Author Archives: Lucy Ryland

Game Postponed: Plymouth Albion v Loughborough Students

Plymouth Albion perform a scrum to show the pitch conditions were good enough to play in, while Loughborough Students made their decision not to play because they were unhappy with pitch conditions during the National Division 1 match between Plymouth Albion v Loughborough Students at the Brickfields Recreation Ground, on January 20 2018, Plymouth, Devon, UK. PHOTO: Cameron Geran/PPAUK

Plymouth Albion Director Dave Venables has issued a statement regarding the late postponement of the Plymouth Albion v Loughborough Students National League One fixture today (Saturday, January 20).

Venables said: “I am heartbroken about the game being called off. I would like to thank all our supporters and corporate sponsors for their understanding and look forward to welcoming them back for our next home game on February 3.”

All sold tickets for this game will be valid for any hone game during the 2107-2018 season.

Herbie: “I am Buzzing”

Herbie Stupple (captain) of Plymouth Albion is tackled by Ben King of Old Elthamians,   during the National Division 1 match between Plymouth Albion v Old Elthamians at the Brickfields Recreation Ground, on October 21st  2017, Plymouth, Devon, UK. PHOTO: Sean Hernon/PPAUK

Club captain Herbie Stupple is back in action for Plymouth Albion tomorrow (Saturday, September 20) in their National League One fixture against Loughborough Students at Brickfields (KO 3pm).

Fans’ favourite Stupple, sidelined with a slipped disc in October, is delighted to return to the bench for the club’s first home game of 2018.

He says: “I feel good and excited to be back. I have joined in for the last three or four weeks and completed all the drills to get fit again. I have had pretty much twelve weeks out which is long enough! Starting on the bench is perfect to build my lungs back up. I am buzzing.”

The 27-year-old admits he has found his enforced break from rugby frustrating: “I have been here for so long and it is nice to be part of it. In the last three years I have rarely been on the sidelines but know I can slot back in.

“I am just excited to get back among it now.”

Stupple was impressed with his team’s performance – and 26-nil victory – last weekend: “Fylde always push us to the edge. The last couple of seasons they put up a real fight and we lost a few at their place. To ‘nil’ a team like that who throw the ball around and have such flair in the backs is huge for us, especially away from home.

“Hopefully we will carry that on this weekend against Loughborough and find out what really made us tick.”

The influential number eight says this week’s visitors are something of an unknown quantity: “They change over the years because students move on but this year they are more of a physical side. The last time we played them they had more of a straight presence when carrying. They have still got the backs to throw the ball around and that is what they have always been so dangerous at. But there is a slight twist in their game this year now – having a scrum which is good for them. I expect the unexpected really. If the weather is as horrific as it has been, it won’t be easy for either side.”

With Exeter recalling Jack Owlett and Marcus Street and Will Norton injured last week in Lancashire, Albion face a minor front row crisis. Stupple, though, is not worried in the slightest: “I don’t think it will make much difference. Chappie (Luke Chapman) is one of the best front rows we have and at Pirates he was one of the best there. That’s massive. We can have these injuries and problems but it is always backed up with a positive by bringing a guy like that in.

“Having Dan Pullinger there all the time is great. He is a phenomenal player and really anchors the scrum which is his bread and butter. It is rare to see a scrum go backwards with him at tight-head. During the last two seasons he has probably been the team’s best player.”

The temporary shortage of props has led to Joel Armitage arriving at Brickfields this week, on loan from South West Premier side Brixham, and Stupple rates the loose-head prop: “When Bevan Armitage played here he was always talking about Joel. It is good that he can just come and slot in and he looked sharp in training this week.”

The Loughborough game coincides with a special Ladies’ Day event and Building Plymouth partnership at Brickfields, likely to generate a bumper crowd.

Stupple cannot wait to perform in front of the supporters: “The home crowd are a big driving force for me when I am playing. The respect I get from them for being here such a long time is huge. They keep following and they are still the same faces from years ago. They still follow and they keep coming. It is brilliant.”

