Plymouth Albion 7 Caldy RFC 26
Match report by Peter Redmond | Photography by David Cunningham
Plymouth Albion failed to make it three wins on the bounce after a tough 26-7 defeat at Brickfields against Caldy in National League One.
Head coach Damian Welch had hoped to carry some of his side’s recent momentum, which had seen back-to-back wins against Birmingham Moseley and Blackheath, into this match to move away from the foot of the table.
But it was not to be, as Albion were outplayed for the best part of the game, with their only try coming in the first half through wing Alex Ducker, who ran in a brilliant effort into the corner, which was converted by Tom Putt.
That was as good as it got, though as two tries in each half from Caldy sealed the win for the visitors, who moved up to seventh in the table after eight games.
With the cheerleaders having got them warmed up just before kick-off the crowd were in full voice and, with the rain holding off, conditions were pretty much perfect for Albion’s fourth home game of the season.
The first few minutes were something of a sparring session before the game opened up after Albion made a break but were held back and penalised for holding on in the ruck.
Caldy took the penalty kick to the corner, five metres out, and won the resulting lineout before some quick ball-handling and fast thinking broke the Albion line and wing Michael Cartmill touched down. Ben Jones converted to make it 7-0 to Caldy after 10 minutes.
The Ravers remained in the ascendency and scored again in the 20th minute following a strong drive by prop John Parker which ended with flanker Adam Aidbokhae scoring, although this time the conversion by Jones was unsuccessful.
Albion did respond with some dogged play and a knockdown form a Caldy clearance kick put them on the front foot, and it looked as if they had scored but were called short by the referee.
The home side again pressed on and got rewarded by a fantastic run by Ducker who sprinted in for the try which saw an equally calm Putt convert, closing the gap to five points as the half ended.
As part of their rugby is more than a game policy, Albion put on the half-time entertainment which featured another display from the Plymouth cheerleaders and some of the crowd having a pop at the crossbar challenge to try to win a prize from sponsors Jail Ale.
The Ravers got the second half under way and put Albion under pressure from the off, with the home side seemingly trapped in their own 22 as Caldy pressed and pressured.
A quick exchange of possession by both teams in the midfield led to the visitors again making a break and centre Lucas Titherington running in to score their third try 10 minutes after the restart, which was once again duly converted by Jones to extend their lead 19-7.
Albion tried to gain some composure and set about making their possession pay off, but some handling errors gave away more penalties to Caldy.
In the 62nd minute Caldy scored another try through back Elliot Gourlay, again converted by Jones, following a mix-up in the Albion defence when a Caldy return kick finished up behind the home try line and allowed Gourlay to sprint in for the score. At 26-7 it left Albion with a lot to do to get back into a game that was slipping away from them.
With 10 mins remaining, Albion cleared to the Caldy 22 and put in some big hits to retain the ball and make some headway to the Ravers’ line, but to no avail as possession again eluded their best efforts allowing Caldy to kick for touch and end the game.
Damain’s side next return to National League One action when they travel to fifth-placed Chinnor in a fortnight’s time.
Albion: Try: Ducker; Con: Putt
Caldy: Tries: Cartmill, Jones, Titherington; Cons: Jones (3)