National League 2 South
Morgan Thompson, fittingly, led his colleagues out to mark his 200th. National League appearance and celebrated the mark with a hard fought win over the West countrymen, played throughout in a virtual storm of wind and rain.
This week Albanians took every opportunity to score points when chance presented and this pragmatic approach went some way to blunting the vigorous challenge presented by the visitors. In so doing Tom Bednall amassed four penalties and one conversion and, despite the nasty weather OAs took the four league points and will spend the next few days working on areas of improvement.
Such areas will include the lineout as a matter of some urgency. This part of the Albanian game plan is not operating at full capacity but, when it does, greater power will be available to a talented back division.
As it was, the tight scrum stood up well to a bigger outfit, and possession and position gained here left Redcliffians somewhat on the back foot. OAs also used the substantial wind better than did their opponents, scoring at better than a point a minute in the opening phases.
Defence has caused Albanians some problems from time to time but not today. Two breakouts for the visitors resulted in two tries for rumbustious centre Jermain Jones. But all other goal line attempts were forestalled.
Bednall struck as early as the third minute, his first penalty with the wind at his back. He also converted tight head Chamnaoui Zaki’s try after 11 minutes and another penalty before the quarter hour. Jones crossed with three minutes of the quarter remaining to leave the interval score 16-5. Other than a mass of errors from both sides the second period saw Bednall’s last penalty and Jones’ second try as the weather deteriorated further.
There was greater urgency about the performance this week against a determined visiting effort and the team’s willingness to play running rugby even when the elements indicate differently will stand the squad in good stead in the months to come. It was well worth watching!
Next week the team venture west to confront the Crusaders, similarly placed in mid table. Kickoff 15.00hrs.
Press & Publicity
There are no previous fixtures between these teams.