Author Archives: Lucy Ryland

Plymouth Albion 17 Old Elthamians 17

Harvey Skinner of Plymouth Albion goes over for a try to make it draw 17-17,   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

By Paddy Marsh at Brickfields

Plymouth Albion maintained their unbeaten home record this season but they will be very disappointed to draw with newly promoted Old Elthamians.

It was only a late try from Harvey Skinner that got Albion level and they will see this match as three points lost rather than two points gained.

Albion fly half Dan Mugford had a chance to snatch victory with the conversion but to the disappointment of the home fans his effort never looked like hitting the target.

If Mugford had slotted the conversion it would have very hard on Elthamians who have quickly adjusted to life in National 1.

Elthamians making their first ever visit to Brickfields were delighted with the result, which they described as by far their best performance of the season.

A reflective Albion skipper Herbie Stupple said, “We got what we wanted out of the game in the first half and there was a buzz in the changing room at half time.

“In the second half we made far too many errors and didn’t get our game management right.

“Credit must go to Elthamians who in the second half kept the ball very well. They are the best team we have played this season. ”

Stupple added, “We butchered two overlaps in the second half. It was game we could have won but also a game we could have lost.”

On a Brickfields pitch that looked in excellent condition Elthamians had first use of the strong wind and they had a chance to take an early lead.

After Albion were penalised on half way visiting fly half Tom White opted for a long range penalty but his effort drifted wide of the uprights.

Shortly afterwards Elthamians did go ahead when after a series of forward drives flanker Harry Ledger forced his way over with White adding the extras.

Albion hit back from the restart and opened their account when hooker Rupert Freestone finished off a close range catch and drive after his side opted to put a penalty into the corner.

Mugford was wide with the difficult conversion.

With the Albion pack in control another catch and drive set up on the 22 looked like producing a second try but Elthamians held up the drive when it crossed the try line.

Albion got the nudge on at the resultant 5 metre scrum and when Elthamians wheeled it referee Bourke awarded a penalty try.

Elthamians put Albion under pressure at the end of the first half but the home defence held firm to go into the interval leading 12-7.

Elthamians started the second have brightly and regained the lead when centre Max Wilkins sliced through the home defence for a try White converted.

On the hour a White penalty stretched the visitors lead to five points.

Albion did get themselves level when good work from wing Matt Crosscombe set up Skinner for a try that Mugford was unable to improve.

Next up for Albion is a difficult looking trip to Darlington.

Plymouth Albion: M Shepherd, M Crosscombe, S Raumakita, H Skinner, J Arnott, D Mugford, C Setter, W Norton, R Freestone (J Salter 76), D Pullinger, D Swain, E Holmes (S Lonsdale 50), E Grace, G Mills, H Stupple capt replacements not used L Chapman, S Daly, D Squire

Tries: Freestone. Penalty try, Skinner

Old Elthamians: C Surman, D Lespierre, K Moffat, M Wilkins, R Bennett (S Egerton 72), T White, O Claxton (A Brown 72), L Brown, N Morris (J Rudland-Thomas 77), S North (J Fordham 40), A Preocanin, T Scorgie, G Messum capt, H Ledger (H Barton 63), B King

Tries: Ledger, Wilkins

Cons: White 2

Pen: White

Attendance: 1,127

Referee: Robert Bourke (RFU)

Albion ‘Getting There’ says Stupple

Plymouth Albion player Herbie Stupple attacking during the Rugby Union National League 1 match between Caldy and Plymouth Albion at Paton Field, Caldy  on October 14th - PHOTO: Steve Bond/PPAUK

Plymouth Albion welcome Old Elthamians to Brickfields for their National League One game today (Saturday, October 21, KO 3pm.)

Captain Herbie Stupple was pleased with his side’s convincing 17-34 win over newly-promoted Caldy last week.

“We said we wanted to get a big start on the road and we did. We had a bit of a blip but we got the score we wanted at the end and five points. We are getting better each week and getting our set piece moves down to a tee.

“We are getting there and it is building for November when we have got some tough fixtures. If we can put all the pieces together then we will be looking more like it.”

On Old Elthamians, also new to the league, fans’ favourite Stupple says: “They are scoring some great tries and their style of rugby is good, playing from out of their 22 and keeping the ball alive.

