike shift necessary against a side as fit as Loughborough and, as a result, no less than seven of the tries went to the backs.

Palmer can feel justifiably proud of his outing as his distribution was probably the difference between the sides.

Birmingham Moseley are the visitors to Woollams next Saturday with kick-off at 3pm.