Peter Gavin previews Old Albanian v Worthing Raiders


Old Albanian RFC v Worthing Raiders

16th February 2019 kick-off 3pm

Raiders take to the road again this Saturday to visit Old Albanian at their extensive facility ‘Woollams’ in St Albans. This will be our fifth visit for a National League fixture. OAs visited Roundstone Lane last October emerging victorious, 16-21, in a very close, hard fought encounter.

We have played the club many times dating back to 2003 in London 1.

History & Background stuff

St Albans School, founded in 948 AD, making the school amongst the oldest in the country, is at the heart of OA. A few former pupils with the urge to continue to play rugby together formed the club in 1924. A farmer’s field, a WW1 barrack hut for a pavilion and boundless enthusiasm (and a few beers!) got the club going. Originally fixtures were played at a ground known as Beech Bottom, but a move was made in 2002 to the existing extensive facility known as ‘Woollams’. The 70 acre site is named after a generous benefactor to the School and former mayor of St Albans, Charles Woollam.

The club became ‘open’ in 1937 providing rugby for all not just for old boys of the School.

England stalwart prop forward Jeff Probyn started his career at OA.

The club put out 4 sides on Saturdays with Junior and mini rugby taking over on Sundays (900+ turn up!).

Ladies rugby, OA Saints, play in Championship South East 2 and have finished 3rd for the last two seasons.

The club has a strong link to Saracens, who use the facilities for training.

Club colours: Maroon, Navy & Gold.

Raiders v Old Albanian

We have played OA at level 5 (aka London 1), level 4 (National 2 South) and level 3 (National League 1): Worthing were promoted to level 4 in 2008, with OA catching up in 2010. They pipped us for promotion to level 3 in 2012, but we joined them for season 2013/4. Raiders were relegated, but OA joined us back in level 4 in season 2015/6. They bounced straight back to level 3, but were relegated last season.

A resume of the results and league finishing positions:


2007-8   OA  8 – W 27 W 38 – OA 13 W 2nd (promoted via play off) OA 3rd
2010/11  OA 36 – W 27 W 32 – OA 25 W 8th  OA 5th   
2011/12  OA 50 – W 24 W 13 – OA 41 W 3rd  OA 1st (promoted) 
2013/14  OA 33 – W 20 W 31 – OA 32 W 15th (relegated) OA 10th     
2015/16  OA 27 – W 3 W 24 – OA  31 W 11th OA 2nd (promoted)
2018/19  W 16 – OA 21    

 27th October 2018 Worthing Raiders 16 Old Albanian 21

Just one point and one league spot (21/20 8th/9th) separated the sides prior to this fixture. Raiders hoping with home advantage to increase the daylight. Alas it was not to be, despite staging an onslaught in opposition territory for much of the final quarter, the pressure could not be converted into victory.

Raiders: McLean, Maslen, ForrestJ, Sims, Forrest H, Gwyther, Holt, Birch, Luke, Gatford, Rees, Lake, Harris, Price, Perkins.

Bench: Grief, Adams, Lee, Boyland, Richards.

Scorers: T: Perkins (39 mins), Holt (45 mins): P: McLean x 2 (19 & 69)

Old Albanian: Ricci, Anderson, Watson, Watt, Warne, Wicks, Thompson, Hughes, White-Martinez, Chamnaoui, Hamilton, Illston, Scopes, Mundy, WestC.

Bench: Townsend, Ackuaku, Napier, Hill, Smith.

Scorers: T: Warne (9 mins), Watt (20 & 59 mins): C: Watt x3.

Old Albanian last season… W9/ D1/ L20   54 points 15th (relegated from National 1)

Despite winning 5 from their last 8 fixtures the writing may well have been on the wall earlier in the season as they had spent much of the time in the bottom 3. By early February (W4/ D1/ BP9) they had accumulated 27 points from 22 fixtures played. The top points scorer was Tom Bednall with 129. Dan Watt also clocked up 71. Top try scorer, amongst the players who have turned out this season, was Ross Hamilton with 4. Versatile half-back Morgan Thompson made 24 appearances, prop forward Charlie Hughes 23, lock forward and captain Ross Hamilton on 21.

Old Albanian this season… P21 W9 (8th 47 points)…  (Raiders 12th 45 points)

Since their visit to Roundstone Lane last October, Albanian have managed to increase the daylight between the clubs into their favour, having now opened a gap of 2 points! They have, however, been on a lean run, not getting a ‘W’ on the scoresheet since 8th December, when they took apart LIWG (56-0).

Since then they have lost to:

Hawks (33-12), Bury St Edmunds (24-22), Barnes (20-24), Ram (36-21), TJs (12-47), Old Reds (37-15) and last week Taunton (10-8).

