Old Albanian’s splendid hour soon forgotten as Cambridge scrum back from behind

PUBLISHED: 07:00 30 March 2018

Jack Daly scored twice for Old Albanian against Cambridge. Picture: KARYN HADDON

Jack Daly scored twice for Old Albanian against Cambridge. Picture: KARYN HADDON


For one splendid hour it looked like Old Albanian were going to extend their remarkable run of results with another five-point win, this time against opponents who had put a half century past them in the corresponding fixture earlier in the season.

The last quarter, however, saw a dramatic change in fortune with Cambridge running out 50-26 winners.

From the off the OA backs were in sparkling form with Jack Daly and particularly Nick Foster making tremendous inroads into a floundering defence.

They were aided by the sterling work of rampaging No.8 Chris West and a titanic performance by Harry Elbrow who carried effectively and tackled ferociously all afternoon.

An early worry was the strength of the bigger Cambridge pack and the scrum had an increasingly bigger effect as the match progressed and was easily the main reason why Albanian came away with only one point.

But all this was glossed over with the events of the first half.

With 10 minutes gone Foster’s brilliant handling and rapid reflexes saw him go over on the far right and Tom Bednall converted in fine style, just as he did again three minutes later when Daly went over in almost the same place.

The forwards joined in the party and drove Ollie Walliker in for number three after a line-out.

Cambridge did pull two tries back from Ali Rayment and Jake Mcloud, the second converted by Ben Penfold, but Daly was in the right place again to bring up the OA bonus point and Bednall’s conversion made it 26-12.

The second half though saw 38 Cambridge points without reply.

The disintegration of the visitors was brought about solely by a dominant Cambridge scrum.

Two Albanian players were yellow carded in the course of the proceedings, leaving OAs with just 13 for more than five minutes.

Few sides thrive in that situation and subsequently morale suffered and a previously robust defence became porous.

Six Cambridge tries followed as a shell-shocked OAs slipped closer to the National One relegation trap door.

With four matches remaining they are seven points behind safety. Caldy are next up at Woollams on April 7.

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