Plymouth Albion team to face Loughborough Students at Brickfields on Saturday, January 20 (KO 3pm).

15 Matt Shepherd, 14 Matt Crosscombe, 13 Seta Raumakita, 12 Dean Squire, 11 Harrison Cully, 10 Dan Mugford, 9 Joe Snow, 1 Luke Chapman, 2 Rupert Freestone, 3 Dan Pullinger, 4 Ed Holmes, 5 John Kelly, 6 George Mills, 7 Sam Daly, 8 Eoghan Grace (Captain).

Replacements

16 Joel Armitage, 17 Jamie Salter, 18 Herbie Stupple, 19 Cameron Setter, 20 Jordan Gott

Albion Welcome Loughborough For First Home Game of 2018

Dan Pullinger of Plymouth Albion on the break during the National Division 1 match between Fylde v Plymouth Albion at the Woodlands Memorial Ground, on January 13 2018, Lytham St. Annes, Lancashire, UK. PHOTO: Cameron Geran/PPAUK

Plymouth Albion face Loughborough Students at Brickfields in National League One this Saturday, January 20 (KO 3pm).

It is Albion’s first home fixture of 2018, after their scheduled game against Bishop’s Stortford was called off earlier this month due to a waterlogged pitch.

Kieran Hallett’s side are now third in the table, while Loughborough are in 13th position, two places below where they ended up last season.

When the sides met on the University Stadium’s 3G pitch in September, Albion scored seven tries to Loughborough’s four to win 49-28.

But behind the scoreline was a tense game with the teams level at the break before Albion ran in four second half tries to emerge comfortable winners.

Albion will be in buoyant mood after their 26-nil victory away at Fylde last weekend, a performance described by head coach Kieran Hallett as ‘phenomenal’.

He said: “I bet it’s been a while since they haven’t scored a point at home. Certainly the way they approach the game and how they attack makes it very difficult to keep them under four tries, let alone zero points altogether, so I was really happy with that.”

The game was Plymouth Albion’s first in three weeks and the extended break had some impact on the initial stages of the match.

Hallett explained: “We were a little rusty at times in attack, as we predicted. Ordinarily with the amount of possession and territory we had, I would have liked us to have scored a lot of more points than we did. But to go through that period in the second half when we weren’t as accurate as we should have been, they had a while on top and we could have easily turned over and conceded a try and then who knows what happens? But we composed ourselves, did the business, scored two tries and got out of there with the bonus point.”

First to score was back row forward Sam Daly and Hallett singled out the 19-year old for particular praise: “Sam is playing really well at the moment and brings a lot of energy to what we are doing. He has certainly gone up a level from last year. He gets around the park incredibly well and is physical, which people may underestimate. He is not the biggest back row by any stretch but he certainly hits hard, his work rate is phenomenal and that’s why he gets on the end of these tries.”

Albion’s victory in Lancashire coincided with the shock defeat of league leaders Coventry away at Blackheath. Hallett admitted there were a few raised eyebrows in the changing room afterwards, but says attention is firmly on the game ahead: “We park that pretty quickly and concentrate on Loughborough. I am not too fussed what Coventry do or whether they win or lose. We focus on ourselves week to week and what will be will be. Their lead is so big at the moment that one loss doesn’t really make any difference. If we worry too much about what other teams are doing we will lose sight of what we are trying to do.”

Despite his team’s convincing win over Loughborough in September, the former fly half says the visitors are something of an unknown quantity: “They are a better team now and their new coaching staff came in over the summer so that always takes a while to bed in. They are difficult to analyse because their personnel change so much, with the BUCS league and they are in exam period.

“Looking at the footage, they conceded a mass of points against Caldy but it’s a struggle to see how. They were lots of intercepts and breakaway tries so I wouldn’t really put too much stock by that. We have to be on the money.”

Squad News

Supporters will be delighted to learn that club captain and fans’ favourite Herbie Stupple returns to the squad from a slipped disc injury.

