Revenge as OAs rock Lydney’s midfield

OAs turn on the style

National League 2 South

Old Albanians 43 Lydney 13

OLD ALBANIANS remain fourth in the League, extracting maximum points and restored pride as they gave a dour Lydney side lessons in both creative running and staunch defence. They go to Richmond on Saturday one point behind the third-placed club, who suffered a setback losing away to Jersey.

However it was Lydney who showed the initial sparkle, racing into a 7-0 lead after eight minutes as outside centre, Brett Turner, fastened on to a pass in the OAs’ three quarter line which was high on ambition but low on aim. He cantered in from 25 metres under the posts and converted his own try. In fact, his was the only name on the Lydney score sheet, adding two penalty kicks before half time.

James Ellershaw led the fightback for OAs with a similar burst from 25 metres after Zac Vinnicombe at fly-half and outside centre, Terry Adams, interpassed across the field. Richard Gregg converted that try and bagged 18 points for his afternoon, scoring OAs’ third try after more build up work by Vinnicombe, a penalty and five conversions.

But it was inside centre, Chris Lombaard, who caught the eye to nail the Man of the Match accolade with some searing breaks and, crucially, accurate passes to allow others to finish off the work he had started. One grateful recipient was wing, Simon Lincoln, who scored OAs’ third try behind the posts as Lombaard put him into space 30 metres out on the right wing.

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The upshot of all this was a half time lead of 24-13 to OAs, worryingly close to a similar score in the away fixture back on October 16th. Then, Lydney came out of their tunnel for the second half having reduced an early OA lead of 21 points and with the firm intention of keeping the ball securely up the team jumper, thus frustrating OAs into penalty after penalty until they won by just two points.

Two incidents prevented a repeat this time. Firstly, with the referee’s whistle almost in his mouth to blow for half time, Tom Gillings earned himself another yellow card, his third for violent play. Thus OAs began the second half with 14 men, but after only a minute, Adams burst through the flaky Lydney midfield for his first and OAs’ fourth, and bonus point gaining, try of the match. This meant that OAs ‘won’ the 10 minute hiatus of Gillings’ visit to the penitentiary 7-0 and, instead of locating ball and jumper as expected, Lydney tried to get back into the match at 31-13 down.

There then followed 35 minutes of intense to and fro. Lydney forwards pounded the OAs’ try line to no avail and the exhaustion caused by playing catch-up rugby finally told as the most brittle point, the Lydney midfield, snapped. And it snapped in spectacular fashion as, with less than five minutes of playing time, Lombaard firstly crashed through to feed Adams for his second and within a minute of the restart repeated the action to feed substitute hooker Brad James, who took a more tortuous path than Adams to the line but scored nevertheless.

OAs were led magnificently by skipper Lawrence White, the forwards tackled, rucked and harried Lydney out of the game. A big 60 minute start for lock, Lloyd Bickle, controlled aggression from tight head prop, Alex Brown, and the inimitable Ellershaw upsetting all those who stood in his path were the highlights. Nobody but nobody let the side down.

OAs: Gregg, Lincoln, Adams, Lombaard, Evans, Vinnicombe, Liebenberg, Ellershaw, Cope, Brown, Bickle, Gillings, Cooper-Millar, White �, Daish.

Reps: James, Hughes, Comb, Edwards, Micans.