National Three London SE Tring 9 Old Albanian 39 AFTER a grim week of reflection on what might have been against Hertford last Saturday, Old Albanian took control of this match against a feisty Tring side with a memorable backs-to-the-wall defensive effor
National Three London SE
Tring 9 Old Albanian 39
AFTER a grim week of reflection on what might have been against Hertford last Saturday, Old Albanian took control of this match against a feisty Tring side with a memorable backs-to-the-wall defensive effort in the second half.
For a full half-hour Tring pounded away at the OA line and came away with only a single three-point penalty kick to show, before the match was sealed with three fine tries.
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Up to half-time the match had swung evenly between the two sides until OA struck with two tries in three minutes.
Seizing on his own kick-ahead on the left wing, Eddie Panting took the ball a good 40-metres forward and offloaded to Mark Evans, who crossed unopposed for the first, swiftly followed by a lineout 10 metres from the Tring line from which all eight OA forwards drove over the line for lock Marc Comb to touch down.
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Full back Tom Chesters stood in for Wembley-bound Richard Gregg's kicking duties and added a conversion to the penalty he kicked in the sixth minute for a loose ball offence. He was not so lucky when he missed a sitter after Terry Adams broke through wafer-thin Tring tackling and unloaded to Dene Miller five metres out for the third try.
His opposite number, Tom Newton, had slotted two penalties and, with just minutes to go before half-time, the scores stood at 6-20. Crucially, he missed the opportunity to add to his side's score as half-time loomed when OA were penalised for handling on their 10-metre line, 15 metres in. To Newton's horror, his kick hit the crossbar and was cleared to safety before the whistle blew.
Tring put together a monumental attacking effort to narrow the margin after half-time with pick-and-go runs from the base of scrums to wide-out attacks, to the extent that OA hardly left their 22-metre line for a whole half hour.
Last week against Hertford, OA caved in under similar pressure.
This week, a heroic display led by Gregg Botterman, Alex Bennett and skipper, Lawrence White, as well as their three quarters, defied Tring's every move until the visitors could exploit the home side's defensive frailties.
To the credit to every OA on the field, all Tring had to show for their blitzkrieg was a further three points from Newton's boot.
OA put the game beyond Tring's recall when, after kicking ahead, they gained a lineout on the Tring five-metre line when, again, all eight forwards drove over and White came up smiling.
Two further tries, one from Terry Adams and a full length of the pitch interception run from substitute Joseph Lowe rubbed it in for a by now tired and dispirited Tring side.
However, before OA face an unbeaten Bracknell side next week at Woollams, some improvements should be added even to this sparkling effort.
Bracknell are unlikely to let all the missed clearance kicks go unpunished and will capitalise if a further penalty count of 14 is achieved.
Plenty of work still to do, but a victory to savour.
Old Albanian: Chesters, Miller, Adams, Edwards, Panting, Lincoln, Evans, Gelman, Botterman, Tawera, Comb, Bennett, Hamilton, White, Lye. Reps: Hughes, Redfern, Lowe.