National League 2 South
London Irish Amateur
Man of the match:
The Wild Geese journeyed North this week and, having not had the most enjoyable of seasons to date, found very little Xmas spirit at Woollams.
Had the OA lineout functioned more than fitfully and had the hosts not made a series of handling errors, the margin would doubtless have been greater than the eight converted tries to no reply.
The lineout was the only facet of play which gave solace to a game but outmatched Exile side who, having won clean possession from the throw, were hard pressed to decide what then to do with it.
A dogged defence kept rampant Albanians out for long minutes but it was only a matter of time before some attacker found a gap.
OA tight scrummagers generated power all afternoon, often stealing the Irish put in. In loose play Albanians were almost unchallenged throughout and, though there was little sunshine, Tom Bednall and Dan Watt made hay from start to finish.
Indeed Watt opened the scoring with his third probing run of the day after six minutes. Charlie Hughes came next followed by Peter Warne on the end of a classic three quarter move. Alex Chalcraft tore in on the other wing for the bonus point try and Bednall ended the half charging down a desperate clearance kick and shepherding the ball over by the posts.
Jamie Townsend, Chris West, off the back of an uncontested scrum and Bednall again brightened up the gloomy second half weather.
Incredibly Watt converted all eight scores for a personal tally of twenty one points.
This wasn’t quite a coach’s dream performance since Gavin Hogg and his team will have much to occupy their time between now and the visit to Henley next Saturday, particularly at the lineout; but there are so many points to savour about this outing. The tight scrum went well, defence was sound (to force any side in this league to go home empty-handed is remarkable!) and Albanians were almost peerless at the breakdown.
There will come a day when Albanians get all their ducks in a row. When that happens, those operating the scoreboard will probably need medical backup!
Kickoff next week in Berkshire 15.00.
Team – Hughes, Townsend, Chamnaoui, Napier, Bond, Scopes, Mundy, West, Thompson, Bednall, Warne, Watt, Holdsworth, Chalcraft, Ricci
Subs – White Martinez, Morgan, Brown, Stevens, Calder
Tries – Watt, Hughes, Warne, Chalcraft, Bednall x2, Townsend, West
Conversions – Watt x8
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