Preview: Old Albanian looking for consistency ahead of Darlington Mowden Park visit
- Credit: Archant
There have been many challenges to face in this early part of the National One league campaign but nobody ever thought this year was going to be easy for Old Albanian Rugby Club.
Consolidation is the watchword for the second time in as many seasons and that always brings penalties as well as rewards.
Reminding ourselves of the problems to be faced, probably consistency or rather a lack of it, will be uppermost in the minds of the coaching team.
No squad member is short on motivation and none lacks the ability to perform to a high standard on the field; so how may we explain the fact that playing affairs are not always satisfactory?
It may well be as simple as the fact that so many of the playing/coaching membership are still getting to know one another and are still developing battle hardness.
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Mistakes and a certain lack of attention to detail will always occur in these circumstances but solace can be taken in the positive things which have been achieved to date.
After a fiery baptism a short month ago [when Rosslyn Park won 58-0], there has been a creditable recovery.
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OAs ended four points adrift of a powerful Ampthill and just two short of a remarkable result against the might of Coventry.
Even in last week’s reverse to Birmingham Moseley the Woollams-based clyb scored three fine tries.
On the technical side the tight game has certainly been consistent and both scrum and line-out have fared well.
The speed to the breakdown has also been good, if not overpowering, and the broken play has posed threats from all over the field.
Defence is mostly solid but, as demonstrated by Rosslyn Park and Moseley, can be brittle at times.
All of the above are known factors so all, good or ill, can be worked on and improved and that is the stated intention of head coach Gavin Hogg.
He and his charges get the toughest opportunity to prove those intentions when leaders Darlington Mowden Park roll into town on Saturday.
They have a 100 per cent record so far and will probably regard the four tries to one besting of Moseley as their tour de force.
They recruited well in the close season and are ambitious enough to ride their luck all the way to the Championship.
It remains to be seen if a dent can be put in their armour.
Kick-off at Woollams is at 3pm with a friends and family lunch, open to everyone, taking place beforehand.