After the opening season loss to Rosslyn Park, a dejected head coach Damian Welch commented how the result would do his team good in the long term. Following a match forged on 80 minutes of honest endeavour and grit, it would appear his point was just.
In a spectacular advert for the National League Division, Albion and Chinnor exchanged the lead four times with the visitors stealing the most unlikely of victories having been down 36-22 with 6 minutes left to play!
The game started well for a slightly altered Albion line-up, after losing Tom Putt and Setareki Raumakita to illness on the morning of the game.
A Phil Jones penalty was followed by a converted try from Jeremy To’a to leave the visiting side 10-0 up after as many minutes. Albion’s attacking intent was plain to see with promising breaks from Shea Cornish and Alex Ducker; evidence of the growing influence coming from Ryan Lamb.
Celebrating the 150th league game for home hero Ben Manning, Chinnor’s response came a bit too easily for Albion as two quickfire tries took the score to 14-10. An Alex Ducker solo effort broke the flow before Chinnor scored again and converted a penalty to secure a comfortable half-time lead of 24-15. To add to the travails of the visitors, Jamie Salter was also sin binned for a team offence.
Albion started the second half in a resolute mood and withstood a strong period of Chinnor attack with 14 men before conceding soon after they returned to a full compliment. A hamstring injury to referee Veryan Boscasam then saw a lengthy break in the game and allowed Albion some respite.
After the second resumption, Shek Sheriff was the next to score, bulldozing over from close range to take the score to 29-22.
A theme of Albion’s attack to this point was, for all their great endeavour to score, the work to defend immediately after wasn’t matching as Chinnor scored a simple try to take the score to 36-22. This looked to be the game in the bag for the hosts but on 70 minutes Fred Tuilagi was sin binned and the game began to turn.
Firstly, the travelling fans were delighted to see the return of talismanic Connor Eastgate. Making his first appearance since an awkward finger injury in the preseason, the fullback added some real confidence to Albion’s play. Indeed, his marshalling of the backline saw Ben Parsons score from range, on the 75th minute. Almost immediately, Alex Ducker followed up with an intercept and the stage was set for a famous Albion day.
Into the final seconds of the game, Chinnor had a scrum on the Albion 22 and there was a feeling two points on the road would be the return. Digging deep one last time, the Albion eight upset the hosts platform, the ball bobbled out and was hacked on. Somehow, Alex Ducker emerged with the ball to score with the final play and seal a fantastic win for Albion.
With three wins in their last four games, there is now a genuine air of optimism beginning to radiate from The Brickfields. With matches against teams lower ranked than Chinnor until Christmas, the ocean cities finest have a real opportunity to mount a charge up the table – provided they don’t allow the complacency of the Caldy game to return!
Speaking after the game, coach Damian Welch said “The boys produced an outstanding performance in terms of sheer will and determination to get five points. We asked for a performance based around effort and endeavour and the boys fought till the last minute to deliver that. There were times when the game could easily have slipped away from us, but the sheer determination saw us end on the right side of the result”
Captain Herbie Stupple added “The boys never gave up with grit and determination even when things weren’t going right, we managed to work for one another and come out on top. The true Albion spirit shone through and I’m delighted the Prince of Plymouth, Alex Ducker, delivered the goods”
Chinnor 36 – Albion 41
Happy hour from 12:30 ‘till 1:30 pm with pints at just £3.
K/O 2:00 pm
Dartmoor Brewery supporter challenge and the Plymouth Cheerleaders performing at half-time, plus ‘Germanys got talent’ winner Angel Flukes will perform in the Old J Rum marquee after the game.