Rosslyn Park 33 Plymouth Albion 17.
Report by Kevin Westlake at Priory Lane
Round 6 of the National One campaign saw Albion travel to South West London following an impressive 41 – 20 triumph against a resolute Canterbury team at Brickfields a week ago. A number of injuries and a red card meant that Head Coach Ben Gulliver was forced to make changes for the trip to the current second placed team in the league, Rosslyn Park.
Dan Mugford and Luke Chapman were both lost to serious injury, whilst influential winger Josh Skelcey has been omitted whilst he waits for judgement by the RFU disciplinary panel.
Coming into the backline were Joe Snow (full back) who returns from Premiership Cup action with Exeter Chiefs and Seta Raumakita who has just landed back in the UK following a trip to Japan with the Armed Forces. Sam Morley had moved into the vacant number 10 shirt.
Albion were also missing last weeks National One player of the round, Connor Eastgate who pulled up in training with a twisted ankle.
In the pack, Jack Higgins replaced Luke Chapman, as last weeks man of the match Lewis Pearson retained his shirt in the second row.
On the bench, in came Davy McGregor, Pete Ingoldsy, Tom Putt and Olly Mulberry.
Before the match, Head Coach Ben Gulliver said “we have been forced into a number of changes, but the guys coming in are perfectly capable of performing against Rosslyn Park. The beauty of our squad is that they are a tight knit group of guys who all relish representing the club”
With a gentle breeze and light rain, the match began, with Rosslyn Park maintaining early pressure. They controlled both territory and possession, forcing Albion to defend valiantly, it wasn’t until the 10th minute that Rosslyn Park’s Fly Half Greg Lound opened the scoring with a well struck penalty, putting Park 3 points to the good.
Albion managed a few phases of play following this, but a malfunctioning line-out and a high penalty count spoiled Albion’s chances of getting on the scoreboard. Park were constantly in attack, until a bone-shaker of a tackle from wing Seta Raumakita knocked park backwards and showed the intent of the away side.
In the 20th minute, Plymouth flanker John Kelly was shown a yellow card by referee Joe James for a late tackle. From the ensuing penalty attempt, Park’s Lound doubled the home sides advantage. Only two minutes later, a slick move from Park saw them score the first try of the match by Joe Munro. The move started on the right touch line and ended in the right hand corner after moving the ball across the pitch with quick hands, Lound added the conversion, putting Rosslyn Park 13 points ahead.
Albion continued to make hard work of the match, with various infringements and small mistakes costing them, however, after a period of concerted pressure and a barrelling run by Albion centre Javiah Pohe, Park were penalised in a decent kicking position. Sam Morley, filling the boots of Dan Mugford slotted with ease, reducing the deficit to 10 points.
Park scored once more before the break, through the boot of Lound, who had a great game from the kicking tee.
HALF TIME: Rosslyn Park. 16. Plymouth Albion. 3
The second half started at the same time the rain did. The weather deteriorated throughout the second period adding to the handling errors for both sides.
It took 16 minutes for the next score, with Albion’s Alex Ducker taking a beautifully weighted long pass to cross in the corner. Morley added the extras from a difficult position to bring the score to 16 – 10. Plymouth were back in the game.
This was until John Kelly was shown his second yellow card of the afternoon, which forced the referee to brandish his red card. After 17 phases of Park pressure on the Albion line, something had to give, and it did. Minutes later, Park were crashing over again. A forwards try finished off by replacement scrum half Dave Lewis, Lound added the conversion to put Park 13 points ahead.
In the 74th minute, centre Javiah Pohe gave Albion hope with a well worked try. The ball was moved through the hands and finished off by a flying Pohe who had a good game all round.Morley added the conversion to bring the game within 6 points.
Not long after, Rosslyn Park had scored their 3rd try of the afternoon, with Henry Robinson diving over the whitewash after a period of pressure within the Albion 22. Lound, uncharacteristically missed the extras, but the game was effectively out of reach for Albion.
Rosslyn Park finished off the game with a bonus point try, a perfectly weighted cross-field kick from Lound, collected and finished off by number 8 Dan Laventure. The conversion was missed, but despite a valiant effort from the Albion pack in the dying stages, the game was done.
Final Score, 33 – 17. Albion having to head back from London with nothing to show from their efforts.
Head Coach Gulliver was in a reflective mood after the match, saying “its been a difficult week, with the loss of four or five of our squad to injury, but the boys put in 100% effort today. I am proud of the team display. Things didn’t go to plan at times, but we will reboot in training next week and work hard to right the wrongs”