Plymouth Albion line up against Old Elthamians in National League One today (Saturday, February 10, KO 2.15pm) and in-form back row Sam Daly is relishing the challenge.
Man of the match during Albion’s home win over Caldy, Daly was subsequently named National League One player of the week by the National Clubs Association (NCA Rugby).
It is an accolade that means a great deal to the 19-year-old: “It was such a surprise, I just saw it on Twitter and sent it over to my mum! It is a real pleasure and an honour to have it. It was a happy surprise.”
The former Newton Abbot and Torquay flanker says his team was satisfied with their performance: “We were delighted to get back on to winning terms and it was great doing it at home, as always. We missed a few games in January and had the Christmas break so it was good to get rid of the cobwebs. Hopefully we can now start to build some momentum through to the rest of the season.”
Albion drew with Old Elthamians (17-17) when the two sides met at Brickfields last October and Daly anticipates another tough encounter: “We expect a physical battle and to meet them upfront as the weather is still horrible. They have a big pack and, in fairness to them, they brought it to us down here so we are hoping to do the same at their place and come out on top on the day.”
Daly is pleased that fellow back row forward and captain Herbie Stupple is back for his first start in four months: “It is very pleasing to have him back really as he is quite a figure to look up to for the younger lads like myself. He is a presence on the field and in the changing room so it is good to have him in the mix.”
With fly-half Dan Mugford out with a ruptured a tendon in his finger, Daly says the team will rely on each other to meet the challenges: “Muggy is a big character, has a lot to say for himself and obviously has an influence on the game, but we trust in the boys we have to step up and replace him.
“We have Harvey (Skinner) in at ten and we expect to do our job as we always do.”
Despite a slow start, the popular number seven is pleased with his season so far: “A few injuries and niggles kept me out of games at the start but, now I am back in and playing weekly, I like to see improvement. We always try to better ourselves here. All the boys – including me – are progressing and that’s what’s leading us to success.”
One of the youngest members of the Albion squad, Daly combines his work on the field with a pivotal role in the club’s community department: “I love it. It’s great fun and it’s good to give something back. When you’re recognised at the games by parents and children it is a great feeling.”
Plymouth Albion team to face Old Elthamians at College Meadow on Saturday, February 10 (KO 2.15pm).
15 Jordan Gott, 14 Matt Crosscombe, 13 Dean Squire, 12 Tom Hendrickson, 11 Harrison Cully, 10 Harvey Skinner, 9 Cameron Setter, 1 Luke Chapman, 2 Rupert Freestone, 3 Jack Owlett, 4 Ed Holmes, 5 Dan Swain, 6 Eoghan Grace, 7 Sam Daly, 8 Herbie Stupple (Captain).
16 Will Norton, 17 Jamie Salter, 18 Dan Williams, 19 Matt Shepherd, 20 Joe Snow