Old Albanian edge past Richmond in friendly

Deane finishes well in the corner to score a last gasp try and snatch a win

Deane finishes well in the corner to score a last gasp try and snatch a win - Credit: Archant

Old Albanian scored first and last in this intense trial against old friends Richmond, the last try and conversion bringing a five point win in heat as high as 30 degrees, writes Brian Quinn.

Too many times in the past Albanian preparations for the campaign to come have gone awry.

This year things have gone well so far and victory, albeit the pre-season sort, is always welcome.

The manner of this last success built on the experience of the previous week when OAs narrowly beat Ampthill in the foreshortened game and were certainly not overwhelmed by Championship hosts Bedford.

This week Richmond, who had brought a huge squad, were just overtaken after some careless defending in the dying moments.

Injuries had deprived spectators of the spectacle of a full strength OA outfit and most expected a workmanlike outing. Yet those who filled the gaps were so effective that the doubters would have been hard pressed to discern where the supposed substitutes were positioned.

Astonishingly the back line contained five wingers yet from half back to full back none was found wanting.

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Head coach James Shanahan, himself a battle casualty, had a realistic take on proceedings, saying: “We were and may continue to be a little light in the scrum which will not help us against the heavier packs.

“Our defending was generally good but we shipped 35 points. In more trying conditions that will hurt us and we will work on that.”

When asked if he was pleased with the performance, he said: “I was delighted with the way the players, especially those new to the squad and this level, conducted themselves.

“Our lineout functioned very well and our attacking play in all sectors was of a high order. We were generally precise and we let very few opportunities pass.”

The next two Saturdays see Albanian travel to either end of the country.

Next up, in another pre-season game, is a trip to Darlington Mowden Park, who will still be smarting from their demolition towards the end of last season at the hands of Billy Johnson’s men.

The following week OAs visit Launceston at the start of the league season.