By Haden Tye
After a 15-40 bonus-point win against Cambridge rounded off an impressive season for Albion, Kieran Hallett pinned Albion’s success to hard-work and attention to detail.
Albion’s season came to a close at Volac Park, with Albion finishing second in National League One and winning 13 consecutive games at the end of the season.
Kieran didn’t think that Albion’s winning streak sent out a message, or that it should be assumed that Albion are favourites to win the league next season. However, Kieran praised his sides work ethic for their success, with the hard graft put in by Albion’s players and staff set to continue next season.
“I don’t know if it sends out a message really,” said Kieran. “As of right now, it doesn’t really mean anything. The slate is wiped clean for next year. Internally It will give us a lot of momentum, but I am not sure if it really sends out much of a message.
“If other people want to give us that tag [of title favourites] then that is up to them, we won’t be looking at it from that point of view. Our success this year has been based on hard work and an attention to detail and that won’t change next year.”
Albion were frustrated by Cambridge for much of the first-half and the hosts took the lead just before the break, only for Albion to instantly snatch it back. After half-time Albion came out a different side, but Kieran, a very modest figure, doesn’t reckon he said much at the break to trigger Albion’s lightening start to the second-half.
“I didn’t say a lot really,” said Kieran. “We did some really good stuff in the first-half as well. It was just a case of trying to keep that momentum going. We just talked about starting fast after half-time and we did that. The boys varied the game really well today. They played wide at the right times and they went to our power game at the right times as well and Cambridge couldn’t really handle our power game in the second-half.
“We can always go back to our defence. Our defence is what we pride ourselves on. I have to say, I think we finished with the best defensive record in the league. When you have that cushion of two or three scores, you force the opposition into chasing the game and that suits our defence down to the ground and we can exert more pressure by doing that and I think we had two or three defensive turnover tries in the second-half which is easy money really.
“They are a good side,” said Kieran of Cambridge. “They are a much better side than the league table suggests. They are well-coached and they are one of the few other team that tries to play decent rugby at a high tempo and they put us under a lot of pressure at times. Defensively we were very good in the first 20 minutes. We made a few line breaks in the first-half and individual errors let us down at times, but we recovered well and we finished the game strong.”
Kieran has built a young ambitious team at Albion and he paid tribute to Sam Daly and Harry Strong after they both had impressive games against Cambridge. The latter scored two tries, whilst the former assisting one of the tries.
“They have grown as the year has gone on,” said Kieran. “Sam has done really well coming from school to come straight into this level. He was a bit shaky in his first couple of games but today I thought he was outstanding. It helps that he is in a pack that is pretty experienced, but it’s great to see those young guys develop throughout the year and hopefully be big players for us next year.”