Match Report

Plymouth 29 vs Cambridge 17

19th Jan 2019

By Jack Guthrie at Brickfields. 

29 Plymouth Albion – Cambridge 17 

Plymouth Albion secured a vital win against mid-table rivals Cambridge, dominating the opponents in the second half to come from behind and win 29-17 in their first home match after a month-long stint of away fixtures.

Trailing 17-10 at half-time and with their work cut out against a physical and well-drilled Cambridge side, Albion completely turned it around after the break, scoring three tries no none for a bonus-point win in front of a delighted Brickfields crowd.

Albion head coach Kieran Hallett was full of praise for the attacking intent of the players in a rousing comeback which has seen them go ninth in the National League One table.

He said: “I thought in the second half we were extremely dominant, we probably played 30 or 35 minutes of that in their 22.

“It felt like it was not if but when we would break the defence down to score.”

Going into the game both sides were level on points in the table with 43 apiece, the away team being the higher placed side, and demonstrated the importance of the match with a succession of quick scores in the opening minutes.

Cambridge took the lead through a Benjamin Penfold penalty which was immediately counteracted by an Albion try from Will Norton, following a few phases of relentless attacking from a lineout.

Matt Shepherd converted to put Albion ahead, but Cambridge then proceeded to assert control over the match with excellent kicking from the backs, pinning the home side to their 22 and preventing them from breaking the gain line.

Albion went on to concede tries from Josef Green and Robert Conquest, which Hallett put down to “technical things around the fringes” which cost them 14 points. Shepherd brought the sides closer with a penalty but it was hard going for the home side.

Play turned increasingly scrappy with disciplinary issues and unforced turnovers being conceded by both sides but Cambridge seemed to have control of the game, going into half-time 17-10 up.

However, this turned out to be a game of two very different halves. Plymouth attacked with intent from the start of the second, playing through the forwards successfully after another lineout on 42 minutes, before Norton scored his second try of the game.

Cambridge’s disciplinary woes continued after this score, with scrum-half Kieran Duffin going into the sin bin in the 45th minute, giving the home side a chance to build momentum.

Albion stayed defensively strong, keeping the opposition in their own half, and scored another try on 55 minutes through Josh Skelcey, shortly after Duffin’s return to play.

The home side had a chance to seal the game with a penalty three minutes from time, with Shepherd squandering the opportunity to put the result beyond any doubt.

But this failed to rattle them and Albion retained their intensity until the bitter end when they were rewarded for with a try from substitute Jamie Salter, which was converted by Shepherd, sealing victory and the bonus point.

Looking ahead, Hallett said: “We need to improve on the consistency of performance and ultimately being hard to beat, as we showed in the second half.”

Following a disappointing loss away to Ampthill, his side can now go into their next game against Caldy with assurance that they can shut out teams when they play physical rugby.

And, coming off the back of five wins in six matches, they can once again regard themselves as the form team in the league.

Albion line-up: 15. M. Shepherd   14. J. Gott   13. S. Raumakita   12. D. Squire   11. J. Skelcey   10. C. Eastgate   9. J. Snow   8. W. Norton   2. P. Davis   3. A. Crouch   5. L. Pearson   6. J. Kelly  4. R. Tuima    7. G. Mills   1. M. Stupple

Replacements: 16. J. Salter   17. K. Westlake   18. C. Setter   19. J. Kenny   20. D. Powell

Tries: Davis (2), Skelcey, Salter. Cons: Shepherd 3. Pen: Shepherd

Cambridge Line-up: 15. J. Green   14. N. Asiedu   13. O. Petrides   12. J. Ayrton   11. S. Yawayawa   10. B. Penfold   9. K. Duffin 1.   B. Ibrahim   2. E. Griffiths   3. H. Peck   4. R. Conquest   5. G. Baxter   6. C. Moore   7. J. McCloud   8. W. Schoeman

Replacements: 16. A. Rayment   17. M. Meek   18. K. Laxton   19. L. Rayner   20. M. Ayrton

Tries: Green, Conquest. Conv: Penfold 2. Pen: Penfold.

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