President's Match Day Welcome
On behalf of OLD ALBANIAN RFC I extend a very warm welcome to you all today in particular the Players, Management, Officials & Supporters of LONDON IRISH AMATEUR RUGBY FOOTBALL CLUB on their first visit to Woollams.
LONDON IRISH WILD GEESE, as they like to be known, come to us having scored two excellent tries against high-flying Henley last Saturday. They were within two points at the break in last week’s encounter. Although they currently sit one off the bottom in our very competitive League, we all know that any Team on their day can beat any other ! Our run of four consecutive wins came to an abrupt halt as we were well beaten by a very classy Canterbury Team last week. So here’s hoping for a return to winning ways for OAs. With both Teams needing points, we can expect another exciting encounter this afternoon. Let’s all hope that today’s game is played in the best possible rugby spirit, free from any serious injury.
In addition to welcoming LONDON IRISH WILD GEESE & their entourage this afternoon, I also warmly welcome many of our Sponsors, Benefactors, Vice Presidents, Supporters, Friends & Guests to our Christmas Club Lunch.
Huge thanks go to BESPOKE FLOORING who are generously sponsoring today’s Match & Match Ball. Thank you for your ongoing & most generous support.
Also this afternoon, here at Woollams, we have three other games taking place … the ROMANS, generously sponsored by Peter Blake-Turner, are locking horns with London Irish Wild Geese’s 2nd XV, our GLADIATORS, generously sponsored by R & R Enterprises, are playing the 2nd XV from Leighton Buzzard and our GRIZZLIES, generously sponsored by Peter Buttle of Buttle plc, are pitching up against local Hertfordshire rivals, Tabard. All three games are kicking off @ 2:00pm. Every good luck to all our Lads this afternoon. Play well & enjoy !
Tomorrow our glorious SAINTS, generously sponsored by IHS Markit, currently top of their League, the Women’s Championship South East 2, are away playing with their Counterparts from HAMMERSMITH & FULHAM, who currently sit in second place having not lost a single game this season (2 draws) … Our SAINTS would love your support … so, if any of you are near Hammersmith & Fulham tomorrow, please go along … kick-off 2:00pm.
Tomorrow, here at Woollams, sees our Boys’ U15s taking on their counterparts from Chess Valley kick-off 11am, our two U18s sides taking on Brentwood & Beaconsfield, both kicking off @ 11:30am, &, if that’s not enough rugby !, our fabulous JUNIOR SAINTS U13s, U15s & U18s are all playing against their counterparts from local rivals, Welwyn, kicking off @ 2:00pm. Every good Luck Girls & Boys !
I wish you all a most enjoyable experience here at Woollams, the home of OA Rugby.
Richard Milnes, Old Albanian RFC President
Head Coach's Preview
We welcome London Irish Wild Geese to Woollams for a vitally important fixture for both sides. Last week's set back away at Canterbury places increased importance on the result against Wild Geese to ensure we can staying in touching distance with the chasing pack. Wild Geese will be hoping to pick up vital league points in their quest to move away from the bottom end of the table and they have certainly displayed those fighting qualities in recent weeks.
Last week was very much a game of two halves down at Canterbury with the home side starving us of possession in the 1st half and demonstrated their attacking threat racing into a 17-0 lead. We were much more pleased with our 2nd half showing when we demonstrated our ability to play a little quicker through the paces and start to pose some questions of the home defence.
This week we have a few changes and rotations with Chris Napier replacing Ashley Illston in the 2nd row who picked up a rib injury last week. Tom Bednall comes back in at 10 with Dan Watt moving back to 12. Alex Chalcraft gets a deserved start after impressing off the bench last week and we are delighted to have Ben Calder due to make his first league appearance of the season after picking up an injury in pre-season.
Please come along to Woollams on Saturday and get behind the boys.
Gavin Hogg, Head Coach
Match Report & Photos
It used to be common for folk to walk to Becket’s Shrine at Canterbury from all over Europe; so the Albanian squad and supporters can count themselves lucky they had the use of a warm, modern coach for transportation. Very little else was warm immediately after three o’clock last Saturday afternoon as the hosts built up a lead too dominant to be caught by a worthy second half fightback.
The home side decided to face the elements in the first period and the fierce wind helped their attacking, passing game in that, when you face the breeze and pass to a, properly aligned, colleague, the ball will be blown into his waiting hands. This assumes your passing is accurately weighted. Canterbury’s was and, in their straightforward efforts, they put nary a foot wrong in the first forty.
Correspondingly Albanians found the weather a problem in this period and certainly could not get the territorial advantage expected in these conditions. It didn’t help that possession was also at a premium.
Since a gale blew from start to finish there occurred far more lineouts than scrums, a modern trend in any respect, and Canterbury received a steady stream of well worked possession from the throw-in. They were matched, and more, at the tight scrum and at the breakdown and, in the later stages, the Albanian scrum advanced the visitors cause more than somewhat.
Sam Kenny, Charlie Grimes and Aiden Moss crossed the whitewash. Ollie Best converted the full back’s effort and 17-0 was the half time score. A’s had been out-thought, out-positioned and out-played for most of the first period and, in football parlance, had it all to do in the second!
Strangely, having the wind at their backs did not seem to help the hosts no more than it had their opponents and the positional advantage shifted to the visitors. Chris West barrelled over for Dan Watt to convert as the clawback began but Royce Cadman probably put the match out of reach in the final quarter. Best converted the bonus point try.
Pleasingly there was still fight left and Canterbury were forced back towards their line. A succession of penalties followed gained by the forceful tight scrum, and for each of them Albanians opted for more of the same rather than the unlikely kick at goal.
The match ended when Alex Chalcraft fought his way over but too far out for a successful kick.
London Irish Wild Geese visit Woollams next Saturday. Their fitful start to this campaign will be something they will want to improve.
OAs will seek to get back to winning ways. Kickoff 15.00hrs.
Team – Morgan, Townsend, Hughes, Illston, Bond, Scopes, Mundy, West, Thompson, Watt, Warne, Watson, Holdsworth, Anderson, Ricci | Subs – Bond, Chamnaoui, Stevens, Chalcraft, Starling
Tries – West, Chalcraft | Conversions – Watt
Brian Quinn, Press & Publicity
- Year Joined - 2017/18
- Previous Clubs - Bury St Edmunds, Cambridge
- Position - Centre
- Nickname - Crossfit
After playing under Gavin as Head Coach at BSE, my junior club, it was a pleasure to join up again with him at Old Albanians. Last year was tough....BUT having had so many challenges through the season, I'm sure we have a really strong squad which is able to battle for promotion back into the league we belong in.
Really excited for this season to kick off now... up the OAs!
- Year Joined - 2018/19
- Position - Back Three
- Previous Clubs - University of Exeter
- Nickname(s) - Neddy / Pete
This my first season at OA’s and I cant wait to get out and play with the boys, especially after taking last year out of rugby. From what I’ve seen so far, it looks as if we have a really exciting group of lads and will certainly pushing to get back into Nat 1!
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.