Birmingham Moseley 14-26 Plymouth Albion
By Kevin Westlake
Following on from the resounding victory over Cambridge a week ago, Albion were back on the road, looking to collect five points against Birmingham Moseley. The hosts have started 2020 with mixed form, winning only two of their last eight games.
Head Coach, James Scaysbrook made a few changes to the team, including recalling Jamie Salter and Dean Squire, who was earning his 100th cap for the Plymouth club. Connor Eastgate was missing though, taking an enforced leave of absence due to a head injury against last weekend.
Luckily, storm Jorge allowed a short break in the midlands to allow the match to proceed without weather warnings, mud-slides or torrential rain. The match started under blue skies, with Albion making the first skirmishes into enemy territory.
A dominant scrum from the Plymouth front three, lead to referee Nick Wood awarding a penalty, which Sam Morley confidently punted to the corner. From the following lineout, it was almost inevitable that hooker Jamie Salter would pop up at the back to cross for his team’s first and his 13th of the season. Morley missed the conversion.
It was Albion who struck again next, on 18 minutes, with Alex Ducker extending his tally for the season to nine. A great handling moves saw Ducker meandering through the Moseley defence, to pounce over near the uprights. Morley added the extras.
Albion have had a habit of going two tries up before conceding, and today was no different. Moseley flyer Mason Tonks finishing off a well-worked move from right to left. The conversion was added by Hodgson, halving the deficit. The half time whistle followed signalling a well-earned rest.
The start of the second half saw Moseley make changes with Monks and Stevens entering the fray, along with Plymouth prop Dan Pullinger.
The Plymouth pack again asserted their dominance on 51 minutes, when a 5-metre scrum was taken down under severe Albion pressure. A penalty try was awarded as Plymouth thought John Kelly had dotted down, Albion now enjoying a 7-17 advantage. Immediately following, Albion made more changes in the front row, with youngster Max Norey and Jack Higgins joining the action at the expense of Salter and Kenny.
Nine minutes later, Norey was Albion’s Bonus Point hero, dotting down after more severe pressure on the host’s try line. Sam Morley added the conversion to extend the lead to 19 points.
It was Moseley who had the last word though, with another well-worked try added on 74th minutes through the efforts of replacement Morgan Monks. The conversion was added by Palmer.
Albion continued to threaten in the closing stages but were not able to extend the lead.
A bonus point on the road leaves Albion in seventh place boasting 70 points in National One, with Darlington Mowden Park only one place ahead with 73 points. DMP will be the next visitors to Brickfields as Albion look to continue their climb up the league table, and with an obvious turn around at the Brickfields based club since Christmas, with increases in work-rate, the tightening of defence and some real potent threats in the back-line, in this form, it’s looking going to be hard to bet against them.