Clifton success sees sparkling Old Albanian bring the fizz back

Old Albanian V Clifton - Nick Stevens in action for the Old Albanian.
Picture: Karyn Haddon

Old Albanian V Clifton - Nick Stevens in action for the Old Albanian. Picture: Karyn Haddon - Credit: Archant

It has been a month lacking in consistency for Old Albanian so the sparkling performance in the 49-24 National Two South win over Clifton was welcomed by players and supporters alike.

Old Albanian V Clifton - Luke Barber celebrates scoring a try for the Old Albanian.
Picture: Karyn

Old Albanian V Clifton - Luke Barber celebrates scoring a try for the Old Albanian. Picture: Karyn Haddon - Credit: Archant

Albanian scored nine of the 12 tries in this thriller at Woollams to overcome a staunch Clifton effort

Old Albanian V Clifton - Luke Barber in action for the Old Albanian.
Picture: Karyn Haddon

Old Albanian V Clifton - Luke Barber in action for the Old Albanian. Picture: Karyn Haddon - Credit: Archant

In doing so, they climbed into the top half of the league table.

Old Albanian V Clifton - Dan Watt in action for the Old Albanian.
Picture: Karyn Haddon

Old Albanian V Clifton - Dan Watt in action for the Old Albanian. Picture: Karyn Haddon - Credit: Archant

Both teams played fast, attacking rugby on a dry surface but a seriously well-organised defence from Albanian throughout the first half laid the platform for them to amass four tries and a conversion, taking the bonus point into the bargain.

Old Albanian V Clifton - Luke Barber celebrates scoring a try for the Old Albanian.
Picture: Karyn

Old Albanian V Clifton - Luke Barber celebrates scoring a try for the Old Albanian. Picture: Karyn Haddon - Credit: Archant

The Bristol-based visitors offered a no-nonsense physical approach but they were not helped by a 13th-minute red card which gave number eight Niall Gibbons first use of the showers.

Old Albanian V Clifton - Alex Chalcroft in action for the Old Albanian.
Picture: Karyn Haddon

Old Albanian V Clifton - Alex Chalcroft in action for the Old Albanian. Picture: Karyn Haddon - Credit: Archant


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The set-piece went well for the hosts and the set scrum held up well against bigger opponents and this advantage improved as time wore on.

Old Albanian V Clifton - Luke Barber celebrates scoring a try for the Old Albanian.
Picture: Karyn

Old Albanian V Clifton - Luke Barber celebrates scoring a try for the Old Albanian. Picture: Karyn Haddon - Credit: Archant

For the most part the line-out followed suit and showed a marked improvement from some previous outings providing dependable possession on most occasions.

Old Albanian V Clifton - Morgan Thompson in action for the Old Albanian.
Picture: Karyn Haddon

Old Albanian V Clifton - Morgan Thompson in action for the Old Albanian. Picture: Karyn Haddon - Credit: Archant

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The experience and physical presence of Ross Hamilton and Nick Stevens bolstered the side and this helped create an attacking platform which functioned well all afternoon.

Old Albanian V Clifton - Dan Watt in action for the Old Albanian.
Picture: Karyn Haddon

Old Albanian V Clifton - Dan Watt in action for the Old Albanian. Picture: Karyn Haddon - Credit: Archant

Increasingly Albanian forced Clifton into errors which offered up possession and position more often than not.

Old Albanian V Clifton - Luke Barber in action for the Old Albanian.
Picture: Karyn Haddon

Old Albanian V Clifton - Luke Barber in action for the Old Albanian. Picture: Karyn Haddon - Credit: Archant

Dan Watt marshaled the backs in exemplary fashion and his kicking out of hand neatly turned the visitors’ back-line.

Old Albanian V Clifton - Luke Barber in action for the Old Albanian.
Picture: Karyn Haddon

Old Albanian V Clifton - Luke Barber in action for the Old Albanian. Picture: Karyn Haddon - Credit: Archant

However, he was on target with just two conversions though the difficult wind did not help his cause.

Old Albanian V Clifton - Alex Chalcroft in action for the Old Albanian.
Picture: Karyn Haddon

Old Albanian V Clifton - Alex Chalcroft in action for the Old Albanian. Picture: Karyn Haddon - Credit: Archant

Eight of the OAs tries came from the backs. Former Harpenden full-back Luke Barber bagged a double as did former Verulamians star Alex Ricci.

Old Albanian V Clifton - Nick Stevens in action for the Old Albanian.
Picture: Karyn Haddon

Old Albanian V Clifton - Nick Stevens in action for the Old Albanian. Picture: Karyn Haddon - Credit: Archant

Charlie Watson joined them on two tries while Morgan Thompson and Alex Chalcraft crossed once each after Hamilton opened the scoring.

Old Albanian V Clifton - Nick Stevens in action for the Old Albanian.
Picture: Karyn Haddon

Old Albanian V Clifton - Nick Stevens in action for the Old Albanian. Picture: Karyn Haddon - Credit: Archant

The squad now have a week off before travelling to Birmingham & Solihull on March 23.

Old Albanian V Clifton - Luke Barber in action for the Old Albanian.
Picture: Karyn Haddon

Old Albanian V Clifton - Luke Barber in action for the Old Albanian. Picture: Karyn Haddon - Credit: Archant

There will still be four league games to play after that with OAs’ next match at home coming on March 30 when Canterbury are the visitors.

Old Albanian V Clifton - Luke Barber in action for the Old Albanian.
Picture: Karyn Haddon

Old Albanian V Clifton - Luke Barber in action for the Old Albanian. Picture: Karyn Haddon - Credit: Archant

Old Albanian V Clifton - Dan Watt in action for the Old Albanian.
Picture: Karyn Haddon

Old Albanian V Clifton - Dan Watt in action for the Old Albanian. Picture: Karyn Haddon - Credit: Archant

Old Albanian V Clifton - Alex Chalcroft in action for the Old Albanian.
Picture: Karyn Haddon

Old Albanian V Clifton - Alex Chalcroft in action for the Old Albanian. Picture: Karyn Haddon - Credit: Archant

Old Albanian V Clifton - Dan Watt in action for the Old Albanian.
Picture: Karyn Haddon

Old Albanian V Clifton - Dan Watt in action for the Old Albanian. Picture: Karyn Haddon - Credit: Archant

Old Albanian V Clifton - Nick Stevens in action for the Old Albanian.
Picture: Karyn Haddon

Old Albanian V Clifton - Nick Stevens in action for the Old Albanian. Picture: Karyn Haddon - Credit: Archant

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