National Two South: Titans wrath enough to give Taunton the win in Old Albanian clash
PUBLISHED: 17:45 20 October 2018 | UPDATED: 08:44 22 October 2018
A brave and battling performance from Old Albanian and a far more pleasing second-half effort wasn't enough as they fell to a 35-21 loss at home to Taunton Titans.
After conceding two tries inside the opening 15 minutes, Albanian found themselves 21-0 down with the half winding down.
Dan Watt went over right at the end of the first half and the second half was even, with both teams adding two more seven-point hauls.
And OAs dominated the final quarter of the game and on another day they would have scored, points which would have given them at least one bonus point, probably two and who knows what else.
As it is they leave Woollams with nothing and remain stuck in mid-table in National Two South.
Taunton had gone into the game third in the league and it didn’t take them too long to find their stride.
The opening two tries were almost identical, both coming from round the sides of a ruck almost on the line.
Jarrad Hayler and Alfie Petch got them and Gary Kingdom had unerring accuracy with his conversion, something that would continue for the rest of the game.
And the biggest surprise was not that Taunton scored next but that it took so long in coming.
Lewis Webb was the scorer but any of the Titans could have got it, the silver shirts pounding the line before the scrum-half went over.
At that point an OA fight back seemed unlikely. They were being crushed in the scrum and their oft-malfunctioning line-out was not firing.
But Watt’s score and head coach Gavin Hogg’s team talk worked wonders in boosting the confidence of the home side.
And it was they who scored next. This time the line-out worked perfectly, a throw to the back being collected and passed off the top and Ned Warne was able to slip through a Taunton tackle to close the gap to seven.
It would be the closest they would get and a penalty try four minutes later didn’t help, as did a yellow card to Harry Morgan.
Connor Baker added a fifth a minute on 61 minutes but OAs fought back and replied five minutes later, Tobias Munday the grateful recipient after an incredible and powerful run by Lloyd Anderson.
Watt’s conversion returned the gap to 14 and another try would have handed them two bonus points and all the momentum in the world.
And to their credit they gave it a real go, almost breaking the line on a number of occasions.
It wasn’t to be but the second half will give squad and supporters plenty of confidence.
The scrum stood up manfully to their Taunton counterparts and the line-out, when kept simple, worked like a charm.
And with a pacy and strong back-line, someone will be put to the sword soon.
Albanian will hope that is Worthing next week.