We welcomed an old adversary to Stockwood Park for a friendly and we were all prepared for a hard, physical game – we were not going to be disappointed!
Stockwood started off the stronger of the two sides and spent the first ten minutes camped Old Albanian’s half. Fair play to our visitors they defended stoutly and try as we did we were unable to break through. That was until Reece intercepted a pass in the Old Albanian’s 22 metre line and from the resulting ruck led to a Stockwood freekick and after a further passage of play that gave Arnold his first try of the season as he powered over to score in the corner.
Whereas, the first try was a good team try, the second was scored as a result of a piece of individual flare by Anset. Stockwood found themselves pegged back in their own 22 but with a strong defensive line our visitors never looked like breaking through. From a ruck on our own 22 and good interplay between Dan Spain and Kieran ultimately led to Anset receiving the ball and running virtually the whole length of the pitch, breaking at least three tackles before scoring between the posts, a try that was duly converted by Kieran. This was to prove the final score of the first half and Stockwood went in 12 points to zero ahead.
If I thought that we had played our best rugby in the first half and would struggle to keep the intensity up in the second half the lads were about to prove me wrong. The second half started off in the same vain to the first with us putting Old Albanian’s to the sword. Park stopped another attack and claimed another turn over on the half way line and another excellent passage of play where we passed the ball through the hands, Anset was able to break the line to score his second try of the day.
Instead of taking the foot of the gas Stockwood drove their advantage home and put our opponents under even more pressure! Old Albanian’s were definitely rattled by this time and it wasn’t long before Stockwood were once again driving towards the Albanians line. Stockwood formed a ruck on Old Albanians 5 metre line and following a quick pass by Will to Kieran, who in turn offloaded to Max who ran the ball over the try line for Stockwood’s fourth try of the day.
Stockwood then prepared for Old Albanians restart and what happened next was a moment of brilliance and opportunism from our captain, Dan Loft. Dan L was given the ball from the start and ran through the middle of our visitors to get a well-deserved try to make the score 27:0. Kieran got his second conversion of the afternoon. Stockwood were not finished and following another well worked scrum Stockwood broke down the right wing and a clever kick over Old Albanians try line allowed Kieran to add to his two conversions with a try of his own.
This was to prove the final score of the day as the game had to be ended early as there was a nasty injury to one of the Albanian backs who got injured in a ruck. A very satisfying score line for the team who won by 34 points to Nil.
I was really impressed with the effort shown by the whole team, even though we were comfortably winning they did not stop putting Old Albanians under extreme pressure. It was nice to see in the first half Old Albanians were forced to kick to try and break down Park’s defensive line as they were unable to penetrate it during normal play. Every player played for each other and the support play shown for one another was tremendous to see and it was lovely to get one over Old Albanians!!