Moseley 16 Plymouth Albion 11
Saturday 26th April 2014
Plymouth Albion finished their Championship season on a losing note when they were beaten by Moseley in a game that was a very poor advert for the second tier of English rugby.
Both teams were battling out for seventh place in the table but Albion finished eighth rather than ninth after Jersey’s win at Bedford Blues.
The game was dominated by the elements and both teams scored all their points with the wind in their favour.
Albion’s scrum held up well but the line out struggled and the visitors cause wasn’t helped by a number of players going off injured as well as having two forwards yellow carded.
Albion head coach James Shanahan reflecting on the performance said, “There was a lot of passion and pride from both teams and it was a battle that Moseley won.
“We ended the game with three 9’s on the pitch and a hooker who retired four years ago. In the same situation a lot of teams would have folded but we didn’t and on reflection to get a losing bonus point out of the game wasn’t a bad result.”
When asked about Albion’s season Shanahan added, “If someone had offered me a top eight finish and a place in the last eight of the B & I Cup at the start of the season I would have taken it.
“I’m proud of what we have achieved this season but I know we can make massive improvements next season.”
Plymouth Albion made seven changes from the side beaten by bottom of the table Ealing Trailfinders the previous weekend.
The visitors fielded a new half back pairing as well as a new front row.
Skipper Rhys Oakley returned to the line up after missing the Ealing game through injury while there was a recall on the left wing for Jamie Davies.
A number of Albion players were making their last appearance from the club amongst the Canadian international Sean-Michael Stephen who recently announced his retirement after six seasons at Brickfields.
The game started in bright sunshine but very quickly changed to heavy rain, which resulted in both sides making a lot of unforced errors.
Albion fly half Dan Mugford playing his last game for the club didn’t last long limping off with an ankle injury to replaced by Shanahan.
Albion giving away a series of penalties went down to 14 when lock Ien Ascroft-Leigh was yellow carded for a professional foul.
While a man down Albion didn’t concede any points and the visitors took the lead just before the half hour when full back Chris Elder kicked a penalty.
From the restart Moseley were caught offside and Elder doubled Albion’s lead with a kick from near halfway.
Elder missed his third kick at goal but just before half time Albion scored the games first try.
Ascroft-Leigh was held up over the line and from the resultant 5 metre scrum Shanahan got the ball to Davies who spun out of the tackle to score in the corner.
Elder missed the conversion before Moseley full back Ollie Thomas was wide with a 40 metre penalty kick.
The referee played 16 minutes of added time in the first half during which time Albion went down to 14 for a second time when prop Tom Harrison was sin binned.
A very forgettable first 40 minutes ended with Albion going into the interval leading 11-0.
With the wind behind them Moseley opened their account in the 52nd minute when Thomas kicked a penalty given for offside.
Thomas then slotted a second penalty as Moseley mounted pressure on the Albion defence.
The home side took the lead in the 58th minute when right wing Simon Hunt scored in the corner and Thomas kicked the difficult conversion.
Thomas made amends by kicking a third penalty to stretch the Moseley lead to 5 points.
Albion, after making a number of replacements, went in search of the try to win the game but the Moseley defence held firm to leave the visitors with the consolation of the losing bonus point
Moseley: O Thomas, S Hunt, S Armstrong, G King (W Owen 80), M Williams, W Hooley (M Penn 40), S Brown (A Day 60), C Voisey (B Evans 80), A Caves (J Carpenter 80), B Evans (A Parkins 59), M Powell capt (B Lawrence 40), G Charlton, N Mason, O Robinson, C Brightwell reps not used W Evans
Pens: Thomas 3
Plymouth Albion: C Elder, L Warner (M Rice 40 J Arnott 54)), B Woods (J Owen 80), T Howley-Berridge (C Setter 50), J Davies (R Cushion 69), D Mugford (J Shanahan 12), R Bolt, T Harrison (M Rice 65), J Saunders (G Evans 52), L Fairbrother, B Beukeboom, I Ascroft-Leigh, S-M Stephen, E Grace, R Oakley capt
Pens: Elder 2
Yellow cards: Ascroft-Leigh, Harrison
Referee: Andrew Jackson (RFU)