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11 Jan 2022

Canterbury 3 Old Albanian 12

Neither side took the obvious option of using the wind and slope to advantage in a match which should have been dominated by both elements But the hosts will have been more disappointed in not even attempting to pin the visitors in their own 22 in the second half than the visitors were about the same tactical howler in the opening period.. Regardless, OAs can refer any touchline critic to the scoreboard and the two tries to zero result, indicating if you have the confidence and precision to withstand the weather your morale improves whilst your opponents’ diminishes.

Albanians will be more than satisfied with this performance when, for the most part, the game plan was stuck to. Indeed the way in which Chris West’s men carried forcefully, ball in hand, and defended ferociously when the time came was so successful the men of Kent achieved not a single line break. The only worrying feature was the number of penalties yielded in the first half, a problem largely eradicated after the break.

Tight play has posed problems for the Albanians at times but this proved more of a strength as the afternoon wore on. In the second half it was the Canterbury lineout which felt the greater pressure.

Tom Best opened the scoring for Cs with a penalty 14 minutes in and West charged over beside the posts twelve minutes later after a smart positional kick. Greg Lound converted.

The deciding point came almost on the hour. Play had been bogged down in midfield when the OA scrum took a feed against the head. Elliott McPhun, never one to disdain largesse, tore down the short side and, just before contact, passed to loose head Jevaughn Warren. It took just a moment for him to fix the defender and expertly put Alex Noot away on the left. The fastest man on the field left two potential tacklers in his wake with what turned out to be the clinching score.

There were still fifteen minutes of the contest left and Canterbury used every shot in the locker as the breeze died down. Albanians had done enough and the final whistle brought smiles to the faces of the many partisans who had travelled to the Cathedral City.

Brian Quinn,


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