by Nick Burt at Brickfields
Old Albanians made the long journey to the southwest having made seven changes from last week’s defeat against Old Elthamians, their sixth in a row in the current campaign. 29 points separated the two teams before yesterday’s match with Albion currently in 4th place and Old Albanians 2nd from bottom in 14th. From the outset it was clear that Old Albanians intended to run the ball with an expansive game but a total of 15 penalties, two yellow cards and a red card in the match put paid to any chance of a victory. Plymouth Albion’s Head Coach, Kieran Hallett said, “I thought it was a poor game overall in terms of quality from both sides, the conditions were difficult, but a five point win leaves us undefeated at home for twelve months, so overall pretty pleased.”
Plymouth defended well and good work at the breakdown enabled Dan Mugford to clear his lines. On 12 minutes George Mills made a fine break, only to squander a seemingly clear overlap. The play was brought back for a penalty and Mugford kicked for the corner. From the ensuing catch and drive Jamie Salter scored the try which Mugford converted. Tom Hendrickson, making his first start after returning from duty with Exeter Chiefs, made a number of strong runs. One of these led to a five metre scrum from which Eoghan Grace picked up and fed Mugford who scored unchallenged. It was at this stage that Old Albanians seemingly went into self destruct mode with the first of their two yellow cards.
Early in the second half with the weather deteriorating, Albion forced yet another five metre scrum. Old Albanians buckled in the front row and the referee had no alternative but to award a Penalty Try. On a rare visit into the Albion half, Old Albanians scored a consolatory try when number 8, Jason Billons went over on 59 minutes. It was during this last quarter that the match become somewhat ill tempered as Old Albanians were increasingly frustrated by their lack of possession. An off the ball incident resulted in a red card for Old Albanians left wing, Craig Dowsett, for punching. With a man down it paved the way for Dan Pullinger to score the bonus point try which Mugford converted. Next week Albion travel to London to face Esher. Hallett added, “It will be a tough game at Esher, but we are in a good place at the moment. It will be good to test ourselves on the road again – we haven’t done that in a while as obviously the game against Birmingham Moseley was postponed. We want to go into Christmas and the New Year on a high and not have a loss lingering over us.”
Plymouth Albion: M Shepherd, D Squire, T Hendrickson, H Skinner, S Raumakita, D Mugford, C Setter (J Snow 65), L Chapman (D Pullinger 48), J Salter (R Freestone 65), M Street (L Chapman 85), S Lonsdale, D Swain (J Kelly 60), G Mills, S Daly, E Grace (Capt).
Replacements not used J Gott
Tries: J Salter (13), D Mugford (33), Penalty try (44), D Pullinger (80)
Con: D Mugford (13), (80)
Old Albanians: Replacements not used
Tries: J Billows (60)
Pens: T Bednall (60)
Yellow card: J Daly (28), C Hughes (39)
Red card: C Dowsett (68)
Referee: Mr R Bourke