Plymouth Albion 17 Old Elthamians 17

Harvey Skinner of Plymouth Albion goes over for a try to make it draw 17-17,   during the National Division 1 match between Plymouth Albion v Old Elthamians at the Brickfields Recreation Ground, on October 21st  2017, Plymouth, Devon, UK. PHOTO: Sean Hernon/PPAUK

By Paddy Marsh at Brickfields

Plymouth Albion maintained their unbeaten home record this season but they will be very disappointed to draw with newly promoted Old Elthamians.

It was only a late try from Harvey Skinner that got Albion level and they will see this match as three points lost rather than two points gained.

Albion fly half Dan Mugford had a chance to snatch victory with the conversion but to the disappointment of the home fans his effort never looked like hitting the target.

If Mugford had slotted the conversion it would have very hard on Elthamians who have quickly adjusted to life in National 1.

Elthamians making their first ever visit to Brickfields were delighted with the result, which they described as by far their best performance of the season.

A reflective Albion skipper Herbie Stupple said, “We got what we wanted out of the game in the first half and there was a buzz in the changing room at half time.

“In the second half we made far too many errors and didn’t get our game management right.

“Credit must go to Elthamians who in the second half kept the ball very well. They are the best team we have played this season. ”

Stupple added, “We butchered two overlaps in the second half. It was game we could have won but also a game we could have lost.”

On a Brickfields pitch that looked in excellent condition Elthamians had first use of the strong wind and they had a chance to take an early lead.

After Albion were penalised on half way visiting fly half Tom White opted for a long range penalty but his effort drifted wide of the uprights.

Shortly afterwards Elthamians did go ahead when after a series of forward drives flanker Harry Ledger forced his way over with White adding the extras.

Albion hit back from the restart and opened their account when hooker Rupert Freestone finished off a close range catch and drive after his side opted to put a penalty into the corner.

Mugford was wide with the difficult conversion.

With the Albion pack in control another catch and drive set up on the 22 looked like producing a second try but Elthamians held up the drive when it crossed the try line.

Albion got the nudge on at the resultant 5 metre scrum and when Elthamians wheeled it referee Bourke awarded a penalty try.

Elthamians put Albion under pressure at the end of the first half but the home defence held firm to go into the interval leading 12-7.

Elthamians started the second have brightly and regained the lead when centre Max Wilkins sliced through the home defence for a try White converted.

On the hour a White penalty stretched the visitors lead to five points.

Albion did get themselves level when good work from wing Matt Crosscombe set up Skinner for a try that Mugford was unable to improve.

Next up for Albion is a difficult looking trip to Darlington.

Plymouth Albion: M Shepherd, M Crosscombe, S Raumakita, H Skinner, J Arnott, D Mugford, C Setter, W Norton, R Freestone (J Salter 76), D Pullinger, D Swain, E Holmes (S Lonsdale 50), E Grace, G Mills, H Stupple capt replacements not used L Chapman, S Daly, D Squire

Tries: Freestone. Penalty try, Skinner

Old Elthamians: C Surman, D Lespierre, K Moffat, M Wilkins, R Bennett (S Egerton 72), T White, O Claxton (A Brown 72), L Brown, N Morris (J Rudland-Thomas 77), S North (J Fordham 40), A Preocanin, T Scorgie, G Messum capt, H Ledger (H Barton 63), B King

Tries: Ledger, Wilkins

Cons: White 2

Pen: White

Attendance: 1,127

Referee: Robert Bourke (RFU)