OAs emerge from Hull victorious
PUBLISHED: 08:32 05 February 2014 | UPDATED: 08:46 05 February 2014
Hull have had a torrid introduction to National One, winning just once when hosting Worthing last November, writes Brian Quinn.
But they came within an ace of beating Blaydon at Crow Trees in their last fixture and this draw was enough to ensure Albanians treated the Yorkshiremen with all respect at Brantingham Park last Saturday.
A slightly nervous start was not improved when Ollie Cooper-Millar suffered a knee injury in the second minute and was replaced by Andrew Daish ten minutes later. Almost nothing else went right for Ionians all afternoon.
The hosts did put together the first meaningful attack when Alex Torkington, Isaac Green and Sam Wilson moved quickly to the OA twenty two. However ferocious defence turned possession over and Lawrence White found nobody between him and the line a scant sixty metres away. His nerve and stamina held but Lawrence Rayner found the stiff cross field wind a bit too challenging.
Still in the first quarter Sam Staff neatly intercepted Joe Barker’s wayward kick ahead and this time it was Mike Allen who cantered in from over half way, a feat repeated by skipper Billy Johnson in the twenty seventh minute.
Stefan Liebenberg got the bonus point try with five minutes of the half left after a scrum close in. Rayner notched his first conversion for a half time score of 22-0.
Hull were finding it difficult to get over the gain line in the face of Albanian defence but there was no such problem for the visitors whose broken field runners made ground almost at will. However Hull scored first in this period when Chris Reakes crossed the line after good approach work, Green converting.
The remainder of the half proved a dispiriting time for Hull as Albanians added five more tries through Daish, White, William Briggs and Rayner who ended the match with four successful conversions. Just before the final whistle Hull attacked again and got to within ten metres of their objective but, as so often, could not retain possession. A lightning attack allowed George Saunders to finish ninety metres later. Coach Andy Holloway pronounced himself very happy with the day’s events.
Cinderford visit Woollams next Saturday and they will want to haul themselves out of the danger area at the bottom of the division. They will surely be given a warm welcome.