Two wins from two for Old Albanian

Billy Johnson is brought down

Billy Johnson is brought down - Credit: Archant

Old Albanian claimed a 29-19 victory over Redingensians on Saturday to make it two wins from two at the start of the National League Two South season.

This second match in the new term provided OAs with another five league points and a lesson in scrummaging whilst gaining them, writes Brian Quinn.

Perhaps both sides can put this one down to early season rust.

This match was not the spectacle it might have been, but if mistakes have to be made it is best they are made early on so there is plenty of time to improve. If mistakes can be made whilst maximum points are being earned so much the better.

The visitors can feel satisfied that they got a lot closer to OAs than they did to Redruth last week. Albanians will consider their discipline, precision and game management was not at the level which is to be desired to thrive in this league. All is yet well in the Albanian camp; there is plenty to work on and there are several absentees and injured players to return.

A win is a win and a bonus point is always accepted with alacrity. Both sides will surely benefit perversely from the errors made.

The visitors had the better of most of the forward exchanges, especially at scrum time, and the OA backs fared better in the loose from almost any position on the field.

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Leo Fielding showed intent on 18 minutes when charging through average tackle attempts wide on the right, finishing under the posts.

He repeated the dose on the half hour after smart work by Jordi Pasqualin and Chris May converted both, the second with a phenomenal swerving kick from the touchline.

A defensive shambles involving no less than two charged down clearance kicks gained a converted try for Redingensians.

Guy Swadling converted to bring the first period to an end.

After the turnaround Matt Gallagher rounded off a crisp attack but the try went unconverted.

Then Billy Johnson was yellow carded. Redingensians, already dominant in the scrum, took the opportunity to roll the OA seven back over their own line, but not close enough for a successful kick from Swadling.

With Johnson’s return the Albanian defence functioned once more, but was competent rather than dominant.The rest was desultory.

Josh Taylor notched the Albanian bonus point, Harry Stapleton stormed over for the visitors and May completed the scoring on the far left ending an almost nerve-wracking experience.

Head coach James Shanahan will have much to think about before the clash with Southend Saxons on Saturday.

Precision and game management will feature heavily in training as will, no doubt, the tight scrum, or else it will be a sad trip to the seaside.

Team: Hughes, Warner, Garside, Bickle, Hamilton, Johnson©, Stevens, Lunnon, Pasqualin, Foster, May, Lombaard, Morris, Fielding, Gallagher. Subs. Taylor, Walliker, Bate, Thompson, Malins.