“They are an unknown quantity and we can’t afford to underestimate them, but it’s a plus being at home. This is our fortress and we are looking forward to the game.”

Despite the forecast of strong winds and rain for the afternoon, Stupple says his team will not worry about the conditions.

He says: “We are positive about our forward play and set piece so that is a big plus for us if the weather is bad or not. We played Cambridge in the wet and I think we can learn from what went wrong in that game, change a few things and tighten up a bit. We won’t let it affect us.”

With six wins from seven so far, Plymouth Albion are currently second in the league and Stupple is pleased with the team’s start to the season.

He says: “What is really positive is that we are getting these five point wins and each point makes all the difference. We are still working on little things and getting better.

“We are looking forward to seeing what we’re made of in the November spell when we start playing the top tier sides.”

Plymouth Albion team to face Old Elthamians at Brickfields on Saturday, October 21, (KO 3pm):

15 Matt Shepherd, 14 Matt Crosscombe, 13 Seta Raumakita, 12 Harvey Skinner, 11 Jack Arnott, 10 Dan Mugford, 9 Cameron Setter, 1 Will Norton, 2 Rupert Freestone, 3 Dan Pullinger, 4 Dan Swain, 5 Ed Holmes, 6 Eoghan Grace, 7 George Mills, 8 Herbie Stupple (Captain)

Replacements

16 Luke Chapman, 17 Jamie Salter, 18 Sean Lonsdale, 19 Sam Daly, 20 Dean Squire

Hallett: ‘We are in a Good Place’

Plymouth Albion coach Kieran Hallettduring the Rugby Union National League 1 match between Caldy and Plymouth Albion at Paton Field, Caldy  on October 14th - PHOTO: Steve Bond/PPAUK

Plymouth Albion welcome Old Elthamians to Brickfields for their National League One game this Saturday, October 21 (KO 3pm).

Albion go into the game in second place following their 17-34 away win over Caldy.

Head coach Kieran Hallett says: “I was pleased with our win at Caldy last week. The only time we were troubled was the second period of the first-half when we went off-script a bit. We started giving them back the ball which was something we had talked about wanting to avoid.

“Caldy came at us and scored a couple of good tries and then it took a penalty and a score at the start of the second-half before we got the ball back. Once we did we didn’t give it up again.

“Had we stuck to the game plan for the full 80 minutes then I think we would have put a few more scores to our name. We are still a young group and we are learning every week whilst putting good results together.”

Currently sixth in National League One, Old Elthamians are the surprise package this season as the highest placed of the three newly-promoted teams following four wins – over Fylde, Loughborough Students, Caldy and Cambridge – and five bonus points.

Last week they managed to score three tries away from home against heavyweights Darlington Mowden Park before being over-powered 36-21.

The London club has achieved four promotions in the last six seasons under Director of Rugby and Managing Director Gavin Lach, taking the club from London Two to their current position.

Hallett has made some changes to this week’s squad. Centre Seta Raumakita replaces Dean Squire in the starting line up and Cameron Setter comes back in at scrum half. Forwards Dan Pullinger and Dan Swain make starts while prop Luke Chapman and second row Sean Lonsdale are named as replacements.

He says: “There seem to be different individuals stepping up for us in each game but they all know that everything that they do is for the team and it is all about the team. The boys are comfortable with each other; they are a good group and a tight group.

“We are getting to where we want to be and are working hard to get there. We are making fewer errors each week and identifying them when they happen. We are ready to take on anyone at the minute, we have won six on the bounce and we are scoring plenty of points every week. We are in a good place.”

With six wins from seven games, Hallett is pleased with his team’s overall start to the season: “It is positive without really playing at the level we want to. There is still plenty to work on as we go into the difficult November period.”

