First Team

PREVIEW: Ealing Trailfinders v Old Albanian RFC Saturday 30th October 2010

Ealing return to Vallis Way after their first defeat of the season at the hands of Jersey last weekend, and whilst there will be disappointment at losing that record, they are well aware that it is only one game of a long season.

DoR Mike Cudmore said following the game, "Whilst we are obviously disappointed at the loss and we wanted something to show for it, but having said that it wasn’t a cup final, just one more game out of 30". National 2 South is more competitive this season than in previous ones, and it is doubtful that any one side will maintain the form needed to go undefeated all season. Only Southend have that now, a draw against Ealing being their only blot! A long season indeed.

OAs were promoted into National 2 South last season after, in their own words "with an emphatic play off victory over Old Patesians", they also became County Champions in the same season, so all in all quite a season for the boys from Hertfordshire.
They have started life in N2S well, and their results to date show that the recruitment over the summer has paid dividends. Indeed, with a host of Ex Cambridge players joining them, they have the experience to compete at this level.

Under the leadership of James Shanahan, their newly appointed player/head coach, they have added some steel to their pack, ex Leicester and Saracens number 8, Paul Gustard has been a solid addition, whilst Stefanes Lieenberg at scrum half is proving a handful for all defences!

The Old Albanian RFC – A history

Where we are today seems a far cry from our beginnings when the Club was formed in 1924 by a group of far sighted Old Boys of St Albans School with a mutual love of the game (and doubtless an ale or two as well!) and acquired our first pavilion, a timber WW1 Barrack Hut. Organised rugby was thus established in St Albans and 13 years later, in 1937, OAs became an open club providing Rugby Union for all.

The Club has produced many players who have won representative honours whilst with us, including Barbarians, Gregg Botterman, Darragh O’Mahoney and Steve Pope. We are particularly proud of Geoff Probyn, who started his illustrious rugby career here and, Welsh International Paul Turner who played regularly in OA hoops before finally hanging up his boots to concentrate on his coaching career.

The Saints are very proud of the wealth of talent that grace our pitches and have, over the years, been home to over 10 International Players. Most recently, we have had representation in the England U20 team from Geri Thomas and Millie Fuggles as well as from Megan Williams for Wales U20s. The Saints also have players regularly included in the Super Fours, Regional and County Teams.
OAs in 2010

2009/10 proved to be a brilliant season for all of our teams; the most successful in the proud 86 year history of our Club. Three of our senior sides, including the 2’s and 3’s, topped their respective leagues and the prize for OA Saints was no less than a place at the top table of womens’ rugby.

After seven years of steady progress in London One, the men’s 1st XV seized promotion to the National Leagues with an emphatic play off victory over Old Patesians, thus becoming the undisputed top old boys club in the whole country. Their achievements were capped in being crowned County champions in, fittingly, the very last game to be played at OMTs’ Durrants Ground in May.

So far in 2010, OAs sit in 7th position, 27 points from their8 games, 5 wins and 3 defeats, 238 points for and 179 against. The three defeats have been away at Worthing (25-32) and Lydney ( 22-27), and last week’s defeat at Woolhams by Richmond (26-39) .
They have some solid, notable wins as well. In the road at Dings is no mean feat as we know ( 24-20), and a demolition of the early pace setters Henley Hawks (50-23) made people sit up and take notice of them.

Stand off Richard Gregg is the clubs top points scorer this season, with 68 points, whilst wing Chris May has 6 tries to his name, and centre Terry Adams 5. They sit in the middle of the table when it comes to yellow cards on 6, Southend on top with 10 and Ealing have 3.

Ealing’s skipper Ben Ward is aware that OAs will pose some problems for them. "They have recruited well, and like all the teams that have come up this season, they are making an impression so far. They have players that have played at a higher level so we will have to be switched on from the start. Some things last week didn’t go our way, but that’s rugby. You have to get back on the training field to put them right. You don’t become a bad side from 1 defeat. We are all looking forward to their visit, and hope to get back to winning ways."

Recent games between Ealing Trailfinders and OAs

This is the first game at National league level between the two clubs although we did meet in the London leagues on our way up.
London Division 1

11/11/06 Ealing Trailfinders 64 OAs 16
16/12/06 OAs 27 Ealing Trailfinders 19