Plymouth Albion are busy preparing for a pre-season double-header this weekend.
First, the National League One club travel to Penzance to face Cornish Pirates on Saturday, August 26 (KO 5pm).
Next, in their final pre-season fixture, Albion host South West Premier League side Ivybridge RFC.
Head coach Kieran Hallett is keen to move on from last week’s Redruth game.
He says: “The game was frustrating because of the weather. I was happy the boys kept trying to play. If it had been a league game we would have approached it differently and played in a different way but we wouldn’t really have learned much about where we’re at. I would still have expected us to have done a bit better than we did. But that gives us plenty to work on.”
On returning to his former club, Cornish Pirates, on Saturday, Hallett says: “To be honest, it’s just another game. It will be a good test. They’re a good team and they’re local, so we don’t have to travel too far. From what I’ve heard, the supporters are pretty happy to make the trip back down there this year.
“I’ve played in some big Plymouth and Pirates games in the past for both sides and the fans always seem to really enjoy the occasion.
“It will be difficult. The Bedford game set a benchmark and Redruth was a bit of a write-off because of the conditions, so I have challenged the boys to show me how far they’ve improved in two weeks against a top-end Championship side.”
With an eye on Albion’s first league game (away at Blackheath on September 2) Hallett is fielding a strong side for the Pirates clash.
“All of our loan players are back in to give them a chance to bed into what we’re trying to do. We’ll see how they go. There are no guarantees for the Blackheath game but I’m pretty happy with the strength of the squad.
“Performance wise, I’d like to see improvements. I’d like to see how we react when we’re under pressure and I’d like to see us put them under pressure. Defensively, I think we went to another level against Redruth so I hope we continue with that, put them under some pressure when they’ve got the ball and hopefully score some points when we have it!”
There may be some fresh faces on display at the final pre-season fixture at home to Ivybridge.
“The Ivybridge game is a chance for the guys who aren’t playing against Pirates to put their hand up. It gives them a chance to say I’m here and I want to play against Blackheath. There won’t be many guys from the Pirates game doubling up. It’s also an opportunity to look at some other young, local players and we’ll have a few guest players and a few names people don’t recognise who we’re looking at for the long term.”
Following the Ivybridge game there will be an informal ‘meet the players’ session for supporters in the Bidfood marquee.
Hallett says: “I think the players really enjoy meeting the fans because they like to know that the hard work they put in is for a reason. It’s massively important for us as a club to connect with our fanbase. The players always respond well to that kind of stuff. They like to meet the guys who travel all over the country and spend a lot of money supporting us.”
Plymouth Albion will face Ivybridge RFC at the Brickfields on Monday, August 28. Kick-off is at 5.30pm and entry costs £5, with under-16s free with a paying adult. An informal ‘meet the players’ session will follow in the Bidfood marquee.
Albion’s National League One campaign starts with an away trip to Blackheath on Saturday, September 2, followed by their first home fixture – and Albion Family Day – on Saturday, September 9, at the Brickfields vs Esher.
Plymouth Albion team to face Cornish Pirates RFC at The Mennaye Field, Penzance, (KO 5pm) on Saturday, August 26, is as follows:
- Luke Chapman
- Jack Innard
- Daniel Pullinger
- Daniel Collier
- Sean Lonsdale
- Ed Holmes
- George Mills
- Herbie Stupple
- Joe Snow
- Dan Mugford
- Robin Wedlake
- Harvey Skinner
- Tom Hendrickson
- Jack Arnott
- Matthew Shepherd
- Will Norton
- Marcus Street
- Rupert Freestone
- Daniel Swain
- Dean Squire
- Cameron Setter
- Matt Crosscombe
- Sam Daly
- Daniel Powell
- John Kelly