The BARFC 3rd XV having lost just one of their five previous matches travelled up the road to Morganians with their best chance of winning for several seasons but in the end they were denied by the narrowest of margins.
Both sides produced an abundant squad with Albion bringing the cavalry of 24 including newcomer Gale. Morganians have prospered in recent seasons with the recruitment of many young players to replace their older heads and started by testing Albion’s defence by moving the ball from side to side. Albion snuffed out any such attempts particularly when Buck produced an excellent piece of covering to clear his lines. Both sides were guilty of some aimless kicking – this is an area in all forms of Rugby Football where a lot of sides could do with a good technical workshop in tactical kicking – they would all be better for it. Clark starting at Centre was already covering himself with glory with some good tackling and an ability to rip the ball off Morganians attackers. Frost attempted to open the scoring with a somewhat ambitious dropped goal which fell short and wide. In the 10th minute Denovan produced an excellent slicing run through the Morganians defence and chased his kick ahead but was just beaten to the ball by the Morganians defence. However from the resulting scrum Albion wheeled a Morganians put in, Modrzynski picked up at the base and tore through the home defence for a try which Page improved. Albion were now on top and capitalising upon Morganians frequent loss of the ball in contact. Modrzynski’s bursts kept causing the home side problems and Denovan was always sharp from the back. Halftime arrived with just the single score on the board.
In the opening minutes of the second half a strong burst by Morganians Captain and scrumhalf produced a penalty which the same player duly kicked to reduce the arrears. In the 54th minute Thompson who was one of Morganians clever uses of the rolling substitution laws twice featured in a driving move – his second touch ended in a try in the corner to give the home side a narrow 8-7 lead. 8 minutes later Modrzynski’s pick up and drive took Albion into the heart of the Morganians defence. The home side were penalised but Page missed a long range penalty. Morganians resorted by using their backs to take play deep into Albion’s 22. With time running out Albion again produced some forward surges reminiscent of what the home side used to do almost all the time. Page had a further opportunity with a penalty attempt from 35 metres but was wide. Clark now on the flank was tackling his heart out to keep Albion on the offensive with Lipscombe, Saunders and Buller always in the mix. In desperation Albion attempted a 45 metre penalty from the touch line but Denovan’s kick this time was short and the home side gleefully held out.
Albion have showed this season that their re-gathered ranks – particularly in the forwards have produced a good unit capable of taking anyone on. They sensibly quelled the Morganians forward threat and were more conspicuous in the loose play. However both sides were guilty of some poor kicking and handling. Both of these features would of enabled each side to live longer in the oppositions territory and produce more opportunities for scoring. Nevertheless the loosing bonus point will be some consolation for Albion who now need to regroup to meet the challenge of Wells II on Saturday 18 October.
Team: Denovan; Barnett Clark Bertonshaw Willis; Habberfield Page; Modrzynski Lipscombe Frost Gibson Buck Saunders Buller Ruddle. Replacements: used – Rood Coates Higginson Walker unused – Berry Millburn Gale Moulding McCarthy.
Scorer: Try – Modrzynski. Conversion – Page