Plymouth Albion team to face Old Elthamians at Brickfields on Saturday, October 21, (KO 3pm):

15 Matt Shepherd, 14 Matt Crosscombe, 13 Seta Raumakita, 12 Harvey Skinner, 11 Jack Arnott, 10 Dan Mugford, 9 Cameron Setter, 1 Will Norton, 2 Rupert Freestone, 3 Dan Pullinger, 4 Dan Swain, 5 Ed Holmes, 6 Eoghan Grace, 7 George Mills, 8 Herbie Stupple (Captain)

Replacements

16 Luke Chapman, 17 Jamie Salter, 18 Sean Lonsdale, 19 Sam Daly, 20 Dean Squire

Caldy RFC 17 Plymouth Albion 34

Plymouth Albion player Herbie Stupple pushes for the line during the Rugby Union National League 1 match between Caldy and Plymouth Albion at Paton Field, Caldy  on October 14th - PHOTO: Steve Bond/PPAUK

By Tim March at Paton Field, supported by Albi Travel

Plymouth Albion had their sixth win in a row at Caldy RFC on Saturday keeping them in second place in National League One and within four points of league leaders Coventry.

Caldy have made a few poor starts this season and, true to form, Albion took the lead after just six minutes.

The first half turned out to be tightly contested and a try and penalty straight after the break put the Merseyside team 17-12 ahead before Albion went up a gear to take the 17-34 win.

Caldy had barely touched the ball before Albion took the lead in the ninth minute. Hooker Rupert Freestone scored the first on his tries as a result of the line out, something which became a similar pattern.

Unusually for Albion star Dan Mugford, he missed his first opportunity to convert with a kick that tried to compensate for the wind but in the end had too much behind it.

Albion soon scored again with an almost identical try on the right side of the pitch as Freestone put down his second.

Mugford made no mistake this time meaning Albion were up 0-12 after 20 minutes.

Undeterred, Caldy started to gain more possession and were aggressive in their attack.

Albion winger Jack Arnott’s yellow card allowed the northerners to capitalise and score their first points.

Caldy’s number eight Josiah Dickinson found space after the scrum and there started his team’s domination of the next 20 minutes of play, making the score 7-12 going into the break.

Caldy started the second half more alert, winning a penalty and a try in the space of three minutes.

The try was the play of the game involving a back handed pass by Rhys Hayes from the right wing which gave Nicholas Royle all the space in the world to put his team 17-12 up in the 47th minute.

This was be the last time Caldy would score.

Matt Shepherd ended up on the end of a heavy tackle and, after the line out, Albion worked the ball closer and closer to the line resulting in captain Herbie Stupple going over in the 51st minute.

Another missed conversion from Mugford meant the score was tied at 17-17.

Will Norton was next on the score sheet and to putting Albion back in front.

Just after the hour, Mugford redeemed himself, deciding to kick a penalty that was closer to the half way than the try line. He put the ball comfortably between the posts giving his team a 10-point lead 17-27.

Finally, a well calculated phase of play through the centre led Stupple to score the last try of the game and, with Mugford’s final conversion, the game finished Caldy 17-34 Plymouth Albion.

Head coach Kieran Hallett said his team have dominated the last 20 minutes of most games this season as a result of their fitness levels.

He added: ‘We are fitter than most. Towards that last 20 minutes we are normally one or two (scores) up. It means we can relax a bit more’.

Full back Matt Shepherd saw Caldy’s early second half penalty and try as the ‘kick we needed’ to win the game.

Albion’s number 15 thought the final score flattered the Merseyside team: ‘I don’t think they deserved to score as many points. In the first half we kicked to faces not spaces and in the second half we wanted to get the ball to the grass on the green but, on refection, there is still learning to be done.’

The Albion away supporters, transported to the game via a seven hour ‘Albi Travel’ coach trip were, no doubt, impressed with their side’s win, making the long journey home much sweeter.

Albion will look to continue their winning ways against Old Elthamians on Saturday, October 21 (KO 3pm) at Brickfields. This game is a designated Albion schools’ day, in association with Babcock. A family ticket (admitting two adults and two children) is available for £20 before 2pm.

Caldy: 15 Mark Dixon, 14 Nicholas Royle, 13 Gavin Roberts, 12 Thomas Banks, 11 Ben Jones, 10 Rhys Hayes, 9 Chris Pilgrim, 1 John Parker, 2 John Whittaker, 3 Derek Salisbury, 4 Nicholas Gary, 5 Tom Sanders, 6 John Collister, 7 Nyle Davidson, 8 Josian Dickinson

Rep: 16 Michael Byrne (69th), 17 Stuart Cross (59th), 18 Crowne Harrison (40th), 20 Joseph Doyle (69th), 21 Ransford Otutaha (54th)

