On behalf of Old Albanian RFC I extend a very warm welcome to you all today in particular the Team, Officials & Supporters of OLD REDCLIFFIANS RFC on their first visit to Woollams, the home of OA Rugby.
OLD REDS come to us currently sitting just above the relegation zone with one win out of five so far this term but, as we all know, any Team in this extremely competitive League can, on their day, beat any other Team. All Teams in this League so far have experienced at least one defeat. So expect another trilling encounter this afternoon and let’s all hope it’s played in the best possible rugby spirit free from any serious injury & a win for OAs !
In addition to welcoming OLD REDS & their entourage this afternoon, I also warmly welcome many of our Sponsors, Benefactors, Vice Presidents, Supporters, Friends & Guests to our Friends & Families’ Lunch. Great to have you all here. Huge thanks go to all our Sponsors & Members who are again generously supporting our Club this season and in particular to Blue Sky Building who are Today’s Match & Match Ball Sponsors.
Today our U10s will be performing ball boy duties for the 1st XV game against OLD REDS. Thank you, Boys, your help is greatly appreciated by all our 1st XV Players, Coaches & Medical Staff, in fact, our whole Club.
We have another home game here this afternoon, with our GRIZZLIES hosting the 1st XV of local Hertfordshire rivals, CHESHAM, in the newly formed Herts Middx Merit Table League 4 SW, kick-off 3:00pm. GRIZZLIES lock horns with Chesham following an excellent 33-26 win over UCS OLD BOYS last Saturday. Our ROMANS, generously sponsored by Peter Blake-Turner, are away to EALING 2nd XV in a ZOO SHIELD League Division 2 game & our GLADIATORS are away to AMERSHAM & CHILTERN in a Herts Middx Merit Table League 3 game, following a terrific 74-17 win over Black Horse last week.
Having had a weekend’s rest last week, our glorious SAINTS return to the turf tomorrow here at Woollams to take on HAMPSTEAD LADIES – kick off 2:30pm – in a Championship South East 2 League fixture.
Also tomorrow, here at Woollams from around 11:00am, will see many of our 900+ Minis & Juniors, from our RUGBY RATS up to our Under 18s, playing & training with four matches taking place against Teams from Wasps, Reading, Finchley & Hemel.
Some of our Minis will be over in Henley competing in a Rugby Festival with our own Rugby Festival taking place here at Woollams next Sunday 14 October. Do come along & watch, you won’t be disappointed.
I wish you all a most enjoyable experience here at Woollams, the home of OA Rugby.
Richard Milnes, President
Head Coach's Preview
We return to Woollams on the back of a disappointing loss last week at Tonbridge Juddians. It was a game that got away in one where we had our majority share of possession and territory but failed to turn pressure into points at key times. We have used this week to have a honest reflection of our performance and we were disappointed with some of the individual detail missing last week and used training time to hopefully address these issues and once again focus on the elements of our performance that we can improve in.
Old Redcliffians will present a difficult task and certainly look like they have a large physical set of forwards and the ability to play a good brand of rugby. Conditions are set to be poor so it will certainly be a test of our set-piece game and our ability to be accurate with ball in hand.
A combination of injuries, unavailability and rotation sees Ross Hamilton and Alfie Scopes start in the forward pack this week with Morgan Thompson and Tom Bednall rewning their half back partnership with Charlie Watson moving out to 12. Tom Smith gets his first start of the season on the wing.
We look forward to seeing you at Woollams on Saturday to cheer the boys on.
Gavin Hogg, Head Coach
Maybe beating Rams put unnecessary thoughts of triumph earned without planning into Albanian heads this week. If so these were rudely dispelled by a competent, controlled TJ performance which the men of Kent will be justly proud of.
The win against the erstwhile League leaders was achieved, in large measure, by a titanic defensive effort across the board. This week the hosts showed OAs just what it feels like to be on the wrong end of such a display. Juddians made few mistakes and capitalised in workmanlike manner on those of the visitors indicating, in no uncertain manner, that defence very often is the best form of attack.
Nevertheless the first quarter was equal. Charlie Hughes ended a barrelling break with a neat pass for Adam West to score. Dan Watt converted. TJ scrum half Charlie Edwards stepped off his right foot to burst through near the OA posts for Will Robinson’s improving kick.
So far the home pack was in the ascendancy at the scrum whereas the visiting lineout held the bragging rights at this time. But even now the hosts seemed a fraction more urgent.
OA errors led to penalties and Robinson’s goal attempt, a monstrous flapper, was yet good enough to clear the bar.
Then Lloyd Anderson deftly picked up a probing grubber on his right wing to glide untouched to the posts. Watt had no trouble with the kick.
Will Colderick crashed over from a lineout drive following the concession of another penalty and the conversion left TJ handily placed with a three point lead at the break.
A’s kicked right and deep at the restart and managed to charge down a defenders clearing effort, gaining great position in the home 22. It mattered not for the opportunity was wasted and the hosts got back to midfield. Worse was to come when a hurried pass was intercepted and Chapman crossed the line giving the simplest of kicks to Robinson and a ten point lead to his side.
Almost as a sidebar Watt and Robinson exchanged penalties before the last meaningful score of the match when Anderson broke clear and Hughes had the energy to support him. Watt’s attempted conversion missed narrowly.
Even at the death, to their credit, Albanians showed fight and there was a clear chance to salvage the afternoon with an attacking lineout ten metres from the home line. As happened too often today, this part of the plan went awry and A’s returned with a single league point to their name.
Old Redcliffians pay their first visit to Woollams next Saturday. Kickoff 15.00hrs.
Brian Quinn, Press & Publicity
- 1st XV Captain
- Year Joined - 2009/10
- Position - Second Row
- Nickname - Rossco
- Previous Clubs - Eastern Suburbs (Australia), Saracens RFC
This will be my 8th season at the club and 2nd as Captain, I'm very honoured to be the 1st XV Captain having been here so long and seen so much development throughout the club. I was lucky enough to be a part of a number of promotions, some relegations also unfortunately but it means a great deal to be able to lead my team out each week.
Obviously captaining a relegated side in my first year wasn't the plan but I hadn't given it a second thought because of everything we have in place now at the club. Last season was such a big shift with all the departing players and coaches, it just took us too long to show a decent account of ourselves. We fought right down to the wire but it was just too little too late unfortunately. That being said I really believe we are in a strong place as a club, we've made some great signings for this new season, brought in or elevated some great coaches and lead by the best coach I've ever had in Gavin Hogg.
Arguably it might have been time for me to consider hanging up my boots but I still have a huge amount of excitement for another season of rugby and can't wait to get back in with the guys and show what we're all about.
Looking forward to another great season with all the continued support from everyone involved in and around the club!