Old Albanian set for new season after competitive outing against Harpenden

One of Old Albanian's last games before the pandemic was a narrow loss at home to Leicester Lions in February 2020.

One of Old Albanian's last games before the pandemic was a narrow loss at home to Leicester Lions in February 2020. - Credit: NEIL BALDWIN PHOTOGRAPHY

Woollams once again resounded to the sound of a rugby match after a break of more than 18 months - with Old Albanian entertaining near neighbours Harpenden in a competitive outing on the eve of the new season.

The gap between the two sides in terms of league standings was evident in the final score but not always on the field.

In fairness the National Two South hosts had a little more accuracy and a tad more pace in certain areas, only to be expected, but Harpenden will feel proud of their efforts and attitude and will reflect happily on the two neat back moves which brought a try in each half, both times scything through the narrowest of gaps in an otherwise staunch OA defence.

Head Coach Dan George was pleased with the application of a somewhat rookie side who should knit well together as the league campaign develops but it will take a few weeks, he feels, before all can be completely confident in each others’ company.

The stated strategy is to move the ball at speed and, if the evidence of last Friday is any yardstick, the process is well begun.

Summing up, the possession gained was smartly retained by a lively pack who were excellent in the lineout but who have some work to do at scrum time. The backs displayed aggression at half-back, intelligent strength in midfield, and rampant pace was the watchword at the back.

Work at the breakdown left little to be desired and aggressive tackling in all positions limited Harpenden’s opportunities operating as they were mostly closer to their own line than they would have wished.

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The season proper starts on Saturday with a visit to Henley Hawks.

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