Plymouth Albion: 15 Matt Shepherd, 19 Matt Crosscombe, 13 Dean Squire, 12 Harvey Skinner, 11 Jack Arnott, 10 Dan Mugford, 9 Joe Snow, 1 Will Norton, 28 Rupert Freestone, 30 Jack Owlett,5 Sean Lonsdale, 18 Sam Holmes, 6 Eoghan Grace, 7 George Mills, 24 Herbie Stupple

Rep: 3 Dan Pullinger (68th), 26 James Salter (72nd), 20 Cameron Setter (72nd), 22 Setareki Ramumakita (68th), 29 John Kelly (41st)

Caldy:

Try’s: 8 Dickson and 14 Royal

Conversions: 13 Roberts (2)

Penalties: 13 Roberts

Yellow: 8 Josiah Dickinson

Plymouth Albion:

Try’s: 28 Freestone (2), 24 Stupple (2), 1 Norton

Conversions: Mugford (3)

Penalties: Mugford

Yellows: 11 Jack Arnott, 29 John Kelly

Man of the Match: Joe Snow

Referee: Alexander Thomas

Squire Starts again as Albion Head North

Dean Squire of Plymouth Albion on the break during the National Division 1 match between Plymouth Albion v Cambridge at the Brickfields Recreation Ground, on October 7th 2017, Plymouth, Devon, UK. PHOTO: Cameron Geran/PPAUK

Plymouth Albion head north to face Caldy RFC in National League One today (Saturday, October 14, KO 3pm.)

The Merseyside game follows last weekend’s tough battle with mid-table Cambridge ending with a 17-10 home victory for the Devon side.

Plymouth-born centre Dean Squire, 22, played at 12 last Saturday and moves to 13 in this week’s starting XV. He says: “We were a bit frustrated with ourselves. There were a lot of things we could have done better that we are going to try and take into this week, but we have to give Cambridge some credit. Their defence was good and it’s the first time we felt limited and got frustrated on our own attack. They managed to hold us out for the majority of the game but a couple of individual efforts got us the tries we needed.”

Former Brixham player Squire is pleased with his form despite a minor injury setback early in the season: “I was disappointed to be out for a couple of weeks, but having come back to fitness and got into the team I am just trying to push myself on with my own personal game and get better each week.”

Newly-promoted Caldy are so far holding their own in eighth place in National League One, having bagged two wins and an impressive seven bonus points. Squire, who has Devon and Wales Students honours, is not underestimating their challenge:

“Each team will have their own game plan, especially teams coming up. They want to prove themselves and make their mark. We play our own structures and system. We know what we need to be aware of but we will go up there and play our own way.”

Educated at Ivybridge Community College, the 22-year-old is enjoying being part of a tightly-knit squad. He adds: “We are a close group of boys and we get on with each other. We’re a happy group and the wins on the field help the mood in the camp.”

Aware of the level of expectation and talk of promotion prospects, Squire explains that Albion are not getting ahead of themselves. “We are up there at the moment but we take each game week on week. If you are just thinking about the next game then hopefully the performances will come and the wins will follow.”

Plymouth Albion team to face Caldy at Paton Field, Thurstaston, on Saturday, October 14 (KO 3pm):

15 Matthew Shepherd, 14 Matt Crosscombe, 13 Dean Squire, 12 Harvey Skinner, 11 Jack Arnott, 10 Dan Mugford, 9 Joe Snow, 1 Will Norton, 2 Rupert Freestone, 3 Jack Owlett, 4 Sean Lonsdale, 5 Ed Holmes, 6 Eoghan Grace, 7 George Mills, 8 Herbie Stupple

Replacements

Dan Pullinger, Jamie Salter, Cameron Setter, Setareki Raumakita, John Kelly.

Hallett Positive Ahead of Caldy Test

Plymouth Albion Head Coach, Kieran Hallett during the National Division 1 match between Plymouth Albion v Cambridge at the Brickfields Recreation Ground, on October 7th 2017, Plymouth, Devon, UK. PHOTO: Cameron Geran/PPAUK

Plymouth Albion make the long journey north to Merseyside to take on Caldy RFC in National League One on Saturday, October 14 (KO 3pm).

Albion go into the game following their 17-10 home win over Cambridge.

