Old Albanian hit league top spot
OLD Albanian moved to the top of the table on Saturday after they beat Redruth 40-27 away and title rivals Richmond fell to defeat at Launceston.
OAs victory was their 15th consecutive success and saw them hit the summit of the National Two South with four matches left to play.
Redruth came out of the blocks at 100 miles per hour forcing OAs into errors.
They controlled the game for two thirds of the match, but spurned kickable penalties for scrums or five metre lineouts.
Redruth pressure forced OAs to concede a penalty after two minutes, but Brett Rule’s kick hit the post.
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Three minutes later, No.8, man-of-the-match Tom Duncan, forced his way over from a five metre ruck and Rule’s marksman-like kick again found the upright.
He redeemed himself after 14 minutes with a conversion from the touchline after a communications breakdown between Richard Gregg and Ollie Marchon allowed Redruth’s grateful winger Tom Notman to scoop up the ball and hare for the corner.
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After 23 minutes a Rule penalty added a further three points and OAs were 15-0 down.
To compound the misery, the public address system was broadcasting updates on the Richmond game which started half an hour earlier and had the hosts leading 8-0 and OAs could hear an opportunity to take the league leadership fading away.
Worse, Marchon had to leave the pitch having taken a knock after Notman’s try.
Times like this call for inspiration and it was Andrew Daish who took up the running after a break from hooker, Wes Cope, had made 35 metres through uncommitted Redruth tackling to dive over and Gregg to convert.
Gregg, joint top scorer in the league at the start of the day, added a try and three more conversions for a personal tally of 13 points before handing the kicking tee to Jean-Baptiste Bruzulier as he, too, sustained a knock but was later to find that he is now top scorer.
Bruzulier, who was comfortably OAs man-of-the-match, aided the second try interpassing with winger Chris May for May to gallop over.
May broke free seven minutes later to set up Bomber Lombaard for a run in and enjoy a lead of 21-15 at half-time.
The hosts came out after half-time with all guns blazing and soon had a result as OAs gave away a penalty.
They took the right option with a scrum and despite OA resistance Damien Cook, barged over for Rule to complete and regain the lead.
Stung, OAs answered with Gregg’s try for a four-try bonus point. The individual try of the afternoon was that of Jimmy Speirs receiving a pass from May and jinking past three defenders to score.
Once again, Redruth took control in terms of possession and loose ball winning, but let themselves down with decision making as OA mistakes presented chances galore.
As both sides tired in the last quarter it was left to James Shanahan to show how it should be done with a try which Bruzulier converted.
With four minutes left the Redruth pressure built again for their skipper Craig Bonds to get up last from a pile-up which referee Jonathon Healey awarded after a chat with his touch judge.
On Saturday OAs entertain Westcombe Park at Woollams, kick-off 3pm.