DMP suffer first defeat of the season at the hands of OA's
Tries from Radwan, Asher-Wood and Uzokwe in close game in St Albans
In a 'ding-dong' battle at Old Albanian's Wollam Playing Fields HQ, DMPRFC lost their 100% league record in a game that could have gone either way.
That said, the home side just about edged proceedings on a day that certainly brought some excitement to the crowd assembled, with the try of the day scored by DMPRFC wing Adam Radwan.
DMPRFC found it difficult to get any possession for the first five minutes of the game and therefore it was no surprise when the home side opened their account when wing Tom Bednall rounded a stretched DMPRFC defensive line to touch down near the posts (5 - 0), the conversion made easy for kicker Dan Watt (7 - 0).
In their desperation for possession, DMPRFC fell foul of the 'man in the middle' which benefitted OA's with two penalties registered by Watt (13 - 0).
With the game entering the second quarter, in an unfortunate incident involving DMPRFC scrum half Matt Dudman, the visitors chances of victory were somewhat scuppered with the player having to leave the field for the rest of the game after colliding with his own player. This forced DMPRFC into a re-shuffle with centre Chris Auld filling the scrum half birth and replacement Garry Law replacing him in the centre.
Having been awarded a penalty after the DUDMAN injury, DMPRFC fly half Brett Connon assuredly kicked the visitors first points of the day (13 - 3).
DMPRFC were further hampered when winger Callum MACKENZIEs forced to leave the field with a mouth injury, replaced by Shaun McCartney.
DMPRFC were awarded a penalty when a home defender held on to the ball in the tackle, reducing the arrears with a well struck kick (13 - 6).
Home player Greg White then registered a late hit on a DMPRFC player and was given his marching orders for a 10-minute sabbatical.
DMPRFC took advantage of the reduction in numbers and Adam Radwan registered with a spectacular individual try that 'knocked the stuffing' out of OA's. Receiving the ball just inside his own half in broken play, RADWAN set off on a blistering run taking him to the posts and leaving bewildered OA's defenders in his wake en route to the try line (13 - 11), CONNON converting and levelling the scores (13 - 13).
Just before oranges there was time for full game debutant and full back Brandon Asher-Wood to score his first try for his new club to put DMPRFC into the lead at the break (13 - 18).
Instead of pushing on, DMPRFC allowed OA's back into the game early after the interval and from a defensive mistake, allowing Bednall in for his brace (18 - 18), with Watt adding the extras to take the home side back into the lead (20 - 18).
Brett Connon put DMPRFC back in front with a well struck penalty (20 - 21).
Another blow for the visitors arrived at this stage, when flanker Matt Heaton was 'sin-binned'.
From the resulting penalty, OA's regained the lead with a Watt penalty (23 - 21).
As the game entered the last ten minutes, the game could have turned in favour of either side, but it was OA's who took the first steps towards wrapping up the game, when Reuben Bird-Tulloch took the direct route through the centre of the visitors defence who were found wanting in the tackle (28 - 21), Watt adding the easy conversion (30 - 21).
Watt was then yellow carded, before CONNON reduced the arrears with a well struck penalty (30 - 24).
DMPRFC sensed weakness and again exploited the opposition's reduction in personnel and the introduction of replacement flanker Simon Uzokwe again produced the goods, with the player forcing his way over from close range after an attacking scrum (30 - 29). An excellent conversion took DMPRFC back into the lead (30 - 31) and looking good to snatch the win.
However, with very little time remaining, from the re-start DMPRFC failed to deal adequately with the management of the ball and when a kick out of defence failed, they were always under pressure and the pressure told when a defender transgressed at the ruck and OA's won the game with the resulting penalty.
So a single bonus points for DMPRFC's efforts and a return to the Northern Echo Arena for next week's home game against Old Elthamians RFC, new to National League One, but doing very well.
Photo Credit : Neil Baldwin