“Herbie is on the bench this week which is great. We want to give him a run out and ease him back in. He is now back in training and has looked good over the past two weeks or so. He is keen to get in the mix.”

Dan Williams is also back in action on the field, although not in an Albion shirt quite yet: “Dan played at the weekend for Newton Abbot and will turn out again this week and probably next, but after that he should be good to go.”

His return is good timing because Hallett will be without Exeter quartet Jack Owlett, Marcus Street, Sean Lonsdale and Harvey Skinner for the next few weeks.

Hallett explains: “There is an A league game on Sunday which ordinarily they wouldn’t be involved in but they have got a few injuries up there as well so that can’t be helped. And I think they will be involved in the Anglo Welsh for two weeks after that. So it’s great that Herbie and Dan are coming back.”

Albion’s sparse front row is boosted by the arrival of Brixham prop Joel Armitage.

“Joel is kindly on loan for the next few weeks from Brixham. Losing Jack and Marcus left us a little light up front and then Will Norton sprained an ankle in the first minute of the Fylde game so that leaves us with just two props. Hopefully Joel will settle in quickly and we will see how he goes.”

The Loughborough fixture is a sell-out in Brickfields’ corporate venues, thanks to a Building Plymouth partnership event and Ladies’ Day function in the South West Comms Suite. Hallett’s team will be keen to preserve their 13-month unbeaten home record in front of the bumper crowd: “With the Bishop’s Stortford game being called off, haven’t played here since before Christmas so it is our first chance in the new year to get out in front of our own fans.

“We always want to put a show at home.”

Plymouth Albion team to face Loughborough Students at Brickfields on Saturday, January 20 (KO 3pm).

15 Matt Shepherd, 14 Matt Crosscombe, 13 Seta Raumakita, 12 Dean Squire, 11 Harrison Cully, 10 Dan Mugford, 9 Joe Snow, 1 Luke Chapman, 2 Rupert Freestone, 3 Dan Pullinger, 4 Ed Holmes, 5 John Kelly, 6 George Mills, 7 Sam Daly, 8 Eoghan Grace (Captain).

Replacements

16 Joel Armitage, 17 Jamie Salter, 18 Herbie Stupple, 19 Cameron Setter, 20 Jordan Gott

 

Ladies’ Day

WEB 17-01-18 8881 Plymouth Albion Ladies Day 2018 A5 Advert

It’s Ladies’ Day this Saturday, January 20, from 1pm in the SW Comms Suite and we are really grateful to our generous sponsors the Greedy Goose, Plymouth Gin, Alan Cummings & Co and Sandon Court Clinic.

Our third and final Ladies’ Day event of the season will be held on Saturday, April 14 for our National League One game against Birmingham Moseley.

Event Details:

1pm Arrival – Jazz Quartet

Canapes and welcome drinks served by the players!

2pm – 2 Course Lunch Served

Sample menu: Main Course of Supreme of Chicken, Roasted Garlic Mash, Red Pesto & White Wine Sauce, Green Vegetable Medley and Dessert of Chocolate Bavarios.

3pm Kick Off

3.45pm Cheese and Nibbles! Small Goody Bags and a Cracking Raffle

4.30pm Final Whistle. Retire to the Bidfood Marquee for Live Entertainment.

Tickets are sure to sell quickly, so book early to avoid disappointment by contacting (01752) 565064 or email info@plymouthalbion.com

Plymouth Albion v Loughborough

WEB 8845 15-10-18 Albion Home Game A6 Postcard Graphic - Loughborough

Plymouth Albion host their first home fixture of 2018 when they welcome Loughborough to Brickfields this Saturday, January 20 (KO 3pm).

Tickets start from just £15 and kids go FREE (under 16’s free with a paying adult).

Our special Ladies’ Day event is being held in the SW Comms Suite, courtesy of our generous sponsors The Greedy Goose, Plymouth Gin, Alan Cummings & Co and Sandon Court Clinic.

