National Two South: Wind and rain prove no problem to Old Albanian as Redcliffians are beaten

Old Albanian's Morgan Thompson made his 200th National League appearance. Photo: Neil Baldwin Photog

Old Albanian's Morgan Thompson made his 200th National League appearance. Photo: Neil Baldwin Photography - Credit: Archant

Old Albanian got back onto the winning trail with a fine 19-10 success against Old Redcliffians in National League Two South.

Fittingly it was Morgan Thompson who led his colleagues out onto the Woollams pitch to mark his 200th National League appearance

And he was able to celebrate with his team-mates after the hard fought win, played throughout in a storm of wind and rain.

This week Albanian took every opportunity to score points when the chance presented itself and this pragmatic approach went some way to blunting the vigorous challenge presented by the visitors.

In so doing Tom Bednall amassed four penalties and one conversion and despite the nasty weather, OAs took the four league points and will spend the next few days working on areas of improvement.

Such areas will include the line-out as a matter of some urgency. This part of the Albanian game plan is not operating at full capacity but, when it does, greater power will be available to a talented back division.

As it was, the tight scrum stood up well to a bigger outfit, and possession and position gained here left Redcliffians somewhat on the back foot.

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OAs also used the substantial wind better than their opponents, scoring at better than a point a minute in the opening phases.

Defence has caused Albanians some problems from time to time but that wasn’t the case here.

Two breakouts for the visitors resulted in two tries for rumbustious centre Jermain Jones but all other goal-line attempts were forestalled.

Bednall struck his first penalty as early as the third minute, benefitting from having the wind at his back.

He also converted tight head Chamnaoui Zaki’s try after 11 minutes and landed another penalty before the quarter hour.

Jones crossed with three minutes of the quarter remaining to leave the interval score 16-5.

Other than a mass of errors from both sides the second period saw Bednall’s last penalty and Jones’ second try as the weather deteriorated further.

There was greater urgency about the performance this week against a determined visiting effort and the team’s willingness to play running rugby even when the elements indicate differently will stand the squad in good stead in the months to come.

It was well worth watching.

The team venture west on Saturday to confront Dings Crusaders, similarly placed in mid-table.