CINDERFORD 36 – PLYMOUTH ALBION 29
Plymouth Albion suffered a second successive narrow, but high scoring defeat at Cinderford yesterday.
For Albion’s shortest trip of the season, up the M5 to Gloucestershire, coach Ben Gulliver made a number of small tweaks to the side that narrowly lost to Bishops Stortford the week before at Brickfields.
John Kelly and Luke Chapman joined the replacements bench following Sam Morley’s involvement for Exeter Chiefs’ in the Premiership 7s tournament at Northampton.
The game started at a very high pace, with Cinderford making early advances into Albion territory. The pressure told on five minutes as the Devon side were penalised at the breakdown, Cinderford fly-half James Butler stepped up and slotted the first points of the day, putting the hosts 3-0 to the good.
Immediately after, Albion were pressurising and managed to put together a number of useful phases, with the ball eventually falling to Dan Mugford, who deftly offloaded to Connor Eastgate who fed Dean Squire to run over in a fantastic set play move. Eastgate stepped up to take the conversion whilst Mugford was receiving treatment, but narrowly missed.
Cinderford piled on the pressure in the next ten minutes, with Albion holding firm for the majority, but conceding their first try of the afternoon through Edward Bogue, the conversion was good by Butler.
On 25 minutes, Cinderford struck again with another quick try, scored by George Porter. The conversion was duly added by Butler, leaving Albion rocking. The score now 17-5 and Albion looked beleaguered.
Gulliver decided to shake things up a bit, introducing John Kelly and Luke Chapman for departing Rus Tuima and Jack Higgins on 31 minutes. The last action of the first half saw Mugford add three points as Cinderford were penalised for being off their feet at the ruck.
This signalled the end of a forgettable first half for Albion, with the score sitting at 17 -8 in favour of the home side.
Straight from the kick off, Cinderford capitalised on a sleepy Albion defence, scoring another try through Barbarinsa Terrance. The conversion was kicked in front of the sticks, the score went out to 22 – 8.
On 44 minutes, Max Norey replaced Jamie Salter and shortly after, Sam Smith crashed over for Cinderford, the conversion was added and Albion had a tough last 25 minutes ahead of them.
This tough battle was something Albion were up to, quick fire tries from Dan Powell, who finished off a slick handling move and Alex Ducker, who raced through the home defence, meant Albion were level at 29-29 following two conversions by stand in kicker Eastgate.
From the following kick off, Cinderford attacked through the forwards, creeping towards the Albion try line, and with the clock in the red, they scored a heart-breaking effort to clinch the win. The final play of the match saw the conversion sail over.
For the second week in a row, Albion came out second best, but gathered two very important bonus points which could make the difference come April. After the match, Gulliver seemed happy with the effort of his players but frustrated with the final outcome.
Picture Credit to Cinderford RFC