Rosslyn Park 35pts Old Albanian 17pts
It looked for a while like Rosslyn Park were going to avenge their defeat at Woollams in September in some style, writes Brian Quinn. But a veritable avalanche of mistakes from both sides and a doughty example of defence for almost the entire match by the visitors ensured daylight was only put between the sides as the contest drew to a close.
Certainly Albanians will look closely at their tight scrum and the lineout before venturing out against Plymouth next week. The mechanics of the scrum worked well considering the enforced personnel changes but there seemed to be trouble freeing up the ball from the back row. It took until the second period for this problem to be ironed out.
The lineout is a greater worry and either the execution needs practise or the whole approach needs to be simplified. For sure this phase of the afternoon gained Albanians very little though Park were slow to take full advantage.
What Park did do was to take the opportunity to dance through two elements of loose OA tackling in the first half and Hugo Ellis darted in from thirty metres. Harry Hudson did almost the same, still in the first quarter and Harry Leonard converted both.
Sam Lunnon then took advantage of slow RP reactions and sauntered over by the posts after a quickly taken short penalty. Ben Palmer converted. A seven point difference at half time was less than a frustrated crowd expected and things got worse for home supporters.
From the restart the hosts besieged the Albanian 22 for fully eighteen minutes and, as the fourth quarter loomed, had nothing to show for it. However terrific defence eventually bore fruit for the visitors as Nick Foster intercepted from a Park mistake and raced in from fully seventy metres, close enough for Palmers perfunctory improvement.
Charles Piper restored the home lead with a bustling run and Palmer closed the OA account with a penalty shortly after. Hudson and Piper both crossed in the closing moments.
Albanian league position remains unchanged and plans are now well in hand for the challenge from the West Country. If the above mentioned details are addressed there is every reason for confidence.