Confidence continues to grow as Birmingham success keeps OAs moving up table
- Credit: Archant
It was a lot closer than it sounds but Old Albanian are still on the move up the National Two South table after a 32-15 success over Birmingham & Solihull.
It was their fourth win in a row and has lifted them up to fifth, seven points behind second-placed Canterbury.
But the lowly visitors will consider themselves unlucky not to have come away with at least a bonus point after failing to take a number of scoring opportunities, especially in the second half.
Birmingham were buoyed by their ferocious performance against high-flying Henley seven days earlier and fielded probably their strongest side.
But this OA team are high on confidence themselves and they started the Woollams clash in determined fashion.
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And having driven into Birmingham territory, they remained there until Dan Watt’s penalty sailed over with seven minutes gone.
That score didn’t half the intensity and if anything it increased and as if to prove it Chris West powered over six minutes later for the first try, Watt adding the extras.
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Fly half Tom Bednall brought roars from the crowd with some silky footwork, Watt again converting but Nick Bingham put the visitors on the board after 30 minutes following his side’s first meaningful attack.
Jack Jolly converted to leave the score at the interval at 17-7.
One thing that has plagued OAs this season though is the short line-out throw and for the fourth time this term, they conceded a try to that set-piece, Luke Smith getting the try on 52 minutes.
Watt’s penalty saw OAs into the final quarter but Mike Hagan bounced a penalty of his own off the crossbar and over with 10 minutes to play.
That left Albanian 20-15 ahead but they wrapped up the bonus-point win with two further scores.
Morgan Thompson got the first from a tight scrum before Charlie Hughes got on the end of a massive catch and drive.
Watt’s conversion completed his 12-point personal tally.
OAs growing confidence will be given a stern test with away trips to both second-placed Canterbury and third-placed Henley before Christmas, starting with a trip to Kent on Saturday.
Albanian also go to Bury St Edmunds with their only home game against London Irish Wild Geese on December 8.