A strong performance by Barnes -
- despite the scoreline - against a very good team
The visitors kicked off with the advantage of the strong wind; the home team were soon into the opposition 22 with the help of a penalty. The second penalty helped Barnes advance but a second attack from Albanians got into the 22. This was defended and the third penalty, against OA’s, was at halfway at 8 minutes. Fullback O'Toole tried for the 3 points but was short. This led to Barnes’ first attack; another penalty was kicked for a line-out and drive; the line-out ball wasn't secured but tapped and Albanians came through and got it. They broke out recycling 4 times then after another break from an offload they were penalised 8 metres inside their half. This was at 12 minutes; O'Toole's attempt missed.
Another penalty led to the second attempt at a line-out and drive but the line-out was thrown quite long and the wind drifted the ball for the opposition to get. Albanians then put together the best set of phases thus far, more than 20, until the defence forced an error to get a scrum put-in 10 metres out from their line. Albanians' pack forced the opposition back to get a penalty 8 metres out and chose another scrum. After that they recycled 6 times, mostly close, before getting another penalty at 10 metres out in centre field and centre May took the 3 points at the end of the first quarter.
Barnes had another attacking line-out 29 metres out but this was thrown not-straight. After the scrum they hacked ahead and regained a loose ball to get a penalty 9 metres out. They set to try for another line-out and drive from 5 metres out. They soon released to centre then recycled close twice before going wide again, getting to 3 metres out where they recycled close 3 more times. There followed a 5 metre attacking scrum from which they released to centre then recycled twice back towards touch and lock Collins, while tackled, slipped the ball to wing Carlisle standing close at the blind side and he went over at the corner at 31 minutes. An excellent conversion by O'Toole followed.
Albanians regained their high restart and put together an exceptional set of 10 phases taking them to the opposition line where the defence was penalised. They put the ball into touch for a line-out; the defence held but conceded a second penalty. The Ref. had a word with the visitors' captain. The drive from the second line-out took them over with flanker Cooper-Millar on the ball at 36 minutes. The conversion was wide. Barnes held out another very good attack before the half-time whistle with the score 8 – 7 but OA’s would have the wind in the second half.
The visitors secured the restart and ran the ball wide 3 times and also with 3 close recycles before an error by the defence gave them a put-in still 12 metres inside their half. From that their scrumhalf Franklin broke through into the opposition 22. After 2 recycles Barnes were penalised for not releasing 10 metres out; Albanians cleared to touch. Possession changed hands several times before OA’s made a very good break; the visitors forced an error to get the next scrum put-in 28 metres from their line. From it they struggled to get clear then recycled twice before a speculative pass went into touch 17 metres out. OA's kept the ball close with 2 recycles to get a penalty a metre closer. They put this into touch 5 metres out and the pack drove over easily from the line-out at 15 minutes with lock Johnson on the ball. May's conversion hit a post and stayed out.
Albanians secured the restart and recycled 5 times before kicking long for territory. Barnes soon kicked to touch just inside their 22. From the line-out an OA forward broke close and got to 5 metres out; the ball was recycled 5 times mostly close but twice wider before losing the ball. The visitors broke out to halfway then they lost possession and Albanian’s replacement Bate ran off with ball to the posts at the end of the third quarter. May added.
Albanians again secured this high restart and were soon back 16 metres into the other half for their penalty after 5 recycles. Barnes got the next penalty then not long after were turned over. Albanians made yards then sent the ball wide for centre Lombaard to break away and score not far from the posts at 26 minutes. The conversion was just wide.
After the restart and an opposition error, Barnes took a quick line-out and ran the ball for their best sequence of phases of the game. They recycled 17 times before their opponents forced an error to get the next scrum 14 metres inside their half. Albanians had the last attack that got them to 11 metres out. Barnes got the last penalty that they ran; after 2 phases they were forced into touch 17 metres out. From their line-out OA's went wide and lost possession after 3 phases. The visitors then recycled 6 times adventurously before a mistake preceded the final whistle.
Cold and dry, strong wind from the south, fairly bright; a very good pitch.