Old Albanian remain undefeated as Bury St Edmunds leave Woollams empty-handed

Mike Allan seen here in preseason was one of the OA scorers

Mike Allan seen here in preseason was one of the OA scorers - Credit: Archant

Old Albanian rugby club kept up their unbeaten start to the year with a 46-11 victory over Bury St Edmunds.

Newcomers to Woollams, Bury were perhaps looking to go one better than last week’s disappointing single point loss to Redruth but came up against an OA side that much more desperate to improve.

Albanians had their own agenda considering the draw at Southend which dropped them four slots in the league table.

This week there was a greater urgency about OA play in general and, in particular their midfield defence was probably the greatest difference between the two sides.

Albanian head coach James Shanahan pronounced himself ‘happier’ with this week’s offering.

He said: “The precision was better and we stuck to our game plan for longer.

“Though we know we were not perfect it was very pleasing to get this sort of result against a side which probably should have beaten one of the league leaders last week.

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“Our scrum was far more solid this time out and we gave away very little in the loose. It will be interesting to see if we can maintain the improvement against Cambridge next week.”

Gavin Hogg, Bury’s head coach mentioned his side’s disappointment.

He said: “Despite the near run thing last week it has to be said that we should have beaten Redruth when we had the chance.

“I was certain we could not come to OAs and give away possession and position and expect to thrive.

“We will learn from this and the lads will be absolutely up for next week.”

Max Malins put in a man of the match performance and the fly half was instrumental in keeping the Albanian backline going forward whilst he helped himself to a try and three conversions.

New centre pairing of Jimmy Speirs and Chris May were tireless in defence and regularly produced linebreaks to put Bury under pressure. Mike Allan, Ollie Marchon and Nick Foster will become a back three to be feared.

Bury took the lead in this afternoon perfect for running rugby. Ollie Snook struck a simple penalty twelve minutes in after he and Malins exchanged early misses.

Foster broke swiftly from deep and Sam Staff’s deft offload allowed skipper Billy Johnson in wide on the left. The conversion just missed.

Snook gave his side the lead once more just into the second quarter with another penalty but he was not to trouble the scorer again.

Gradually, through a catalogue of mutual errors Albanians gained tactical and positional advantage with Marchon finishing off Malins neat kick through for the fly half to convert.

He also improved Mike Allan’s try after the winger’s tremendous pickup, bringing the half time score to 19-6.

Malins again converted Johnson’s second try four minutes after the break but missed the kick after OAs pushover four minutes later.

Bury’s woes increased when Morgan Thompson stole the ball at the back of a Bury scrum and dotted down for the simplest of scores.

Visiting winger Clement Le Roy was rewarded for his persistence just past the hour mark but too wide out for a successful conversion.

Malins and Allan completed the try scoring for Albanians.

Albanians will be happy with this improvement but still have work to do. They are not yet displaying the ruthless efficiency required to maintain a top position in this league. Bury will certainly learn from their experience.