When a tight head prop scores a hattrick these days he receives congratulation rather than the opprobrium he would have encountered years ago when his main, indeed only, function was assumed to be turning up at scrum time with a sizeable portion of attitude.
Alex Giltrow achieved both for Clifton at Woollams scoring the first and last tries within a minute of the whistle at either end of this one sided match and keeping his hand in with another rumble just before half time. The work of the West Country No 3 and that of his stalwart forward colleagues meant this encounter was probably out of OA range as early as the second quarter. There were few frills on display; the visiting forwards set up possession almost at will and maintained a constant stream of good ball all afternoon.
Scrum and lineout were almost exclusively dominated by the visitors who were often matched by their Albanian opponents in broken field play and in regular three quarter operations. With tight play sewn up it was a simple matter of keeping errors to a minimum in order to get to the bonus point which was achieved with Giltrow’s second effort. Eight tries were answered by the ever valliant Chris West with fourteen minutes remaining and Albanians can learn much from this salutary defeat.
There will be other contests which will test OA resolve before this season ends and perhaps the most important of lessons to be put into effect will be the idea of slowing the game down so that more precision can be achieved. This will give confidence in every operation on the field.
Cliftons other try scorers were Brad Talbot, Finlay Sharp, Harry Ascherl, Ian Clark and Dan Broady. Luke Couzens directed play like a true conductor and also notched four conversions. Zac Ward claimed the other two.