Gloucester 22 Plymouth Albion 13
By Paddy Marsh at Kingsholm
Although going down to defeat, Plymouth Albion pushed Premiership outfit Gloucester all the way in a highly entertaining pre season clash at Kingsholm.
The game was the first part of double header, with Gloucester taking on the Scarlets later in the evening.
In perfect playing conditions, in front of a near 5,000 crowd, Albion created a number of chances and with more clinical finishing could have come away with a victory.
Albion head coach James Shanahan, who came on as a replacement in the second half, reflecting on the performance said, “I was disappointed that we lost, but happy with how we stepped up our performance.
“We played some really good rugby but were not accurate enough in the final third. This evening I learned more about some of our players, particularly when they were put under pressure.
“I’m closer to deciding what the team will be for the first league game, but there are still 5 or 6 positions up for grabs.”
Albion made four changes to the team that beat Redruth 89-3 the previous Sunday.
Dual registered winger Jack Arnott started on the right wing with Ruairi Cushion, who was recently appointed as club captain, claiming the number 9 jersey.
Up front Davy McGregor, who has just started his second spell at Albion, came in at hooker with Eoghan Grace at open side.
Gloucester named former Albion man Will James in their second row, and in a late change England World Cup winner Mike Tindall replaced the unwell Ryan Mills in the centre.
Gloucester opened the scoring in the sixth minute, when with the referee playing advantage , burly prop Dan Murphy crashed over from close range for an unconverted try.
Shortly afterwards Albion had a chance to open their account but fly half Dan Mugford was wide with a penalty kick from wide out.
Gloucester extended their lead when fly half Jonny Bentley, a summer signing from the Cornish Pirates, kicked a penalty from the 22 after centre Pale Nonu was caught offside in midfield.
Albion eventually got points on the board in the 29th minute when Mugford kicked a simple penalty after Gloucester were off side in the 22.
From the restart Albion were reduced to 14 when Nonu was yellow carded for a professional foul.
From the resultant line out scrum half Jimmy Cowan went over for a try that Bentley converted to send Gloucester into the interval leading 15-3.
After bringing on prop Ben Rogers at half time, Albion opened the scoring in the second period when Mugford kicked a 25 metre penalty.
Gloucester responded in style with full back Martyn Thomas exploiting a gap in the visitors defence for a try to which Bentley added the extras.
Albion then put Gloucester under a period of real pressure and their efforts were rewarded when replacement centre Heath Stevens crashed over and full back Chris Elder converted.
Shortly afterwards Albion suffered a blow when flanker Herbie Stupple hobbled off after injuring an ankle.
Albion battled to the end and were roundly by the Gloucester faithful at the final whistle.
Gloucester: M Thomas (C Norman 78), S Reynolds (J Robinson 40), T Molenaar, M Tindall (S Rodwell 40), D Cheshire, J Bentley (B Burns 620 , J Cowan (R Boughton 68), D Murphy (J Gibbons 40), D George (K Britton 40), T Heard (Y Thomas 57), E Stooke, W James (T Hicks 52), M Cox, A Hazell capt (L Ludlow 17-25 & 62)) G Evans (J Hill 78)
Tries: Murphy, Cowan, Thomas
Cons: Bentley 2
Plymouth Albion: C Elder, J Arnott, T Howley-Berridge, P Nonu (H Stevens 52 P Nonu 80)), J Davies (L Warner 65), D Mugford (J Shanahan 52), R Cushion (P Rowley 52), D Morton (T Harrison 68), D McGregor (G Evans 39), M Shields (B Rogers 40), I Ascroft-Leigh (R Langley 52), B Beukeboom, H Stupple (I Ascroft-Leigh 67), E Grace (S Matavesi 52), R Oakley capt (S-M Stephen 36)
Pens: Mugford 2
Referee Simon Harding (RFU)