For the second week running Albion’s Dirtrackers produced a performance worthy of their best which has so often escaped from their grasp this season. This time it was high-riding Wiveliscombe II who came under the cosh in the Dirtrackers’ best controlled game of the season.
Albion fielded a numerically strong squad with 25 players finally taking the field. On a damp pitch and under a strong breeze the visitors strangely gave Albion first use of the wind and they may have rued that later. Albion took advantage and produced their best clinical 40 minutes of the season in racing to a 27-0 interval lead. Skipper Frost who once again ruled the line-out until he went off early in the second half put Albion on the front foot as he nailed the Wiveliscombe catcher off the kick-off. Albion never released the grip and the visitors yielded up a penalty which Denovan kicked in just the second minute. However the visitors hit back and in the fifth minute almost scored themselves when good handling from their three-quarters took play to Albion’s corner but the last pass went down. Five minutes later Wivey were again held up and could not make their attacking play count. That proved to be their last opportunities of the half as Albion took full command. In the 16th minute Johnson – not for the first time – burst straight through the Wivey defence and found Page who had a lot to do but ran in an arc to score in the corner for Albion’s first try. Four minutes later Collings’ long kick deep into the Wivey 22 saw Albion gain a free kick from which newcomer Devitt went over with the pass missing the intended intervening Albion player but finding the safe hands of the winger. Five minutes later a further blitz through the middle took Albion deep into Wivey territory and from a line-out the typical catch and drive resulted in Modrzynski’s nth try of the season well converted by Denovan. Johnson again tore through the heart of the Wivey defence after a tremendous driving maul by the forwards from half way. Ball and Modrzynski were also scattering Wivey defenders as they drove through the defence. Albion scored their final points of the half three minutes before the interval when excellent recovery work by Saunders set up the ball and Collings jinked through the last remnants of the Wivey defence to score at the posts and for Denovan to add the extras.
The question was whether Albion’s 27 points were sufficient with Wivey now turning with the breeze at their backs. After an initial flurry when Wivey put the Albion defence under some pressure, Albion again took the game by the scruff of the neck and marched the opposition back into their half where they remained for most of the play. Albion rang the changes with ten from the bench now interposing and managed to keep play away from their 22. In the 59th minute, Wivey finally burst through to score near the posts and added the conversion. Such was Albion’s dominance that that was the last sniff Wivey had of Albion’s 22 as the home side continued to take play to the opposition and were unfortunate not to add to their earlier scores. Perhaps the highlight of the closing quarter was Ward’s outstanding tackle on an opponent almost twice his size. That summed up Albion’s play and day.
A good all-round performance in which Albion controlled all events and once the points started coming in the first half, it was clear that it was to be their day.
Next week Albion visit Hornets III against whom they had a good game a few weeks ago but went down 20-39 with Albion tumbling the top sides in recent weeks. Morganians now head the league three points with Hornets III in second place with a game in hand and hotly followed by Wiveliscombe one further point behind and also with a game in hand on the leaders. Albion have simply cemented their 7th place and now have a 9-8 win/loss ratio.
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Team: Denovan; Willis Johnson Smith Devitt; Collings Page; Modrzynski Frost Brakes L Steward Buck Saunders Ball Norman. Replacements – Used – Berry Coates Croker Walker Burrows Kerry Sturdy Moulding Barnett Ward Payne. Unused – Day Pearce.
Scorers: Tries – Page Devitt Modrzynski Collings. Conversions – Denovan (2). Penalty – Denovan.