By Jack Unwin
Week 28 of the National League One saw a hugely important fixture between Old Albanians RFC and Loughborough Students RFC as both teams strived to distance themselves from the bottom 3. A win for 13th placed Loughborough Students would create a discernible gap between themselves and the bottom 3 whilst also diminishing Old Albanians hopes of survival.
Just as the game looked to be going through the motions after an intermittent opening 12 minutes marred by 2 lengthy injury delays Bitirim produced a piece individual genius to open the scoring. After picking up the ball inside the Loughborough half he ghosted past several opposing tackles with some incredible footwork to take the ball under the posts. The subsequent conversion by Waters was successful, taking the score to 7-0. It took the visitors just 12 minutes to further extend their lead, as Watson took the ball over after a fantastic break down the Loughborough right side lead by Waters and Stapley. With the scores at 0-14 the visitors who were able to strengthen their position further with Waters this time proving the be the beneficiary, taking the ball over the line to make the scores 0-19 at half time.
With Loughborough putting in a fantastic first half it was down to the hosts to prove if they had the character to respond. And the home side did just that, scoring their first try of the game on 43 minutes to take the scores to 7-19. Loughborough’s handsome lead seemed to be disappearing by the second as Old Albanians scored their second just 3 minutes later going over down the Loughborough right. Old Albanians got what their up turn in performance deserved on 62 minutes as they converted their 3rd try to level the scoring at 19-19. Old Albanians completed the comeback, scoring their 4th try on 71 minutes as a succession of turnovers allowed an Old Albanian to be released down the Loughborough left side. There was yet time for Old Albanians to further rub salt into the Loughborough wounds, scoring another converted try on 73 minutes and also slotting a last minute penalty to make the scores 34-19 at full time.
A tough result to take for the away side however they must look to harness the positives out of an excellent first half performance.