We are also welcoming special guests from the Building Plymouth partnership in the Bidfood Marquee.

We’re all set for a bumper crowd at Brickfields so come along, bring your friends and family and enjoy the game!

Fylde 0 Plymouth Albion 26

Sam Daly of Plymouth Albion scores a try during the National Division 1 match between Fylde v Plymouth Albion at the Woodlands Memorial Ground, on January 13 2018, Lytham St. Annes, Lancashire, UK. PHOTO: Cameron Geran/PPAUK

By Tim March at Woodlands Memorial Park

Plymouth Albion coasted to a bonus point win over bottom-of-the-table Fylde, while league leaders Coventry lost for the first time this season.

Albion were virtually untested throughout the match with tries from back row Sam Daly and newly signed dual-registered Exeter Chiefs winger Harrison Cully in the first half.

It took Fylde until deep into the second half to make any impact on the game when winger Henry Hadfield had a try disallowed.

Albion’s full back Matt Shepherd and scrum half Cameron Setter scored in the final 10 minutes to get the bonus point win.

Albion certainly started the stronger team with most of the possession.

Sam Daly scored the first try of the day putting the Devon team up with a swift move left, converted by Dan Mugford.

Next, Harrison Cully finished off a move deep on the left-hand side of the pitch.

John Kelly’s yellow card gave Fylde their first opportunity to move within touching distance of the try line, five metres out, but it was wasted due to a poorly thrown line out.

Albion reminded Fylde of their threat as Mugford’s interception allowed him to make up 50 metres but a great tackle from Tom Carleton stopped him in his tracks.

Fylde started the second half as they played the first, with simple mistakes leading to prolonged Albion possession.

Albion kept the ball in Fylde’s 22 for extended periods, but some resolute defending kept them from capitalising.

Twenty minutes into the half, Fylde finally applied some pressure and even put the ball over the line, but Henry Hadfield’s try was disallowed after being deemed in touch.

With 10 minutes to go and needing two tries for the bonus point, Albion won a penalty in front of the posts and opted for the scrum.

This led to Matt Shepherd skipping through to get Albion’s third try of the game. Mugford duly added the extras.

Then in the final moments Cameron Setter put the ball over, securing the bonus point win, and Mugford converted, bringing the final score to Fylde 0-26 Plymouth Albion.

Albion head coach Kieran Hallett said: “To go up to Fylde, a team that scores a lot of points at home, and keep them off the score board was a phenomenal effort.”

It was Albion’s first competitive fixture for three weeks and Hallett said legs were a bit rusty: “In the first half our decision making was very good. The variety in attack was spot on, but we only came away with 12 points and that was down to a lack of execution.”

Hallett singled-out second row Sean Lonsdale as man of the match and also praised Harrison Cully’s performance: “He was man of the match at Esher before Christmas and he’s been playing some good stuff. With Jack Arnott and Robin Wedlake out, we felt we could accommodate another winger.”

Albion’s win coincided with league leaders Coventry suffering their first defeat of the season, away at Blackheath (61-29): “There were a few raised eyebrows in the changing room when we saw the score line, but it doesn’t make any difference in the short term. We don’t worry about how other teams do, we just try and focus on ourselves and win every game we can,” said Hallett.

Plymouth Albion’s next match is against Loughborough Students at Brickfields on Saturday, January 20 (KO 3pm).

Fylde

15 Alex Dolly, 14 Henry Hadfield, 13 Luke Fowden, 12 Connor Wilkinson, 11 Tom Carleton, 10 Greg Smith, 9 Greg Nicholls; 1 Dan Richardson, 2 Tom Burtonwood, 3 Adam Lewis, 4 Nick Ashcroft, 5 Olli Parkinson, 6 Matt Garrod, 7 Will Hopwood, 8 Dan Vernon.

