National League 2
The garden of England was not a place of relaxation last Saturday as Old Albanian battled new boys Sevenoaks in a dour, attritional contest. There was much in the way of thud and blunder from both sides with the old boys ultimately doing enough to secure the spoils.
Head Coach Dan George was mostly pleased with his side’s showing and praised the undoubted discipline in coming to terms with slippery conditions and determined opponents. “It was an important win for us if we intend to be in contention for a place in the upper reaches of this league”, he said after the match.
The entire first quarter was spent in or near the hosts’ 22 and most of this time the visitors enjoyed possession as well as position so were certainly on the front foot for an extended period. Yet strong Oaks’ defence prevailed and their first breakout allowed Ben Adams a sight of the OA posts. He took the opportunity to open the scoring with a penalty.
Andrew Nurse got on the end of the next Albanian assault into Kentish territory. This time, his clever footwork frustrated the home defence and Toby Elliot obliged with the extras.
So to the interval and, ten minutes into the second period, Elliot bagged his second kick, a 40 meter penalty, to extend the lead but the prevailing conditions, wind and wet, ensured no real emergence of structured play from either side.
OA’s tight game was dependable, albeit the occasional wobble at the lineout, but A’s made enough of an impression at the breakdown and in defence to provide an impenetrable barrier to Sevenoaks’ ambitions.
However matters were still in doubt at the end when a powerful break from Ash Ilston and his neat offload allowed Alex Noot to finally settle Albanian nerves.
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There are no previous fixtures between these teams.