‘Could Albion make it three from three?’ was question all the fans were asking before the game and Albion certainly responded with a crucial win to boost them another place up the National 1 table heading in to the new year, meaning they now sit at mid table.
The conditions were almost perfect for the game, on and off the pitch, this saw 1216 eager Albion supporters coming through the gate to watch their team secure the win.
After a superb away win to Loughborough last week, the team only had two changes to the line-up, with Matt Shepherd coming back in to the squad, for his 100th cap for Albion, following his spell out through concussion and James Tait coming in as scrum half in replacement for Cam Setter.
From the start of the game it was clear Esher were at the Brickfields to try take a win home and they started the game brightly, winning a very early penalty, which Roberts kicked for the 3 points. Shortly after Esher should have put another 3 points on the board when they won another penalty right in front of the posts, this time however, Roberts failed to score.
Following on from Jamie Salters tries last week against Loughborough it seemed that he would continue in the same vein, when the on form Jamie went for the break up the touchline, however, a mistake by Seta Raumakita handed Esher the penalty and stopped Albion’s run for the line. However, moments later Salter got his chance when a catch and drive pushed over the line, with Salter placing down for an Albion try 30 mins in. Matt Shepherd then stepped up and converted, bringing the score to 7-3.
A penalty, given away by Albion shortly before half time, was lined up by Roberts and another 3 points were added, bringing the score to 7-6.
Soon though, the fans were rewarded for their vocal support and Albion were awarded a scrum just a few metres out from the Esher line, James Tait picked up the ball and crossed the line, followed by a Matt Shepherd conversion, bringing the score to a more comfortable at 14-6 as the game went into half time.
Shortly after half time, Esher got another penalty and again it was down to Albion not releasing, Roberts opted for the 3 points, bringing the score back to 14-9.
This stirred Albion into action and new signing Frank Kelly took the ball cleanly and ran over the line for his first try for Albion, unfortunately, Matt Shepherd hit the post with the attempted conversion, the score now 19-9.
With a fairly even second half play, Esher were awarded a penalty for offside, they opted to kick to touch which resulted in Gentles scoring from the subsequent line out. Roberts then converted his own try to bring the score within 3 points at 19-16.
Albion were resolute in their defence and the final whistle blew at 19-16. A great win for Albion and a bonus point for the visitors to take home.
M Shepherd, F Kelly, S Raumakita, D Squire, J Gott, F Honey, J Tait, W Norton, J Salter, D Pullinger, D Collier, L Pearson, J Kelly, G Mills, H Stupple (Capt). Replacements: D McGregor, L Chapman, K Westlake, D Powell, C Eastgate.
G Simpson, J Beckett, B Strang, C Arnold, K Irving, P Roberts, J Walsh, O Mines, D Hope, M Lowes, A Hore, D Montgomery, C Gentles, C Gossington, R Dudley-Jones. Replacements: H Paul, R Tanner, H Solway, O Waters, S Bullock
Plymouth Albion 19
Albion: Salter, Tait, F Kelly
Albion: Shepherd 2
Esher: Roberts 3
Referee: Veryan Boscawen
Images Credit: Pinnacle Photo Agency