Replacements

16 Mark Irving, 17 Ben Gregory, 18 Harlan Corrie, 19 Adam McCarthy, 20 Jake Foster.

Plymouth Albion

15 Matt Shepherd, 14 Matt Crosscombe, 13 Dean Squire, 12 Harvey Skinner, 11 Harrison Cully, 10 Dan Mugford, 9 Cameron Setter, 1 Will Norton, 2 Jamie Salter, 3 Dan Pullinger, 4 Sean Lonsdale, 5 John Kelly, 6 Ed Holmes, 7 Sam Daly, 8 Eoghan Grace (Captain).

Replacements

16 Rupert Freestone, 17 Jack Owlett, 18 George Mills, 19 Jordan Gott, 20 Joe Snow

Tries

Plymouth Albion: Daly, Cully, Shepherd and Setter

Conversions

Plymouth Albion: Mugford (3).

Yellow Cards

Plymouth Albion: Kelly

Fylde: Lewis

Man of the Match: Sean Lonsdale

Hooker Salter Enjoying Rugby

Jamie Salter of Plymouth Albion in action against Joe Beckett of Esher Rugby during the National League One match between Esher Rugby v Plymouth Albion on December 23rd 2017 in Hersham, Surrey, England. (Photo by Gareth Davies/PPAUK)

Plymouth Albion are on the long road to Lancashire this weekend for their National League One fixture against Fylde today (Saturday, January 13, KO 3pm.)

It will be Albion’s first competitive game for three weeks, after their scheduled match against Bishop’s Stortford last weekend was called off due to a waterlogged pitch.

Named in the starting XV for the fourth game in a row, hooker Jamie Salter says the squad are more than ready for the encounter: “Hopefully the break won’t have too much of an effect as we have only had one week off training. We trained last Saturday and the boys are still looking pretty sharp so we should be all right.”

The northbound journey is one of the longest faced by Albion this season, but Salter is not worried about it: “Most of us are used to it by now. Luckily with this one we are staying overnight so we don’t have to get up at ridiculous o’clock in the morning to travel up, so it shouldn’t be too bad. We try to prepare as much as we can, for instance, getting our meals in at the same time. And the good thing about travelling that far is that at least in the morning we have time at the hotel. We can have our breakfast together, rather than getting straight off the bus and playing that way.”

When the sides met in September, Albion scored ten tries in an impressive 68-15 home victory, but Salter says the Lancashire side can still pose threats.

“We will go up there with confidence, but I think in this league we have seen that anyone can beat anyone. The thing with the teams down the bottom is that they will play from everywhere and they will do the unpredictable as they have nothing to lose. We are probably favourites, but I am sure their coach will have told them to go for it. And that is quite often where you can come unstuck as you can’t prepare against a side that can do anything from anywhere.”

In fact Fylde snatched victory in the last minutes of last season’s encounter at the Woodlands Memorial Ground, 39-37.

“They are a strong side at home and last season it was very frustrating when they got that try right at the end. We conceded too many points and we should have beaten them. Hopefully we will put that right this week.”

Head of PE at Newton Abbot College, Salter was full of praise for the achievements of dual-registered Albion and Exeter players Marcus Street and Joe Snow who have been away training with England Under 20s.

“They are both good young boys. Obviously being a hooker I know Marcus well as a tighthead prop and the way he has developed with us over the last year is outstanding. He deserves it and it is good to see Snowy getting recognition too. He has made a big impact this year.”

Now in his third stint with Albion, 32-year-old Salter is pleased with his season so far: “I am going really well and playing some good rugby. It is nice to get the starts back-to-back as mine is a position where playing regularly helps with line-outs and things like that as you get into your rhythm. I am enjoying my rugby.“

Plymouth Albion team to face Fylde at the Woodlands Memorial Ground on Saturday, January 13 (KO 3pm).

15 Matt Shepherd, 14 Matt Crosscombe, 13 Dean Squire, 12 Harvey Skinner, 11 Harrison Cully, 10 Dan Mugford, 9 Cameron Setter, 1 Will Norton, 2 Jamie Salter, 3 Dan Pullinger, 4 Sean Lonsdale, 5 John Kelly, 6 Ed Holmes, 7 Sam Daly, 8 Eoghan Grace (Captain).

