Old Albanian overcoming problems in bid to stay in National League One

Dan Watt kicks a conversion

Dan Watt kicks a conversion - Credit: Archant

Read Brian Quinn’s report on Saturday’s 50-26 win over Macclesfield

This season has seen Old Albanian’s efforts to stay in National One hampered by one apparent problem after another, writes Brian Quinn.

Yet recent results seemed to be putting the club on a stronger footing and the mood of the squad was bullish going into last week’s fixture. Five league points separated OAs from the drop zone and it would be a nervous test of endurance to try to improve the situation with just five games remaining.

Macclesfield were probably resigned to playing level four rugby next season long before this match kicked off but this made sure they were nothing but dangerous opponents in this bottom of the table clash. As it turned out Macclesfield contributed fully to an exciting encounter and earned themselves a bonus point for their stirring four-try performance.

Playing with the wind, OAs gained a 24-point advantage in the first half hour as fly-half Dan Watt and full-back Richard Gregg used the elements to great purpose. Gregg crossed the line wide on the right for the first try after seven minutes. Jimmy Speirs scored next for Watt’s conversion five minutes later. Billy Johnson and Mike Allan improved matters to bring up the bonus point before David Marwick scored for the visitors, converted by Tom Eaton.

Olly Marchon responded immediately and Watt’s conversion brought up half-time.

Sam Moss crossed for the Blues shortly after the restart and Billy Johnson dummied his way over for his second 10 minutes later, both efforts converted. Next, Gregg’s brilliant sleight of hand gave Marchon his second. Rhodri Mayor finished well for Macclesfield and Gregg ended OA’s scoring after great interpassing. Josh Fowles last minute try gave The Blues their bonus point.

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Esher are the next opponents in two week’s time and they have had as sporadic a season as OAs. Yet their history tells another story since they have plenty of Championship experience behind them and they are well used to overcoming problems. They will view this coming clash as a matter of pride and will be spurred on by the memory of the defeat at Woollams earlier in the season.

Billy Johnson and his men know there is still much work to do.