Head coach Kieran Hallett described last week’s match as something of a struggle. He said: “Cambridge were much improved. They were disappointed with the week before, wanted to prove a point and they did. They defended well, we struggled to break them down, but ultimately we came through a tough game and won.”

“We knew they were strong up front. We didn’t put enough tempo in the game to make a dent in that. They were quite happy absorbing what we were throwing at them and they defended well.”

Hallett had made a number of changes to the team that won at Loughborough Students the previous week. He added: “We always said in these opening months that we would try to give everyone an opportunity. We gave some new faces a chance to put their hands up. Some did and some didn’t. We are still trying to learn about our squad as a whole and starting to get a clearer picture.”

Despite his mixed feelings about the performance, Hallett is keen to take positives from the game. “We are still undefeated at home this year, we learnt more about our players and at times played some decent stuff. Jack Arnott’s try was good and probably the only time we put something resembling our structure together.

“We will be better having come through that game. Sometimes you have just got to figure out how to win and we did that. Conditions were tough as it was wet out there. We had something like eight maul opportunities five metres out and only took one. That’s frustrating, but if you are winning by fifty points every week you are not necessarily learning anything.”

Newly promoted from National League Two North, Caldy have impressed early on, winning two games and scoring seven bonus points to put them eighth in the table.

Hallett says: “Caldy score a lot of points and back themselves at home to run a lot of ball out so it will be a tough game.

“They try and play with width and a high tempo which makes it difficult to defend. They are still trying to get used to National League One level, but are dangerous and have got a few threats.”

Hallett is making a number of changes to the side that faced Cambridge. “We have got back a couple of the Exeter guys who had to rest. Ed Holmes and Harvey Skinner will come straight back in.

“There have to be consequences for our performance last week. We are getting to the point now when we want competition in the squad. Just because you play one week doesn’t mean you get to play the next. Guys have to know that when they come in they must perform and if they don’t then they won’t play.”

With five wins from six games, Hallett is pleased with his team’s overall start to the season: “It is positive without really playing at the level we want to. There is still plenty to work on as we go into the difficult November period.”

Plymouth Albion team to face Caldy at Paton Field, Thurstaston, on Saturday, October 14, (KO 3pm):

15 Matthew Shepherd, 14 Matt Crosscombe, 13 Dean Squire, 12 Harvey Skinner, 11 Jack Arnott, 10 Dan Mugford, 9 Joe Snow, 1 Will Norton, 2 Rupert Freestone, 3 Jack Owlett, 4 Sean Lonsdale, 5 Ed Holmes, 6 Eoghan Grace, 7 George Mills, 8 Herbie Stupple

Replacements

Dan Pullinger, Jamie Salter, Cameron Setter, Setareki Raumakita, John Kelly.

Plymouth Albion 17 Cambridge 10

Dan Mugford of Plymouth Albion charges down the ball during the National Division 1 match between Plymouth Albion v Cambridge at the Brickfields Recreation Ground, on October 7th 2017, Plymouth, Devon, UK. PHOTO: Cameron Geran/PPAUK

by Paddy Marsh

Plymouth Albion maintained their 100% home record this season but they will be disappointed with their performance against mid table Cambridge who took a losing bonus point from the match.

Plymouth went in the game averaging 45 points a match but struggled to put away a Cambridge side who defended very well, particularly close to their try line.

Plymouth had numerous chances to force their way over from close range but when their efforts continually hit the brick wall defence they lacked a plan B.

Plymouth appeared to have secured victory late in the game when Dan Mugford scored a try but in the end they were glad to hear the final whistle as Cambridge went in search of a try and conversion that would have given them a draw

A clearly disappointed Plymouth head coach Kieran Hallett said, “It was a poor game but we were also poor.

“Defensively we were OK but accuracy and execution wise we were way off the pace out there.

“We dominated the game but we haven’t come away with the outcomes we wanted.”

Hallett added, “I would question some of our decision making particularly at the end. I’m disappointed we didn’t get the bonus point but a win’s a win.”

Following their impressive win at Loughborough the previous weekend, Albion took the opportunity to rotate their starting line up.

Jordan Gott came in at full back for his first start of the season while Eoghan Grace took over as captain.

Albion put Cambridge under pressure early on and despite trying a series of forward drives they were unable to force their way over the tryline.

