Still positives for OAs even if Canterbury Tales makes for disappointing reading overall

Chris West got one of the two tries for Old Albanian at Canterbury. Picture: NEIL BALDWIN PHOTOGRAPH

Chris West got one of the two tries for Old Albanian at Canterbury. Picture: NEIL BALDWIN PHOTOGRAPHY - Credit: Archant

It used to be common for folk to walk to Becket’s Shrine at Canterbury from all over Europe so the Old Albanian squad and supporters can count themselves lucky they had the use of a warm, modern coach for transportation. It was about the only thing that was warm after the kick-off.

Their Kentish hosts built up a lead too dominant to be caught by a worthy second-half fightback and closed out on a 24-12 victory.

The home side decided to face the elements in the first period and the fierce wind helped their attacking passing game, in that when you face the breeze and pass to a properly aligned colleague, the ball will be blown into his waiting hands.

This assumes your passing is accurately weighted. Canterbury’s was and in their straightforward efforts, they barely put a foot wrong in the first 40 minutes.

Correspondingly Albanians found the weather a problem in this period and certainly could not get the territorial advantage expected in these conditions.

It didn’t help that possession was also at a premium.

Sam Kenny, Charlie Grimes and Aiden Moss all crossed the whitewash for the home side though Ollie Best was only able to convert one of them.

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It still meant a 17-0 half-time lead in a period where OAs had been out-thought, out-positioned and out-played for the most part.

But in the same way that having the wind at their backs didn’t help Albanian, neither did it aid Canterbury and positional advantage shifted to the visitors.

Chris West barrelled over for Dan Watt to convert as the attempted comeback began but Royce Cadman put the match out of reach in the final quarter.

Best converted the hosts’ bonus-point try.

Pleasingly there was still fight left from Old Albanian and they forced Canterbury back towards their own line.

A succession of penalties followed gained by the forceful tight scrum and for each of them Albanian opted for more of the same rather than the unlikely kick at goal.

The match ended when Alex Chalcraft fought his way over but too far out for a successful kick.

London Irish Wild Geese visit Woollams on Saturday for a 3pm kick-off.