Plymouth Albion 17 Cambridge 10

Dan Mugford of Plymouth Albion charges down the ball during the National Division 1 match between Plymouth Albion v Cambridge at the Brickfields Recreation Ground, on October 7th 2017, Plymouth, Devon, UK. PHOTO: Cameron Geran/PPAUK

by Paddy Marsh

Plymouth Albion maintained their 100% home record this season but they will be disappointed with their performance against mid table Cambridge who took a losing bonus point from the match.

Plymouth went in the game averaging 45 points a match but struggled to put away a Cambridge side who defended very well, particularly close to their try line.

Plymouth had numerous chances to force their way over from close range but when their efforts continually hit the brick wall defence they lacked a plan B.

Plymouth appeared to have secured victory late in the game when Dan Mugford scored a try but in the end they were glad to hear the final whistle as Cambridge went in search of a try and conversion that would have given them a draw

A clearly disappointed Plymouth head coach Kieran Hallett said, “It was a poor game but we were also poor.

“Defensively we were OK but accuracy and execution wise we were way off the pace out there.

“We dominated the game but we haven’t come away with the outcomes we wanted.”

Hallett added, “I would question some of our decision making particularly at the end. I’m disappointed we didn’t get the bonus point but a win’s a win.”

Following their impressive win at Loughborough the previous weekend, Albion took the opportunity to rotate their starting line up.

Jordan Gott came in at full back for his first start of the season while Eoghan Grace took over as captain.

Albion put Cambridge under pressure early on and despite trying a series of forward drives they were unable to force their way over the tryline.

On only their second visit to the home 22 Cambridge took the lead when a speculative kick ahead bounced kindly for skipper Mike Ayrton who won the race to the touchdown.

Fly half Ben Penford missed the conversion before Albion took the lead on the half hour.

A crisp handling move put Jack Arnott clear on the left and a neat sidestep took the wing under the posts for an a good individual try.

Mugford converted to put Albion 7-5 ahead, which remained the score at the interval.

Albion stretched their lead early in the second half when hooker Jamie Salter finished off a catch a drive move to score his third try in the last two games.

Albion looked to have added a third try when replacement scrum half Joe Snow appeared to cross under the posts but after consulting his assistant the referee awarded a five metre scrum.

It took a fine piece of individual skill from Mugford to put Albion two scores clear.

Mugford put a well placed grubber kick behind the Cambridge defence and a good turn of pace enabled the fly half to get the touchdown.

Mugford missed to conversion before Cambridge notched the losing bonus point when replacement hooker Ean Griffiths forced his way over following a line out.

Plymouth Albion: J Gott, M Crosscombe, S Raumakita, D Squire, J Arnott, D Mugford, C Setter (J Snow 49), L Chapman (D Pullinger 61), J Salter (R Freestone 61), M Street (L Chapman 71 Salter 80) , D Swain, D Collier (H Stupple 66), S Lonsdale, S Daly, E Grace capt replacement not used M Shepherd

Tries: Arnott, Salter, Mugford

Con: Mugford

Cambridge: J Green (A Elvers 60), O Petrides (L Hutchinson 60), A Portsmouth, M Hema, A Ayrton capt, B Penfold, C Keenan, B Ibrahim, F Davies (E Griffiths 56), S Moynihan (J Dever 56), G Bretag-Norris (J Peters 54), R Conquest, J Britton, J McCloud, T Nutley

Tries: Ayrton, Griffiths

Attendance: 901

Referee: Gareth Holsgrove (RFU)