Nottingham 23 Plymouth Albion 34
Saturday 18 January 2014
Plymouth Albion’s first ever win at Meadow Lane, secured with a try scoring bonus point, saw them claim a place in the quarter finals of the British & Irish Cup.
With Albion’s game against Nottingham kicking off an hour earlier than the other final pool games, Albion had to wait to see if they had done enough win the pool.
Albion ended up winning pool 4 on points difference from Munster A but narrowly missed out on securing a home quarter final.
Albion head coach James Shanahan said, “I’m really pleased to get our first win at Meadow Lane but I had to read the riot act at half time. We started well but our performance fell away in the second quarter.
“We then put Nottingham under pressure which resulted in two yellow cards and it was important that we took full advantage of that situation.
“It was important that we got the bonus point but I was disappointed when Nottingham were awarded a penalty try in stoppage time. In the end it didn’t matter as we are in the quarter finals.”
A number of the Albion squad were hit by illness in the lead up to the game and Shanahan made six changes, one of the provisional, to the side that beat Stirling County at Brickfields.
Top try scorer Tom Bowen returned to the right wing with Ben Woods who scored two tries against Stirling switching to the left wing.
Dan Mugford who is Albion’s leading points scorer this season returned at fly half and he was partnered by the recalled Paul Rowley.
In the front row Davy McGregor was named as hooker and prop Matt Shields, who has recently been on loan at Tynedale, started against his former club.
Nottingham who knew they were unable to progress to the quarter finals made two changes in their pack.
Playing into a strong breeze Albion made a good start and thought they had scored the opening try when flanker Rob Langley went over but the score was ruled out for crossing.
Referee Meredith had been playing advantage and Mugford, who finished with a 100% kicking record, put over the resultant penalty.
Nottingham quickly levelled matters when fly half Matt Jarvis slotted a penalty when Albion were pulled up for not releasing.
Albion scored the games opening try when, after a quickly taken line out, McGregor went over in the corner and Mugford converted with a fine kick from wide out.
Jarvis reduced the deficit with a second penalty before Albion made a series of unforced errors and started to come under pressure in the scrums.
Nottingham scrum half Sean Romans put his side ahead with a close range try to which Jarvis added the extras.
Jarvis then added another penalty before the home side went down to 14 when lock Dan Montagu was yellow carded.
Mugford put over a penalty via an upright, which sent Nottingham into the interval leading 16-13.
At the start of the second half Nottingham went down to 13 when skipper Tom Calladine was sinned binned and Albion took full advantage of the extra men.
Albion kicked for the corner and set up the catch and drive which finished with Langley claiming the five points and Mugford adding the conversion.
Try number three quickly followed and was scored by Bowen who sliced through the home defence and dotted down close enough to the posts to make the conversion relatively easy for Mugford.
The bonus point try came in the 67th minute and was claimed by replacement flanker Sam Matavesi who crashed over from close range with Mugford converting.
Albion had chances to extend their lead but it was Nottingham who concluded the scoring when they were awarded a late penalty try after visiting flanker Sean-Michael Stephen had been yellow carded.
Jarvis concluded the scoring with the simple conversion but it was Albion’s day in a competition that hasn’t brought them much success in previous seasons.
Nottingham: R Lynn, R Hough, G Catchpole, J Munro (A Molloy 63), O Woodburn, M Jarvis, S Romans (F Barnham 70), R Bower (M Holford 61), A Walker, H Williams (G Ma’afu 61), N Keogh (M Eames 42), D Montagu, W Skuse, K Laxton, (A Shaw 69) T Calladine capt rep not used L Brown
Tries: Romans, Penalty try
Cons: Jarvis 2
Pens: Jarvis 3
Yellow cards: Montagu, Calladine
Plymouth Albion: C Elder (D Cusack 56), T Bowen, T Howley-Berridge, P Nonu (H Stevens 56), B Woods, D Mugford, P Rowley (C Setter 70), T Harrison (D Morton 51), D McGregor (T Cowan-Dickie 54), M Shields (M Rice 51), H Tovey (S Matavesi27), D Williams. S-M Stephen, R Langley, R Oakley capt
Tries: McGregor, Langley, Bowen, Matavesi
Cons: Mugford 4
Pens: Mugford 2
Yellow card: Stephen
Referee: John Meredith (RFU)