Old Albanian score 50 points in win over Cambridge

James Shanahan touches down. Photo: EG Baldwin Photography

James Shanahan touches down. Photo: EG Baldwin Photography - Credit: Archant

Old Albanian 50 Cambridge 12 National One

Another OA try. Photo: EG Baldwin Photography

Another OA try. Photo: EG Baldwin Photography - Credit: Archant

CAMBRIDGE knew their immediate future in National One had ended on Friday night when the news of Macclesfield’s convincing victory at the Rectory Field was made public, writes Brian Quinn.

Macclesfield’s great winning run now extends to seven games and, at least for the moment, Wharfedale now replace them in the relegation zone. So Cambridge played solely for pride at Woollams on Saturday and, though they gave a fine account of themselves, they were outmatched by this clinical OA side.

Albanian set their stall out as early as the opening minute when awarded the first penalty of the game on the Cambridge 22.

The kick at goal was ignored and touch was secured in the left corner. Terry Adams was sent charging over on the opposite side of the field seconds later and Richard Gregg kicked a fine conversion.

Matt Chambers took possession straight from the restart and the OA machine rolled forward, Matt Hankin crossing to the left of the uprights with five minutes gone for Gregg to add the kick. Hankin had another fine outing and again teamed superbly with Chambers and erstwhile hooker Brett McNamee in the back row.

Minutes later Cambridge got as far as the OA line but the ball was deemed held up. Towards the end of the first quarter, Tom Jubb increased the home lead with Gregg notching his third conversion.

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Skipper Gareth McComb opened the visitors’ scoring on 23 minutes, taking account of an OA defensive lapse, for Elliot Bale to convert. Rob Conquest closed the gap further when he chased his own grubber kick in similar circumstances.

The hosts monopolised possession and territorial advantage making few errors and ensuring the visitors’ defence was stretched at every opportunity. Then with five minutes to the break James Shanahan, given the ball on the right in the Cambridge 22, executed an outrageous dummy before going over with Gregg adding the extras making it 28-12 at the intermission.

The Cambridge front row had stood their ground valiantly but they had just had to absorb too much pressure. Too often the Albanian wide game confounded the best of Cambridge intentions.

Adams and Shanahan each added second tries to their contributions and Adams completed his fine hat-trick all within 12 minutes of the restart.

By this time Dyer, by now the most influential visiting forward, had received 10 minutes in the bin for an indiscretion; this allowed the Albanian second row pairing of Jubb and Ollie Cooper-Millar to create even more havoc and Jubb’s second try and Gregg’s fifth conversion completed the scoring before the end of the third quarter.

This weekend OA travel to Coventry who have had an interesting 2013, having beaten Cambridge, Loughborough, Tynedale and Blackheath but lost to Rosslyn Park, Macclesfield, Richmond and Fylde.

OAs: Gregg, Adams, Lombaard, Stanley, Speirs; Shanahan©, Liebenberg; Hughes, Crumpton, Schillaci, Cooper-Millar, Jubb, McNamee, Hankin, Chambers. Reps: Stevens, Staff, Bickle, Marchon, Holmes.