Skipper has six appeal
London One Old Albanian 41 Old Colfeians 12 SIX of the best from OA skipper Gregg Botterman lifted the Woollams' outfit closer to their target of survival in London League One on Saturday against Old Colfeians. The home captain hauled his side from the d
London One Old Albanian 41 Old Colfeians 12 SIX of the best from OA skipper Gregg Botterman lifted the Woollams' outfit closer to their target of survival in London League One on Saturday against Old Colfeians. The home captain hauled his side from the depths of despair after their cup defeat at St Albans last week to the heights of victory in emphatic style. The first blow for OAs was struck with only four minutes gone when line out specialist, James Pavitt plucked the ball from the top of the line out and carefully returned it to the safe hands of his hooker, Botterman. The OA drive was impressive with Dani Bulatovic and props Eugene Thompson and Alesandro Barbieri delivering the horse power, as the ball started its 30-metre journey diagonally to the line from where Botterman was last to rise. Within two minutes the Woollams men had forced a penalty, which Richard Gregg, back on duty after a period of suspension, nudged into touch close to the 22-metre line. Botterman fielded Pavitt's catch and, once again followed the flow all the way to the try line. Colfeians' defensive ranks were left under no illusion as to what their hosts would be attempting but had no answer to the power and OAs repeated the trick twice more before the break. Some more good play before half time was cancelled out by excellent defending on both sides, with Colfs' fly half, David Elwell, keeping his side moving with some intelligent kicking while at the other end Russell Osman and Dani Bulatovic both went close to building on the lead, but it remained 26-0 at half time. After the break, the classy Richard Gregg rifled in a trademark penalty from distance and coolly slotted another conversion from another Botterman special in which Pavitt, naturally, had a big hand. Gregg's enforced absence, since early December, had left a void in OAs' creative play and his kicking prowess had also been sadly missed in a miserable run of results either side of the festive season. His return has given the Club a vital lift at a crucial time as OAs prepare for a trio of big games with top of the table opposition. Their cause will receive a further, massive boost if circumstances allow the back row of Paul Mansfield, Andy Monighan and Roly Burr to stick together over this testing period and display their collective brand of controlled aggression. Resolute in defence, the combative trio continually succeeded in punching through the visitor's defence on Saturday and are capable of posing problems to any side in this league on this form. Colfeians to their credit pushed for a response and Phil Reid did well to apprehend one of Colfs' quick players and then winger Simon Dogbe executed a text book tackle to save what looked like a certain try. The visitors finally scored after the hour mark when Botterman was recovering from a nasty knock and Osman had been sin binned. OAs responded to this score, by Colfs' lively winger, with what looked to be an immediate riposte but were judged not to have grounded the ball. The visitors then went over for a second try on the final whistle after Botterman had rounded off his immense personal performance which even by his own standards will stand out for a long time to come. Coaching Director Bruce Millar and his team, boosted by a good result, will now be focussing all their attention on the trip to league leaders Canterbury on Saturday. Follow the build up to the game, and the progress of OA Saints in the National Women's League, on the Club's website www.oarugby.com OAs: J. Azzopardi, S. Dogbe, P. Reid, R. Osman, M. Evans (E. Orchard 50), R. Gregg, P. Friel, E. Thompson (A. Pearson 51) , G. Botterman, A. Barbieri, D. Bulatovic (G. Blackwell 70) , J. Pavitt, R. Burr, P. Mansfield, A. Monighan.