Albion Back In Action At Brickfields

Dean Squire of Plymouth Albion dives for the line during the National Division 1 match between Plymouth Albion v Hull Ionians at the Brickfields Recreation Ground, on December 2nd 2017, Plymouth, Devon, UK. PHOTO: Cameron Geran/PPAUK

Plymouth Albion are back in action this Saturday, December 16, following the postponement of their game against Birmingham Moseley last week due to poor weather conditions.

Albion will be keen to build on their impressive win against Hull Ionians at the start of December when they take on Old Albanian RFC in their final home fixture of 2017.

Albion head coach Kieran Hallett said: “We were ready to go. We didn’t really want the game to be postponed but it’s one of those things. We saw the pictures and there was plenty of snow so the referee called the game off. These things happen from time to time. Yes, we would have liked to get straight back on the pitch but, as it turned out, we had a full week’s training so I don’t think it will affect anything too much. It is frustrating to lose a free weekend in February, but that’s what they’re there for.”

Old Albanian’s game went ahead last Saturday, but they may be wishing it had not, as they suffered their sixth defeat in a row – against newly-promoted Old Elthamians, 15-24.

As a result, the Hertfordshire club, coached by Gavin Hogg, is currently languishing second from bottom in National League One, a far cry from last season when, under former Albion head coach James Shanahan, they finished a creditable ninth.

Despite their lowly league position, Old Albanian are no pushover, according to Hallett. He says: “It is still a tricky one. If I was in a team in that situation, I would be saying that I had nothing to lose, and teams that have nothing to lose are always very dangerous.”

In fact, as if to prove Hallett’s point, Old Albanian pulled off a shock win over Darlington Mowden Park 33-31 in October. “They can produce big performances when they need to and have a history of doing that this year so it is something we will have to be aware of.

“They could create problems for us but, given how we played against Hull last time at Brickfields, we are full of confidence and in a good place.

“We expect to put anyone away, whoever comes here, whether it is Hull or Old Albanian or anyone. We expect to win at home.

Old Albanian have faced countless injury problems, selecting from only 22 fit players at some points early in the season.

In contrast, Hallett’s injury list looks to be shortening: “Jack Arnott had his surgery this week and Dan Williams is making really good progress, so we hope to have him back after Christmas.

“Herbie Stupple is back training, which is great. It is non-contact, but is a big step that we didn’t think would happen this early.

“Dan Powell tweaked his hamstring again on loan at Exmouth at the weekend, so that is frustrating. He has been looking OK in training but it hasn’t quite worked out which is disappointing.”

Hallett is not making any changes to his squad selected for Birmingham Moseley.

“Julian Salvi and I felt we couldn’t really drop anyone. Nothing has changed from the performance against Hull, so the guys selected to play against Birmingham will play against Old Albanian.”

Plymouth Albion team to face Old Albanian RFC at Brickfields on Saturday, December 16 (KO 3pm).

15 Matt Shepherd, 14 Dean Squire, 13 Tom Hendrickson, 12 Harvey Skinner, 11 Setareki Raumakita, 10 Dan Mugford, 9 Cameron Setter, 1 Luke Chapman, 2 Jamie Salter, 3 Marcus Street, 4 Sean Lonsdale, 5 Dan Swain, 6 George Mills, 7 Sam Daly, 8 Eoghan Grace (Captain)

Replacements

16 Dan Pullinger, 17 Rupert Freestone, 18, John Kelly, 19 Joe Snow, 20 Jordan Gott