OAs squander 12-point lead
PUBLISHED: 12:53 29 January 2009 | UPDATED: 13:54 06 May 2010
London and South East One Old Albanians 24 Sutton & Epsom 25 COMMON sense dictates that people carrying valuables should avoid dark alleys at all costs. A naïve OA s side ignored this rule on Saturday, casting caution to the wind and, as a result, were we
London and South East One
Old Albanians 24
Sutton & Epsom 25
COMMON sense dictates that people carrying valuables should avoid dark alleys at all costs. A naïve OA's side ignored this rule on Saturday, casting caution to the wind and, as a result, were well and truly 'mugged' by a Sutton side who helped themselves to the precious points being flaunted in front of them.
In a massive reversal of fortunes which ranks amongst the worst on record at home, OA's demonstrated their superior fire power with the first three tries to be scored and then squandered a string of other scoring opportunities, playing as if their victory was already secure. With fewer attacking options at their disposal, Sutton, languishing in the bottom three of the table, creditably stuck to their task and racked up the points through a steady succession of penalties.
The referee applied a zero tolerance policy from the start, immediately penalising OA's for illegal handling and Tom Williams sent over the kick. The fly half nailed another four penalties during the game as the home forwards failed to keep control of their discipline in danger areas.
OA's responded to going behind in the best way possible, in the form of two tries within the space of five minutes. Captain Gregg Botterman scored from close range after Simon Lye, the pick of the forwards, had started the move. The next score was a gem as OA's moved the ball sweetly along the line and a long pass gave Dene Miller the chance to cut inside and give Richard Gregg a better angle for his second, successful conversion.
However, the Woollams' Men were less than convincing in defence and Sutton continued probing for the score which they needed to close the 11-point deficit before the break.
An offside decision against OAs gave Williams an easy kick to make the interval scoreline 14 points to six. OAs started the half stronger, before the rot began to set in, and the excellent Lye burst his way through the defensive line to be apprehended just short. They had more luck in the 50th minute as the hard working Edwards carved his way through and the reliable boot of Gregg established a useful cushion of 12 points. At this point there should have been no way back but a catalogue of ineptitude and indiscipline within the home ranks was to change the game.
With no effective leadership evident on the field, OAs lost both their shape and composure.
In a disastrous 10-minute spell OAs heaped pressure upon themselves by losing three men to the sin bin as a result of technical offences whilst Williams kept the scoreboard ticking over with two more penalties.
It was the lack of numbers that resulted in Sutton's sole try and the whole of the sizeable Woollam's crowd saw it coming. As OA's depleted ranks prepared to defend a set-piece 40 metres away, winger Will Newman telegraphed his desire for the ball in order to exploit the oceans of space in front of him on the left. The excellent Williams obliged with a kick of pin-point accuracy and Newman did the rest, with Williams converting.
In the last minute of normal time, Richard Gregg appeared to have snatched victory with a raking penalty kick from 35 metres but any relief felt by The Woollams faithful proved short lived when Joe Goatley completed the 'mugging' with a soaring drop goal.
OAs: Chesters, Miller, Adams, Edwards, Panting, Gregg, Evans, Gelman, Botterman, Pearson, Mate, Bennett, Kriukelis, Henderson, Lye. Subs: Clarke, Lavin, May.