Head Coach's Preview
We make our last trip of 2018 for an away fixture with Bury St Edmunds who will be in confident mood with a continual improvement in their performances over the past month.
We come off the back of a disappointing loss away at Henley which was played in atrocious conditions which has taken its toll on a number of players with injuries to Charlie Hughes, Nick Stevens and Morgan Thompson all ruling them out of selection and with a further late decision to be made on the fitness of captain Ross Hamilton, which will see us travelling to Suffolk with two extra travelling reserves to cover all bases. Our preparation this week has been disrupted and the players have been challenged to bounce back after last week's disappointment in what will be a very tough fixture in front of what will be a big home support.
With injuries and unavailability it provides an excellent opportunity for those players coming into the squad to take their opportunity and demonstrate the ability they have and for some of our senior players to ensure they lead from the front.
Finally we would like to take this opportunity to wish all our supporters a Merry Xmas and thank you for your support this year and we look forward to seeing you back at Woollams in the New Year.
Gavin Hogg, Head Coach
This match was similar, in certain respects, to that played out at Canterbury a few short weeks ago. The weather was foul for the entire afternoon and for some strange reason Albanians acquitted themselves well in only one of the two available halves.
OAs kicked off out of the murk and within seven minutes were reduced to fourteen men when Chris West got a ten minute rest for a technical offence. During his absence Henley took the lead when scrum half Leo Webb dotted down at the end of a smart forward rush. Roddy Giles converted.
The rest of West’s sentence was spent with Albanians camped in the Henley 22 and when restored to a full complement they evened the score in similar fashion to their hosts, Zaki Chamnaoui the man over the line for Dan Watt to convert.
The visitors warmed to the task for the remainder of the first period and held the advantage in position and possession for most of this time. It was no surprise when they took the lead as Morgan Thompson charged over from the base of a dominant scrum. OAs were not disappointed with the half time score of 7-12.
It has been mooted that Henley had the best of the interval team talks since their attitude and application changed dramatically after the restart led by captain, and ex Albanian, Sam Lunnon. He it was who tore through an OA defence suddenly floundering for Xavier Andre to touch down. Giles conversion gave his side a lead they were not to lose.
Thus riled Albanians attacked the Henley set scrum in midfield and it was a tribute to the home back row that they managed to retain possession rushing backwards. Defence rapidly became very effective attack as the OA defence was ripped asunder once more and George Griffiths ended a move started on half way. Giles missed with the kick but Henley were now in the ascendant.
Chasing another attack scrum half Thompson was injured, seriously enough for the players to be ushered from the field by Mr Davies. Thompson was stretchered from the pitch and all were relieved to hear later that his subsequent visit to the Royal Berkshire hospital had been precautionary.
It was left to full back Sam Randle to embarrass the visiting defence once more for the bonus point try. Giles notched the final points of the encounter.
This week the season starts to unwind with a visit to Bury St Edmunds and Gavin Hogg’s men will want to avenge the defeat suffered at Woollams in September. Kickoff 15.00hrs.
Team – Hughes, White Martinez, Chamnaoui, Hamilton, Napier, Bond, Stevens, West, Thompson, Starling, Warne, Watt (c), Watson, Anderson, Ricci | Subs – Bond, Morgan, West, Hill, Calder
Tries – Chamnaoui, Thompson | Conversions – Watt
Brian Quinn, Press & Publicity
In other news...
On Wednesday night Woollams played host to the Herts Returning Students Festival.
10 sides played a 7s tournament with OAs entering an U19s, U20s and a BaaBaas side featuring players from the U21s and Academy.
The U19s won the Bowl Final while the BaaBaas won the Cup Competition.
A great evening and thanks to everyone who came down to play and support!
- Year Joined - 2018/19
- Position - Winger
- Previous Clubs - Towcestrians
- Nickname - Chal / Chally
This season will be a different experience for me having moved clubs for the first time. I’m looking forward to the new challenges with OAs and hopefully contributing to the clubs success this season.
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.