Head Coach's Preview
We travel to 3rd place Henley on Saturday off the back of a pleasing home performance against London Irish Wild Geese last week. Our challenge this week will be significant and we will no doubt have to be on top of our game to gain a win against one of the most consistent sides in the league. Our result last week was satisfying particularly in our appetite to defend and ensure we didn't allow the opposition to score any points and it will once again be an important facet of the game tomorrow. Henley have a strong set-piece and this an area we will need to gain parity in to allow us to gain valuable possession to express ourselves in attack.
We have a few changes in the match day squad with Jamie Townsend, Alfie Scopes, Tobias Mundy, Tom Bednall, Tom Holdsworth and Alex Chalcraft not available for various reasons so tomorrow provides an opportunity for those players who been pushing for a starting spot to take their chance. We are delighted to welcome back captain Ross Hamilton into the starting XV and his experience will be crucial in what will no doubt be a tight affair.
Gavin Hogg, Head Coach
Match Report & Photos
The Wild Geese journeyed North this week and, having not had the most enjoyable of seasons to date, found very little Xmas spirit at Woollams.
Had the OA lineout functioned more than fitfully and had the hosts not made a series of handling errors, the margin would doubtless have been greater than the eight converted tries to no reply.
The lineout was the only facet of play which gave solace to a game but outmatched Exile side who, having won clean possession from the throw, were hard pressed to decide what then to do with it.
A dogged defence kept rampant Albanians out for long minutes but it was only a matter of time before some attacker found a gap.
OA tight scrummagers generated power all afternoon, often stealing the Irish put in. In loose play Albanians were almost unchallenged throughout and, though there was little sunshine, Tom Bednall and Dan Watt made hay from start to finish.
Indeed Watt opened the scoring with his third probing run of the day after six minutes. Charlie Hughes came next followed by Peter Warne on the end of a classic three quarter move. Alex Chalcraft tore in on the other wing for the bonus point try and Bednall ended the half charging down a desperate clearance kick and shepherding the ball over by the posts.
Jamie Townsend, Chris West, off the back of an uncontested scrum and Bednall again brightened up the gloomy second half weather.
Incredibly Watt converted all eight scores for a personal tally of twenty one points.
This wasn’t quite a coach’s dream performance since Gavin Hogg and his team will have much to occupy their time between now and the visit to Henley next Saturday, particularly at the lineout; but there are so many points to savour about this outing. The tight scrum went well, defence was sound (to force any side in this league to go home empty-handed is remarkable!) and Albanians were almost peerless at the breakdown.
There will come a day when Albanians get all their ducks in a row. When that happens, those operating the scoreboard will probably need medical backup!
Kickoff next week in Berkshire 15.00.
Team – Hughes, Townsend, Chamnaoui, Napier, Bond, Scopes, Mundy, West, Thompson, Bednall, Warne, Watt, Holdsworth, Chalcraft, Ricci | Subs – White Martinez, Morgan, Brown, Stevens, Calder
Tries – Watt, Hughes, Warne, Chalcraft, Bednall x2, Townsend, West | Conversions – Watt x8
Brian Quinn, Press & Publicity
- Year Joined - 2017/18
- Previous Clubs - Ballynahinch RFC, Ulster U19, U20, As, Ravens and Irish Colleges
- Position - Second Row
'Don’t stop when you’re tired, stop when your done'
Having moved over from Ireland in 2015 with my wife and three kids and after a brief introduction playing a few matches for the club last year, I quickly realised that this squad had potential! It’s a squad I’m proud to be a part of and with my 10 year old (who is also an OA’s junior) at the side-lines there won’t be forgiveness for anything less than 110% on the pitch.
Pre-season has been great and I am looking forward to an exciting year ahead and ensuring we get this squad back into Nat.1 where we belong!
Really excited for this season to kick off now... up the OAs!
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.