Old Albanian blown away by Hartpury College

Charlie Hughes carries the ball forward

Charlie Hughes carries the ball forward - Credit: Archant

Old Albanian are on the precipice of National League One after a blow-out loss to Hartpury College at Woollams.

Inspired by a hat-trick of tries from Stephen Reynolds and a simply fantastic performance from Gloucester flanker Daniel Thomas, Hartpury swept OAs aside with 40 points in the second half to win 59-31.

To make matters worse, OAs replaced Cinderford in the drop zone after they beat Richmond.

Remarkably considering the final score, OAs led 24-19 at the break after three tries in five minutes. The tries were of the utmost class and so simplistic that it made what was to come that much more galling for everyone associated with, and rooting for, the club.

Old Albanian had already shown their vulnerabilities when Ben Vellacott and winger Reynolds touched down to give Hartpury a 14-0 lead, but man of the match Sam Lunnon responded twice, the second after a magnificent run from Mike Allan, and Brett McNamee finished off a lineout drive to put them in front. It could have been more but, in Hartpury’s 22, OAs were at best wasteful and at worse maddeningly frustrating as time after time the ball was knocked on or turned over.

Thomas rode a lineout drive to level but the hosts scored with the last move of the half to take a slender, albeit deserved, lead into the interval. A knock on gave OAs a scrum at the five metre line, the ball was quickly passed across the pitch and Allan went over in the corner.

Richard Gregg uncharacteristically hooked a penalty wide shortly after the break and what follow can only be described as unbelievable. Twice, Hartpury too easily brushed off would-be tacklers on their way to tries. Great hands allowed Vellacott to release Reynolds for the first and then Gareth Thompson won the race to his own kick for the second.

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It set a pattern for the remainder of the game and OAs were made to pay for their poor tackling as Elliot Stooke, Steve Leonard and Reynolds ran up the score.

Dom Regan surged over the line to give the fans something to cheer about but it didn’t last long as Hartpury replacement James Voss scored a try with the last move of the game.