A baptism of fire for youngsters
Old Albanians 55, North Walsham Vikings 0: North Walsham's players and management will not be looking for excuses for this heavy defeat but they can find reasons in the relative resources of the two clubs.
Old Albanians 55, North Walsham Vikings 0
North Walsham's players and management will not be looking for excuses for this heavy defeat but they can find reasons in the relative resources of the two clubs.
Following a recent upheaval at Cambridge four of their players, including director of rugby James Shanahan, have decamped to OAs, considerably enhancing their already strong playing base.
Walsham on the other hand were struggling with unavailability and the late call-off of Jamie Burroughs with a troublesome shoulder injury did little to help their cause. The inclusion of 18-year-old Nick Austin along with Sam Rhodes and fellow debutants Duncan Morrison and Ed Elvin meant that the Vikings had four teenagers in their squad.
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Walsham were nothing if not positive in their approach and in the first 10 minutes gave a good account of themselves, particularly up front, with a couple of solid forward drives which brought them to within striking distance.
OAs weathered the early pressure, made their way up field and Chris Lombard raced in for an easy try and Richard Gregg slotted the first of his five conversions.
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On the next raid Pena Sokia got back to make a try-saving tackle but when the ball came wide wing Chris May was in at the corner. In between the scores Walsham were continuing to play some good rugby without threatening the opposition line.
Seemingly always able to find an extra man in attack, the home side scored twice more before the break through Gregg and Lombard, who found the smallest of gaps down the left flank to take a 24-point lead.
As in the first half Walsham did well for the first 10 minutes or so of the second but the only scoring chances were a long range penalty attempt by Lee Sandberg and a break by Sokia, whose final pass to Stuart Loose failed to go to hand.
OAs rediscovered their scoring touch when Terry Adams found the gap to score.
Play was then held up for around 10 minutes while assistance was given to May, who failed to regain his feet after a tackle and eventually play was moved to an adjoining pitch. Having played the third quarter and conceded just the one try Walsham lost their shape and composure after the enforced break and the home side ran in a further four tries.