Gallery: Cup final heartbreak for OAs
PUBLISHED: 13:33 25 March 2009 | UPDATED: 14:01 06 May 2010
Herts Presidents Cup Final Old Albanian 16 Bishop s Stortford 22 IT was a case of what might have been for Old Albanian on Sunday as they saw victory snatched from their grasp by Bishop s Stortford. The Woollams Men looked well on course to win the Hert
Herts Presidents' Cup Final
Old Albanian 16 Bishop's Stortford 22
IT was a case of what might have been for Old Albanian on Sunday as they saw victory snatched from their grasp by Bishop's Stortford.
The Woollams Men looked well on course to win the Herts Presidents' Cup but a try from Adam Draper in the dying moments of normal time, which was converted by Tom Coleman, took the game into extra time and Stortford never looked back.
The game was played in the beautiful sunshine at the picturesque Durrants with a healthy crowd present to cheer on their respective teams.
OAs went into the game full of confidence having beaten Bishop's Stortford in their three previous encounters this season but they started shakily.
Richard Gregg had the opportunity to open the scoring but although his kick was on target the ball fell short of the posts.
Coleman made no mistake at the other end, kicking Stortford ahead after Paul Gustard had been penalised.
A moment of individual brilliance from Gregg saw the fly half run the ball from his own 22-metre zone up towards halfway but his long kick was gathered by Stortford fullback James Rea and cleared to safety.
Then came a spell of five minutes before the interval when OAs dominated.
First Gregg scored a drop goal to level the tie and then a fine individual run from Tom Chesters saw the fullback rewarded with a try that was converted by Gregg to give the Woollams Men a 13-3 half-time lead.
Stortford came out after the break fired up and spent a long time camped in the OAs half.
Gregg was sin-binned for an offence at a ruck and Coleman reduced the deficit from the resulting penalty.
Another Coleman penalty bought Stortford to within four points of OAs but Tryfan Edwards' well executed drop goal meant that Stortford needed a converted try to draw level.
OAs didn't look like letting their lead go as they continued to make surges deep into Stortford territory and when replacement Aaron Sringham was sent to the sin bin for Stortford, OAs looked odds on for the win.
However their inability to find a decisive second try came back to haunt them when a lapse in concentration allowed winger Draper to cross the white-wash under the posts and with Coleman's conversion the last kick of normal time the game moved into extra time.
Draper's try seemed to be a fatal blow for OAs who were just seconds from victory. The Woollams Men never got going in extra time and Stortford made them pay.
Coleman kicked them in front with a penalty and even though they lost hooker Robert Faiers to the sin bin for a cynical trip on Chesters, it wasn't enough to stop Stortford motoring on.
The final nail in OAs coffin came when Coleman slotted home another penalty to put the game out of reach for the Woollams Men.
The dejected OAs players collected their glass tankards but could only watch as Stortford captain Mark McCraith lifted the Cup leaving the Woollams Men to think what might have been.
The focus now switches to London League One action with Luton the visitors to Woollams on Saturday.
OAs: Chesters, Miller, Panting, Edwards, Hearn; Gregg, Evans; Gelman, Botterman, Byrne, Bennett, Pavit, Kriukelis, Gustard, Lye. Replacements: Nelson, Hart, Mate, Peck.