On only their second visit to the home 22 Cambridge took the lead when a speculative kick ahead bounced kindly for skipper Mike Ayrton who won the race to the touchdown.

Fly half Ben Penford missed the conversion before Albion took the lead on the half hour.

A crisp handling move put Jack Arnott clear on the left and a neat sidestep took the wing under the posts for an a good individual try.

Mugford converted to put Albion 7-5 ahead, which remained the score at the interval.

Albion stretched their lead early in the second half when hooker Jamie Salter finished off a catch a drive move to score his third try in the last two games.

Albion looked to have added a third try when replacement scrum half Joe Snow appeared to cross under the posts but after consulting his assistant the referee awarded a five metre scrum.

It took a fine piece of individual skill from Mugford to put Albion two scores clear.

Mugford put a well placed grubber kick behind the Cambridge defence and a good turn of pace enabled the fly half to get the touchdown.

Mugford missed to conversion before Cambridge notched the losing bonus point when replacement hooker Ean Griffiths forced his way over following a line out.

Plymouth Albion: J Gott, M Crosscombe, S Raumakita, D Squire, J Arnott, D Mugford, C Setter (J Snow 49), L Chapman (D Pullinger 61), J Salter (R Freestone 61), M Street (L Chapman 71 Salter 80) , D Swain, D Collier (H Stupple 66), S Lonsdale, S Daly, E Grace capt replacement not used M Shepherd

Tries: Arnott, Salter, Mugford

Con: Mugford

Cambridge: J Green (A Elvers 60), O Petrides (L Hutchinson 60), A Portsmouth, M Hema, A Ayrton capt, B Penfold, C Keenan, B Ibrahim, F Davies (E Griffiths 56), S Moynihan (J Dever 56), G Bretag-Norris (J Peters 54), R Conquest, J Britton, J McCloud, T Nutley

Tries: Ayrton, Griffiths

Attendance: 901

Referee: Gareth Holsgrove (RFU)

Back to Back Starting Roles for Salter

during the Plymouth Albion team photo call at the Brickfields Recreation Ground, on October 3rd 2017, Plymouth, Devon, UK. PHOTO: Phil Mingo/PPAUK

Jamie Salter makes his second start of the National League One season when Plymouth Albion welcome Cambridge to the Brickfields today (Saturday, October 7, KO 3pm.)

Hooker Salter was head coach Kieran Hallett’s man of the match last week in Albion’s 28-49 away victory over Loughborough Students.

The 29 year-old, who scored two of Albion’s seven tries, says: “It was nice to get my first start so I wanted to prove a point. I worked really hard and it was a big forward effort. I thought the pack went well, especially the set piece scrum and line-out. My tries were very much on the back of good drive play by the rest of the boys.”

Now in his third stint with the Devon club, Salter adds: “I have been around a while. My set piece is probably my strongest point. I am confident when we kick to the corners that I am going to hit my man.”

Named in Albion’s starting line up for the second week running, Salter, who is head of PE at Newton Abbot College, says: “It’s good to have back to back starts.

“Cambridge are strong up front and they like to play from everywhere. We are going to have to perform well to beat them. But if we do turn up, like last week, and defend like we did for the last 20 minutes, then we have got enough in our locker to see them away.”

One of the most experienced members of the 36-strong squad, Salter describes the mood in the Albion camp as a positive one.

“Since the start of pre-season it has been a really good feeling. The boys have all gelled well. A lot from last season have stayed around and the ones who have come in have impressed and fitted straight into the way we do things. There are no egos and I think a lot of that is down to the Chiefs boys who are happy to be here and buy in to what we are doing.”

“It is a really good feeling in camp and we’re going well.”

Plymouth Albion team to face Cambridge at the Brickfields on Saturday, October 7, (KO 3pm):

15 Jordan Gott, 14 Matt Crosscombe, 13 Setareki Raumakita, 12 Dean Squire, 11 Jack Arnott, 10 Dan Mugford, 9 Cameron Setter, 1 Luke Chapman, 2 Jamie Salter, 3 Marcus Street, 4 Dan Swain, 5 Dan Collier, 6 Sean Lonsdale, 7 Sam Daly, 8 Eoghan Grace

Replacements

Herbie Stupple, Rupert Freestone, Matthew Shepherd, Joe Snow, Dan Pullinger.