On behalf of OLD ALBANIAN RFC I extend a very warm welcome to you all today in particular both the 1st XV & 2nd XV Players, Management, Officials & Supporters from WORTHING RFC.
WORTHING RAIDERS 1st XV visit us sitting 12th in the League with 8 wins so far this term, just two points but four places below us. When our two Teams met earlier in the season at Roundstone Lane on 27 October we just scraped a 21-16 win in a very tight 5-try thriller. Both Clubs are at the wrong end of the Table and so, with both Teams needing to pick up points, it’s going to be another “nail-biter”! Let’s all hope today’s game is played in the best possible rugby spirit, free from any serious injury.
In addition to welcoming both the 1st XV & 2nd XV from WORTHING & their entourage this afternoon, I also warmly welcome a large number of Members from various Old Albanian Clubs along with the School’s Headmaster, Jonathan Gillespie, & his charming Wife, Caroline, and Chris Harbour, the School’s Alumni Relations & Development Manager. I also welcome David Williams, former President of Hertfordshire Rugby Football Union.
For the last seven rugby seasons Tony Dalwood, ex Head Boy & current Governor of the School, and I organise a coming together of Members from all our Old Albanian Clubs to our “themed” OLD ALBANIAN CLUBS’ PRESIDENTS’ Lunch & it’s very heartening to welcome so many of you here today. Thank you for joining us.
Thanks also go to Rory Davis of R & R Enterprises who is sponsoring today’s Match & Match Ball.
A big thank you to our U9’s who are on Ball Boy duty this afternoon out on pitch 1.
As I mentioned, Worthing have brought their 2nd XV, RAIDERS A, this afternoon to play against our ROMANS, generously sponsored by Peter Blake-Turner, in The Zoo Sports Shield Division 2 League game. RAIDERS A currently sit in 4th place having won 6 of their encounters so far this season with our ROMANS in 9th place having notched up 2 wins in this extremely competitive League. Our GLADIATORS, generously sponsored by R & R Enterprises, are away this afternoon locking horns with Woodford 2nd XV in a friendly game. Currently our GLADIATORS top the HMMT League 3 with 8 wins out of 9 outings so far this season.
Tomorrow sees our glorious SAINTS, generously sponsored by IHS Markit, currently top, by 8 clear points, of the Women’s Championship South East 2, travel to Sutton & Epsom Ladies in the last eight of the RFU Championship Cup. If any of you are down Sutton way tomorrow, our SAINTS would love your support … kick-off 2:00pm.
Tomorrow, here at Woollams, also sees our 900+ Minis & Juniors take to the pitches from 10:00am. Do come along and watch our Stars of future years. It’s always a great morning of rugby activity.
I wish you all a most enjoyable weekend of community rugby here at Woollams, the home of OA Rugby.
Richard Milnes, Club President
Head Coach's Preview
Prior to reflecting upon last week’s performance and welcoming Worthing Raiders to Woollams this afternoon, I would like to take the opportunity to thank and bid farewell to Gavin Hogg.
For those that may not be aware, Gavin is leaving us after today’s game to return home to take up a fantastic and deserved coaching opportunity with Ulster rugby. Gav has been both a very popular coach and man in his time with us here at Old Albanian RFC. Indeed, I am personally very grateful to him for giving me not only the opportunity and support to return to coaching as his assistant, but also in his confidence in my ability to take on the leadership of the coaching team going forward, with Nick Stevens looking after our defence and Tom Whitely continuing his work with our backline. I’m sure everyone will join me today in wishing Gavin and his family all the very best.
Last week we played against a very competitive top 4 team away from home and put in one of our better performances of the campaign. The team’s defensive effort was superb, the players have already responded very well to Nick’s energic, focused and passionate coaching delivery, their willingness to express their desire to play for the team through their defensive effort was clear to see. Our defensive performance was supported by some exciting ball in hand attacking phases and an intelligent kicking threat. The game was in the balance going into the last 10 minutes and whilst we are a team that wants to win, we left Taunton in the end with a well earnt losing bonus point. Unfortunately, we also left Taunton with a couple more injured players. Our medical team continue to do a fantastic job, if they are becoming somewhat stretched and we hope to begin to get a few of our injured players back on the field over the coming weeks.
Today we welcome Worthing Raiders to Woollams, a team in a similar mid-table position to ourselves who will be looking to gain some consistency in performance going into the end of the season.
Look forward to seeing as many of you as possible at the club
James Buckland, Head Coach
This was more like it. Yes, it was another loss but this was a performance with guts and determination at the home of one of the top three clubs in the table. Happily, OAs did not look in any way out of their depth and, if this is the yardstick which measures the rest of the season a strong position in this unpredictable league will result.
Again the scrum stood up well all afternoon and the lineout fared better than of late though still needing a bit more precision. Defence and broken field play were mostly strong and the error count was in a more manageable sector. Much can be taken from this effort and confidence should be high so long as these standards are maintained.
Taunton hooker Chris Francis opened the scoring with a catch and drive after nine minutes and Gary Kingdom converted. Seven minutes later Dan Watt succeeded with a penalty and for the next quarter hour, the visitors enjoyed territorial advantage. It wasn’t a surprise when right wing Mike Hogan followed up an enterprising kick ahead, scoring with something to spare. Watt, enjoying his fiftieth cap, was unlucky with the conversion.
And so it stayed for the next half hour. Position and possession switched from side to side but it seemed Albanians might just hold onto the slenderest of leads. It was five minutes from no side when Kingdom placed the ball some thirty-five metres out from the OA posts and his resultant penalty produced a huge outpouring of relief from the large crowd.
Brian Quinn, Press & Publicity
Recent Results & Upcoming Fixtures
OAs through history
We introduced #ThrowbackThursday on Social Media this season and are now including it in our Match Day Programmes.
Old Albanian RFC
Founded in 1924, Old Albanian RFC is an English Rugby Union Club playing in National League Two South for the 2018/19 season. We are a fully open and inclusive community club based at Woollams, the club’s home ground in St Albans, Hertfordshire offering some of the best playing and social facilities in the UK.
The senior club runs four men’s teams and an Adult Ladies side all playing in competitive leagues, in 2018 the club also launched an Academy for 17 to 23 year olds.
The junior club is one of of the largest and most successful Mini’s & Junior’s sections in the country with nearly 1,000 members playing week in week out between Under 5 and Under 18s, including a growing Girls section operating at 3 age groups; Under 13, Under 15 and Under 18.