The fixture on 2nd February at ‘Woollams’ against Ding’s was postponed.


As usual a list of the squad used last week is provided, along with detail on several other players who have turned out in recent fixtures. They have chopped and changed their starting line up somewhat, but experienced players, centre Dan Watt, prop forward Charlie Hughes, and scrum half Morgan Thompson have been virtually ever-present. Dan Watt along with South African fly-half Tom Bednall lead the scorers. As would be expected, there are usually a few players from Saracens U18/Academy in the line-up.


This is obviously an important fixture, so please try to get along to add your support from the touchline…it is greatly appreciated by the players.



…….C’Mon Raiders!!!!

Name, Age       *played v Raiders 27th October 2018 Apps 2018/9 Tot N2 App Join Points Honours Position:  Previous Club/s & Appearances 

*played v Raiders

9th February 2019                               Team v Titans (a) Lost 10-8
Alex Chalcraft (22) 8/1R 9 2018 6T E Midland Full Back: Towcestrians
Matt Deane (25) 4/1R 20 2016     Wing: Manly Marlins
Dan Watt* (25) (vice-captain) 20 50 2014/5 2017 5T/10P/38C Herts   Eng Co. Centre: Loughborough Students 12
Charlie Watson* (18) 11/1R 12 2018 2T   Centre: King’s Canterbury, Saracens U18
Mike Hogan (22) 2/1R 3 2018 2T   Wing: Leicester Lions 23
Tom Bednall (25) 11 46 2017 6T/8P/10C/ 1DG   Fly Half: University of Cape Town, UCT Ikey Tigers
Morgan Thompson* (31) 17/2R 86 2015 4T/1C   Scrum Half: Chinnor 27, Ealing T* 105
Harry Morgan (20) 8/2R 10 2018     LH Prop: Saracens U18
Mike Bond (22) 3/2R 5 2018   Herts U20 Hooker:
Charlie Hughes* (28) 19 183 2009 4T Herts TH Prop: Hemel Hempstead, Saracens A
Ross Hamilton* © (30) 15/1R 160 2009 2T Herts Lock: Barnstaple 5
Ashley Illston* (25) 14/3R 17 2018     Lock: Broadstreet, University of Gloucester, Chinnor
Tim Bond (24) 12/1R 38 2016 1T   BS Wing Forward: Cambridge University (Blue 2016)
Tobias Munday* (18) 13/1R 14 2018 3T   OS Wing Forward: Harrow School,  Saracens U 18
Alfie Hill* (23) 3/4R 7 2018     No 8: Ealing Academy
Philip Ackuaku* (21) 0/4R 4 2018     Prop: Leicester Lions 2, Chinnor 1, Broadstreet* 6, Blackheath 11
Zaki Chamnaoui* (24) 14/4R 18 2018 2T   TH Prop: Henley Hawks*8, Harrow, LIWG*28, Ealing Academy U23
Johno Wicks* (22) 3/2R 5 2018     Fly Half: Cheshunt
Adam West (33) 2/4R 6 2018 1T   No8: Harrow
Nick Stevens (34) 3/3R 91 2011   Herts OS Wing Forward: Luton, Tring
Played Recently Last Played
Matt Ramzen (19) 1/1R 2 2018 1T 26th Jan TH Prop: Tabard
Aaron White-Martinez* (25) 6/4R 23 2017 1T 26th Jan Hooker:
Alex Brown (23) 7/2R 9 2018 2T 26th Jan OS Wing Forward: London Scottish 17
Alex Ricci* (25) 15/1R 16 2018 4T 19th Jan Wing: Leeds Beckett, Verulamians
Ewan Starling (21) 5/4R 9 2018 19th Jan Fly Half: Peterborough
Chris Napier* (31) 10/1R 11 2018 12th Jan Lock: Ballynahinch, Ulster 1
Lloyd Anderson* (28) 13 13 2018 4T 12th Jan Wing: Amersham & Chiltern
Chris West* (32) 13/2R 22 2018 4T 5th Jan Herts No 8: Ampthill 3
Ned Warne* (23) 13 13 2018 7T 22nd Dec Wing: Exeter University, Exeter Academy
Tom Holdsworth (22) 11/1R 14 2017 2T 22nd Dec Eng Stu Centre: Taunton 6, Exeter University, Chiefs 7s
Jamie Townsend* (26) 12/2R 14 2018 22nd Dec Wasps 7s Hooker: Richmond 2, Chinnor*83, Harlow,
Alfie Scopes* (19) 11 11 2018 22nd Dec Back Row: Judd, Saracens U18
Ben Calder (23) 1/2R 3 2018 22nd Dec Scrum Half: Ampthill 13