Report by Kevin Westlake.
Plymouth Albion made the nearly 600 mile round trip to Hertfordshire looking to continue the run of good form in 2019.
They made a number of changes from the team that triumphed at Brickfields the week before, including the introduction of Joe Snow at Scrum Half and Dan Swain and Dan Collier in the pack.
In dry but windy conditions, the game started badly for Albion with a very early try from the home side through Fly Half George Cullen, with Thomas Banks adding the extras to give them a 7-0 lead. The game increased in pace from here with Bishops Stortford taking the ball on repeatedly, only to be knocked back by a resolute Albion defence.
Albion were to be rewarded on 7 minutes when Hooker Jamie Salter crashed over after a period of forward possession with a try from the back of a well worked line out catch and drive effort. Full Back Matt Shepherd missed the conversion from out wide.
Albion’s celebrations were short lived though, when directly from the next kick off Bishops Full Back Nick Hankin crossed under the posts to increase the home sides lead. Banks added the conversion. Only 5 minutes later, Bishops Stortford were on the front foot again, and some woeful tackling led to the third try, Cullen dotted the ball down for his second of the encounter but the conversion was missed after the ball fell off the tee.
On 20 minutes, Albion came back into the game with a series of decent attacking phases, with Royal Marine Seta Raumakita barging his way through to add five points to Albion’s account. Shepherd added the extras to make the score line 19-12.
The first half ended with Stortford extending their lead with another try, which was aided by poor defence. Hankin collected his brace with Banks converting with ease.
Bishops Stortford 26
Plymouth Albion 12
The second half started well for Albion with a second try for Centre Raumakita after some lovely passing and quick feet. The conversion was missed, and after this Albion capitulated. Tries from Tomlinson, Cullen and Caulfield in quick succession and before Albion knew it, Bishops had scored 45 points to Albion’s 22.
On 69 minutes, Albion secured a bonus point with Flanker Dan Swain scoring following an interception. Swain ran in from 40 metres to add five points, Shepherd added the conversion.
That was the last piece of good news for Albion’s faithful travelling support, who tried to rouse the away side with cheering and singing, but Stortford crossed twice more to complete an awful day for the Devon side. Bishops Stortford passed 50 points and the final whistle brought proceedings to a close.
Albion will look to return to winning ways at Brickfields next Saturday with the visit of Rotherham. Kick off is at 3pm and tickets are available at plymouthalbion.com
Tries: Cullen 3, Hankin 2, Tomlinson, Caulfield, Banks, Wilson
Cons: Banks 5, Cullen
Tries: Raumakita 2, Salter, Swain
Cons: Shepherd 2