Last Gasp Win!
A strong performance by Barnes' forwards, but the outcome decided by the team's defence
All the early action was in the visitors' half. OA's took the lead with a very good 7 point try before 10 minutes. Barnes' defence then held against 2 attacks close to their line. Early in the second quarter Albanians kicked a penalty for the points. Then from the regained restart Barnes backs produced their own very good try from their second time in the opposition half. They were awarded two yellow cards towards the end of the first half but great defence only resulted in a penalty that doubled Albanians' lead. Early in the second half with Barnes still depleted both teams scored 7 point tries. At the end of the third quarter Albanians' lead was halved. In the last 8 minutes of 46 not counting injury time the home team held out against Barnes' forwards who finally found a gap.
The visitors cleared the home team's kick-off to touch 9 metres from halfway. From the line-out Albanians released to centre then recycled twice before having a kick charged down. The Ref. then went back to award the first penalty to them 7 metres ahead and they kicked for a second line-out 12 metres out. The ball was kept close for 4 phases before they were penalised at the next breakdown and Barnes kicked to touch 15 metres from halfway. At this line-out Albanians were awarded a free-kick and they ran the ball. After 7 mixed phases they kicked to touch 17 metres out. Barnes used an up-and-under soon after their line-out; OA's ran back then were intercepted after their first recycle. Barnes had the ball for 2 phases before the opposition forced an error to get the first scrum put-in at halfway. Albanians got the ball away under pressure and recycled blind twice before advancing then recycled twice more to get a penalty at their opponents' 10 metre line. A very good kick took them almost to the five metre line; the ball was kept in first then their drive went down. One recycle close then another to the short side preceded a couple of good close passes that sent flanker Munday crossing the line near the corner before coming in nearer the posts before 10 minutes. Centre Watt converted.
Albanians replied to the restart with an up-and-under to the other half. Barnes got the ball then the receiver was caught but OA's were penalised 12 metres into the visitors' half. This was run but only to an opposition penalty 7 metres ahead. Another good kick was put into touch 9 metres out. The ball was kept in then OA's got another penalty 12 metres out. They kicked for another line-out 5 metres out and threw that not-straight. Next they were penalised in the scrum and the visitors kicked for a line-out at their 10 metre line. That was stolen and Albanians went wide; after 3 recycles they kicked to the 22 where a defender easily marked the catch. The kick went into touch 4 metres past halfway and from their line-out Albanians advanced 12 metres with 5 mixed phases to an opposition put-in. They were penalised at the scrum and Barnes kicked for their first foray into the other half. This after 18 minutes and to touch 18 metres past halfway. From the line-out, with a rejigged three-quarter line, they made ground with 8 mostly close phases until penalised for not releasing 15 metres out. The kick took the home team to 6 metres from halfway and from the line-out they went wide then kicked for territory after 4 recycles. An easy catch was dropped giving OA's a put-in outside the opposition 22. They got the ball away under pressure then recycled 6 times before Barnes were penalised. This just inside the 22 in centre field after 24 minutes and Watt kicked the points.
Barnes regained their high restart; their fullback came up and got the ball at the second recycle. After 6 more recycles he chipped over for wing Martey to run onto then on to the line after 27 minutes. Fly-half Hammett added.
Albanians kicked the restart out on the full but got a free-kick at the subsequent scrum. They ran that and chipped over to close to the line after 3 recycles then an opposition error gave them a 5 metre put-in. From that they recycled close 3 times before being losing possession. Barnes were penalised at their scrum put-in and Albanians kicked for another line-out. Just after that Barnes lost a man for 10 minutes 6 metres out and OA's chose to have a scrum. From that they tried close then went wider twice; after 3 more close recycles Barnes lost another man for 10 minutes. This 12 metres out in centre field and Watt kicked for a 6 point lead before the whistle.
OA's soon kicked back the second half restart; the visitors ran the ball to get a penalty that they ran to get another 18 metres into their opponents' half. They kicked for a line-out 13 metres out; Albanians stopped a drive then Barnes recycled close twice, once wider, then blind making ground before recycling to hooker Head who with significant momentum blasted over wide out after 2 minutes. Hammett added for the lead.
Following the restart and 3 recycles Barnes used and regained an up-and-under then tried another. Albanians got this and quickly ran wide and put together their best set of phases. After 4 close recycles they broke though going wide then after 4 more varied phases fly-half Bednall just got over at the corner after 6 minutes. This while Barnes still had a man in the sin bin; an excellent conversion by Watt meant that OA's had their 6 point lead back.
Albanians secured the high close restart and ran wide; after one recycle Barnes forced an error to get a put-in at the opposition 10 metre line. They were awarded a penalty at the scrum and kicked to 9 metres out. Albanians stole the line-out and ran out strongly to get a penalty 4 metres from halfway. They kicked for a line-out at the visitors' 22 from which they soon went wide and made ground before being kicking to touch. Barnes threw a quick line-out and kicked for territory. An error gave them a scrum just past halfway. For a change they were under pressure in the scrum and conceded a penalty in it. The kick gained 19 metres and after their line-out OA's released to centre where their error gave the visitors a put-in 11 metres nearer halfway. They pushed ahead in this scrum to get their penalty that was kicked for a line-out 15 metres from the home team's line. From that they made some ground with 2 phases before being turned over. Albanians soon used an up-and-under that Barnes got back and went forward again. After 4 mixed phases the defence forced an error to get a scrum 18 metres inside their half. OA's were turned over at centre; the visitors recycled 5 times advancing to get a penalty just inside the 22 at centre field at the end of the 3rd quarter. A kick for the points missed.
Barnes dealt with the long 22 drop-out and used an up-and-under. Albanians got the ball and kicked over forcing Barnes to clear to touch 20 metres from their line. Another forced error at centre gave the visitors a scrum 18 metres inside their half. From that they soon kicked well to touch 27 metres from OA's line. Albanians used an up-and-under after their line-out and that resulted in their scrum 5 metres from halfway. Their penalty at that was kicked for a line-out just inside the opposition 22. After it they had the ball for 4 phases before kicking towards touch and this resulted in another line-out for them 5 metres ahead. They just secured the line-out ball but were directly after were turned over. Barnes used an up-and-under the outcome of which was their scrum at their 10 metre line. This one took time to settle and did not complete; Barnes got a free-kick that they ran; after advancing with 3 phases they got a penalty 19 metres ahead. Their kick took them to 19 metres out and from that they kept the close to get another penalty a metre ahead in centre field and Hammett reduced the deficit to 3 points after the half hour.
The visitors secured the long restart and kept the ball; with 5 mixed phases they got back almost to halfway before passing forward. OA's were penalised at the scrum and Barnes kicked for a line-out at their opponents' 22. They released to centre from the line-out and the defence forced an error to get their put-in 28 metres out. From that with a no. 8 pick-up they advanced strongly to halfway then recycled twice before they were penalised.
The visitors' kick didn't find touch but was dropped by the catcher resulting in another scrum, this time less than 8 metres from the home team's line. The next scrum resulted in a penalty for Barnes and they chose to have another put-in 5 metres out. Their scrum went forward to 2 metres out; another penalty then another scrum followed. This was held and the ball was recycled close 5 times then kicked to the far side. The defence held and the Ref. went back to a previously signalled penalty and there was another 5 metre scrum. The defence held again and Barnes recycled close to the line 6 times before replacement no.8 Nimmo got the ball onto the line not far from the posts. From the dropped catch to the score took 8 minutes with the half lasting 46 minutes. The fly-half added the final points.
Dry, overcast, cool some wind but not enough to cause difficulties; the pitch good. 3 p.m. k.o. with floodlights.