Albion’s 3rd XV welcomed the league leaders Wyvern who had lost just one match to date. The 3rds fielded a much changed line up with several players appearing out of position. On a glorious afternoon Wyvern soon showed why they are top of the table. Well led by the veteran Richards upfront and marshalled by Perrin outside, the visitors soon saw that moving the ball quickly amongst their backs would produce the goods. After Day had limped off for the home side in the fourth minute – replaced by Harbour – the Wyvern centre immediately burst through the gap and made space for his full-back to run on to score for the opening points. Three minutes later Wyvern again burst through the midfield but were just held. In the 19th minute Wyvern were awarded a free kick and moved the ball quickly out and back and their stand-off went over through to some despairing tackles. Six minutes later the third try was on board when an Albion loose kick gave the Wyvern backs considerable scope to run and this time their flanker was set up for the try which this time was converted. Two minutes later Richards picked up at the back of the scrum and again the ball ran down the Wyvern line for another fine try which had already secured the bonus point. Just before half time, Albion finally pepped up and applied some pressure to the Wyvern line with Norman, Frost and Modrzynski going close but just held up. However Albion retained the ball well and finally Modrzynski forced his way over for Albion’s consolation – the eighth consecutive game in which he has scored. However the glee of scoring was soon faded as Albion failed to cover the kick-off and the loose ball was run back by Wyvern who increased their lead to 27-5 at the interval.
They say that rugby football is a game of two halves and this certainly was. Albion were almost unrecognisable from the team which bumbled through the first half. Firstly they resisted Wyvern’s attempts to break through and sewed up the middle of the field to great satisfaction. Their pack which had been in contention throughout now started applying some close work and Wyvern had more difficulty in dealing with that. Play was now more in the Wyvern half than elsewhere. It took Albion 19 minutes to finally crack the visitors’ defence when Modrzynski burst off the back of a loose ball to score near the posts for Page to add the conversion. With 12 minutes left Wyvern – still under pressure – managed to move the ball quickly and broke away from their own 22 to score a converted try. However the last few minutes belonged wholly to Albion as they immediately went back on the attack. With the last play called, Albion were determined to keep the ball alive and they did so with some relish, taking their time through the various phases before the ball was released and Waters who had had a fine game for a non-regular player, burst over for Albion’s third try and to show what could be done.
The league leaders prevailed but in the second half they were given a thorough examination by a resuscitated Albion 3rds side. Newcomers Waters and Croker fitted in well and had their moments. The bench also did its job as all five appeared. Modrzynski and Norman were at the heart of Albion’s drives with the ubiquitous Frost always prompting. The rest of the pack also did their bit in controlling Wyvern’s forward intentions and causing some problems later of their own. Once the outsides had tightened up, the game was different. Albion take a 6-5 record into the second half of the season and will be seeking to start that off in style against Wellington III on Saturday – assuming that the visitors can muster a side as they have cried off several recent fixtures.
Team: Coates; Burrows Crocker Waters Willis; Habberfield Page; Walker Frost Higginson Day Modrzynski Moulding Norman Ruddle. Replacements : all used – Harbour Buck Berry Shaw Pearce.
Scorers: – Tries – Modrzynski (2) Waters. Conversion – Page.
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