Three vital points for OAs at Esher

Mike Allan breaks from midfield to set up the second try for Old Albanians

Mike Allan breaks from midfield to set up the second try for Old Albanians - Credit: Archant

Read Brian Quinn’s match report from OA’s dramatic 30-30 draw at Esher

Five tries to three was a tremendous return for a great effort at Molesey Road last Saturday, writes Brian Quinn.

It is the nearest OAs have come to victory against the Surrey side away from home since promotion to National League One.

Yet in the parlous situation that OAs find themselves, this otherwise satisfying result brings Billy Johnson’s men two points closer to the relegation zone. The three league points earned did not counter Cinderford’s haul of five in their demolition of Fylde and though there is still a safety margin, it is becoming a tenuous thing.

Again, a certain lack of detail let this opportunity slip somewhat since four conversions were missed; and though some of them were difficult - one came back off a post - a potential eight further points would have eased the visitors’ blood pressure.

A Woollams-like wind gave the hosts some advantage in the opening stages and they made first use of it as early as the third minute with a simple penalty by Ian Cross, who had a fine afternoon with the boot. However, he missed another chance when a rolling maul was pulled down illegally moments later.

Johnson announced his presence 12 minutes in after great work by Mike Allan, Jimmy Speirs and Dan Watt. Charley Hughes charged over going into the second quarter courtesy of Watt’s sleight of hand. The fly-half converted safely.

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Alex Mount was put in cleverly by Cross who converted the try two minutes later. OA’s position and possession continued to improve and Watt nailed a penalty attempt after half an hour. Esher had the best of the last 10 minutes of the half with a magnificent Cross penalty from inside his own half. He also converted Harrison Collins’ try just on the break.

Thirteen minutes into the second period Brandon Walker gave Cross the chance to add to his conversion tally. He closed his account with a penalty with 20 minutes left.

To their great credit, OAs scored three second-half tries courtesy of Allan, Sam Lunnon and George Perkins. A single conversion tied the scores.

Another rest week allows Albanians to prepare for the visit of Hartpury College the Saturday after Easter and Andy Holloway insists the team can make up for the disappointing loss in Gloucestershire earlier in the season. Last weekend’s efforts add weight to his opinion and morale in the team is great. If this performance is replicated just three more times the future is secure.