Clifton success sees sparkling Old Albanian bring the fizz back
PUBLISHED: 17:33 13 March 2019 | UPDATED: 10:56 14 March 2019
It has been a month lacking in consistency for Old Albanian so the sparkling performance in the 49-24 National Two South win over Clifton was welcomed by players and supporters alike.
Albanian scored nine of the 12 tries in this thriller at Woollams to overcome a staunch Clifton effort
In doing so, they climbed into the top half of the league table.
Both teams played fast, attacking rugby on a dry surface but a seriously well-organised defence from Albanian throughout the first half laid the platform for them to amass four tries and a conversion, taking the bonus point into the bargain.
The Bristol-based visitors offered a no-nonsense physical approach but they were not helped by a 13th-minute red card which gave number eight Niall Gibbons first use of the showers.
The set-piece went well for the hosts and the set scrum held up well against bigger opponents and this advantage improved as time wore on.
For the most part the line-out followed suit and showed a marked improvement from some previous outings providing dependable possession on most occasions.
The experience and physical presence of Ross Hamilton and Nick Stevens bolstered the side and this helped create an attacking platform which functioned well all afternoon.
Increasingly Albanian forced Clifton into errors which offered up possession and position more often than not.
Dan Watt marshaled the backs in exemplary fashion and his kicking out of hand neatly turned the visitors’ back-line.
However, he was on target with just two conversions though the difficult wind did not help his cause.
Eight of the OAs tries came from the backs. Former Harpenden full-back Luke Barber bagged a double as did former Verulamians star Alex Ricci.
Charlie Watson joined them on two tries while Morgan Thompson and Alex Chalcraft crossed once each after Hamilton opened the scoring.
The squad now have a week off before travelling to Birmingham & Solihull on March 23.
There will still be four league games to play after that with OAs’ next match at home coming on March 30 when Canterbury are the visitors.