Replacements

16 Rupert Freestone, 17 Jack Owlett, 18 George Mills, 19 Jordan Gott, 20 Joe Snow

Albion Travel North To Fylde

Try celebrations for Joe Snow of Plymouth Albion after he dives in to score his sides fifth try during the National League One match between Esher Rugby v Plymouth Albion on December 23rd 2017 in Hersham, Surrey, England. (Photo by Gareth Davies/PPAUK)

Plymouth Albion face a long journey north to Fylde in Lancashire for their first fixture of 2018, after last weekend’s home game against Bishop’s Stortford was called off due to a waterlogged pitch.

Kieran Hallett’s side are now fourth in National League One, just one point behind Ampthill who have played 17 games to Albion’s 15.

In contrast, Fylde are sitting at the bottom of the table, having lost 14 of their 17 matches so far this season.

When the sides met at Brickfields in September, Albion turned on the style to run in ten tries against a young Fylde side.

But it was a different story last season when, at the Woodlands Memorial Ground, the Lancashire side were victorious 39-37, thanks to a last gasp try by fly-half Greg Smith.

Speaking about last week’s postponement, head coach Kieran Hallett says: “It was out of our hands. There was a lot of rain on Thursday night and we cut our training session short as a result. There was so much standing water on the pitch that we had to get the RFU involved. They came to look on Friday and said it was unplayable due to the amount of water on it and that was that.”

It has now been three weeks since Albion’s last competitive game of rugby but Hallett is not worried about the enforced break.

“We trained on Saturday and had a full week of training, so have only had one week off. We will see how we go at the weekend but everyone seems fit and fresh and ready to go.”

The long journey is one of three circa 600 mile round trips on Albion’s schedule this season and Hallett is well aware of the challenges they bring: “It is tough. We won’t get to the hotel much before 1am. If we could leave earlier on Friday that would help but we have to wait for guys to finish work so that makes it a bit difficult. We break it up and stop off for dinner in Bristol on the way. Many of the boys have been here a long time and are used to it now so know what is expected.

“We talk about the challenges each week, depending on whether we are overnight or not. Travel is just another thing we have to factor in this week.”

Despite Fylde’s lowly league position, Hallett describes them as a dangerous side: “There are no easy games and they approach it slightly differently from other teams, especially when at home. They like to run the ball and, as a result, keep a lot of possession so it can be frustrating if you are not as accurate as you need to be.

“We won’t take them lightly. We didn’t win up there last year, so putting that right is a mental focus for us. Every game is massive for them so we have to be wary of that and aware of the emotion they’ll bring.”

Fylde have had a few impressive results, not least a bonus point home win against sixth-placed Bishop’s Stortford 29-22 and, just last month, they held second-placed Darlington Mowden Park to a 10-13 scoreline – also at the Woodlands.

“Through a good link with Sale they have a couple of boys who have come in recently who have done a good job. We know it is going to be a difficult game.”

 Squad News

Albion’s squad remains largely unchanged from the one selected for the Bishop’s Stortford fixture.

Scrum-half Cameron Setter starts in place of Joe Snow who has been away training with England Under 20s.

Hallett explains: “Joe couldn’t train with us until Thursday, so we will bring Cam in to start.”

Plymouth Albion team to face Fylde at the Woodlands Memorial Ground on Saturday, January 13 (KO 3pm).

15 Matt Shepherd, 14 Matt Crosscombe, 13 Dean Squire, 12 Harvey Skinner, 11 Harrison Cully, 10 Dan Mugford, 9 Cameron Setter, 1 Will Norton, 2 Jamie Salter, 3 Dan Pullinger, 4 Sean Lonsdale, 5 John Kelly, 6 Ed Holmes, 7 Sam Daly, 8 Eoghan Grace (Captain).

Replacements

16 Rupert Freestone, 17 Jack Owlett, 18 George Mills, 19 Jordan Gott, 20 Joe Snow