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27 Jul 2019

A narrow defeat but two points gathered

National Two South

- 07/12/19

First XV

24

26

Barnes

  • match report
  • league

Outrageous fortune had little to do with this narrow defeat at Woollams and the two points gathered therefrom left Albanians in tenth spot, two points ahead of next week’s opponents Dings Crusaders.

The slings and arrows were, for a time, cocked and loaded in OA favour. The hosts withstood early Barnes pressure comfortably and worked their way upfield spreading the ball wide at every opportunity.

Yet it still took a smart interception during a Barnes period of possession for runaway winger Josh Hallett to show a clean pair of heels to his pursuers from over half way. Joe Butler converted.

Barnes regrouped and on 25 minutes lock Jamie Collins earned the touchdown after mounting pressure and an efficient driving maul. Basil Strang improved.

Five minutes from half time the structure of the match started to unravel with the first yellow card and penalty try, Ciaran Smyth the guilty party. Not to be outdone Albanians reciprocated, the scores evened again and Tom Bednall went to the bin.

Thus far Albanians had lacked some of the precision of which they are capable, particularly at the lineout. Much the better at scrum time and aggressive in defence, yet a greater share of possession and fewer turnovers would have seen a happier half time break.

The visitors spent most of the third quarter camped in OA territory and their pack, again purposefully mauling, finally found the way through in the thirteenth minute, Conor Harbison credited.

Bednall, restored to the fold, tore over on the left after Albanians had won two scrum penalties. The scores were matched again and the penalties mounted against Barnes; yet they still managed a concerted attack and centre Harry Salisbury crossed when, for once, the OA defence faltered in midfield. Strang converted again.

The string of penalties now went the other way but, despite this, Nic Defeo was on the end of probably the most entertaining move of the day wide out on the right. However this late effort was not quite enough to make up the points difference.

As stated, Dings will offer nothing less than a stern challenge next week as the season gets to half way. Once more unto the breach…!

Brian Quinn,

Press Officer

First XV
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