National Two South
Jamie Townsend’s young side will have taken solace in the receipt of a losing bonus point and in the fact that they were never overshadowed by their high flying opponents in last Saturday’s rain-soaked encounter. Confidence thus gained will stand them in good stead for the visit of TJs next weekend.
Once more Albanians were faced with a bigger set of forwards featuring Sam Lunnon and Charlie Hughes amongst their numbers. Yet, despite the early loss of two front-row to injury, the Valliant remainder took the fight to the Hawks at every opportunity and indeed gained praise from the damp spectators of either hue.
Handling by both sides was remarkably good in the stormy circumstances but the abiding memory, albeit in defeat, will be the tenacity with which OA defenders tore down Henley attacks all afternoon. As has been shown on the international stage every victory depends on staunch defence for the confidence it imbues and the realisation that those who recover quickest from any playing error will give themselves a greater chance of taking home the spoils.
Once more tight play gave great hope for the remainder of this season’s campaign and the scrum and lineout worked well. Loose play is something which this squad enjoys and every Henley mistake was followed up ferociously. The Hawks may well consider in midweek why an advantage in possession didn’t lead to an increase in the winning margin. Albanian defence will provide the answer.
The hosts took an early lead when Jake Albon crossed in the third minute. Joe Butler converted his own try nine minutes later after Rory Hardman cleverly drew the defence wide. Butler’s attempted drop goal flew narrowly wide moments later but he made no mistake with a penalty after sixteen minutes.
Hughes barrelled over wide out on the left for Ben Bolster’s astonishing conversion leaving Albanians a point to the good at the break. Six minutes into the second half Bolster’s penalty gave his side a lead they were not to lose and his conversion of scrum-half Ewan Fenley’s close-range effort opened the gap to nine points.
Sustained OA pressure and great work from Nic Defeo gave wing Mike Hogan his opportunity but the miserable conditions made Butler’s improving kick impossible. Bolster’s second penalty ended the scoring with six minutes left on the clock.
Kickoff next week 15.00hrs.
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National League 2 South
National League 2 South