Almost a remarkable finish but Old Albanian can still be very proud of their efforts

PUBLISHED: 12:16 16 October 2019 | UPDATED: 12:16 16 October 2019

Ollie Stonham was one of the Old Albanian scorers in their narrow defeat at Taunton. Picture: DANNY LOO

Ollie Stonham was one of the Old Albanian scorers in their narrow defeat at Taunton. Picture: DANNY LOO

©2019 Danny Loo Photography - all rights reserved

Old Albanian came within a whisker of salvaging a remarkable draw following a thrilling afternoon of rugby at Taunton Titans.

They had battled back from 19 points behind with a try on the last play making the score 38-36 to the home side.

Unfortunately for OAs Dan Watt's conversion attempt from out wide on the left wing sailed narrowly past the post and the disappointed full-back was left to rue what might have been.

Neither he nor his team-mates should be too upset though as it was a mighty all-round effort in the last crucial quarter of the National Two South encounter.

It had started well enough for the Woollams-based visitors who took up position in the Titans' 22 for the first 20 minutes.

And when a team stays in opposition territory for so long it is important to come away with points. Skipper Jamie Townsend ensured this when he and most of the pack drove over the Taunton line close enough for a simple Watt conversion.

Six minutes later flanker Charlie Williams put the hosts on the board and veteran fly-half Gary Kingdom levelled things up.

Isaac Dalton then put them ahead on the half hour, with Kingdom again obliging with the extras, but Alex Ricci and Watt made sure the sides were level at 14-14 at half-time.

However, four tries in the opening 20 minutes of the second half was rich and ample reward for the Titans who ripped apart the slumbering Albanian squad.

Jack Arnott, Tom Wyatt, Ollie Down and Williams again, with Kingdom adding four more points with the boot, seemed to be more than enough for the home side.

Yet the visitors did show signs of rallying and Ollie Stonham had surged over in defiance of the odds just before Williams' second.

Watt converted that one and did so again after Mike Bond had lowered the deficit further.

The fullback then imperiously converted a 45-metre penalty with five minutes left and with the Taunton discipline failing. Harry Betts crossed the line with the last move of the match.

It wasn't enough for a draw though but they still left with two bonus points, more than seemed possible during the second half.

They will no doubt bear in mind what is possible when Worthing visit on Saturday.

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