Plymouth Albion 41 Jersey 27
Sunday 15th September 2013
Plymouth Albion got their season off to the perfect start with a bonus point victory over Jersey.
In front of the Sky cameras Albion ran in five tries, four of them long range efforts in the second half. For Albion it was a game of two halves with the performance in the first half being very much below par.
It was a different story in the second period as Albion, playing into the strong wind rocked Jersey with some superb running rugby.
Albion head coach James Shanahan reflecting on the performance said, “There were some choice words said at half time. After 14 weeks of pre season I was very disappointed with our first half performance and let the players know my feelings.
“It was a different story after the interval and our replacements made a real impact when they came on.
“I’m delighted to get the season off to a winning start and we can now concentrate on the visit of Moseley.”
For Albion fullback Chris Elder, centre Pale Nonu, fly half Dan Mugford, prop Matt Shields, flanker Eoghan Grace and number 8 Rhys Oakley were all making their league debuts for the club.
Oakley who is also the clubs forwards coach was given the honour of captaining the side.
Albion, in the week leading up to the game, lost through injury the services of wingers Jamie Davies and Jack Arnott as well as influential flanker Herbie Stupple.
Jersey who did the double over Albion last season included eight summer signings in their starting line up.
The Islanders were forced into a late change when fly half Niall O’Connor was forced out by injury and he was replaced by youngster Aaron Penberthy.
Penberthy along with full back Grant Pointer and flanker Ben Maidment joined Jersey from the Cornish Pirates in the summer.
Albion took the lead through a Mugford penalty, which was quickly answered by one from Penberthy.
Jersey went ahead with a catch and drive try from number 8 Tom Brown but Albion regained the lead when lock Ien Ascroft-Leigh spun out of a tackle for a try that Mugford converted.
The lead changed hands for fourth time when Jersey wing Ed Dawson crossed and Penberthy converted.
A Mugford penalty on the half hour sent Albion into the interval trailing 13-15 at the break.
Penberthy slotted two penalties at the start of the second half before Albion hit Jersey with two tries in three minutes.
Wing Tom Bowen, showing great pace, got the first with Elder notching the second. Mugford converted both for a six point lead.
Penberthy then kicked two penalties to tie the scores at 27-27.
Albion finished much the stronger and clinched victory with late tries from replacement Rob Langley and Elder.
Mugford who finished with 16 points and a 100% record denied Jersey the losing bonus point by adding two more conversions.
Plymouth Albion: C Elder, T Bowen, T Howley-Berridge, P Nonu (H Stevens 51), L Warner (J Shanahan 66), D Mugford, P Rowley (R Cushion 48), D Morton (B Rogers 54), D McGregor (G Evans 54), M Shields, I Ascroft-Leigh (R Langley 48), B Beukeboom, S-M Stephen, E Grace (S Matavesi 57), R Oakley capt
Tries: Ascroft-Leigh, Bowen, Elder 2, Langley
Cons: Mugford 5
Pens: Mugford 2
Jersey: G Pointer, M Foster, D Locke, D Bishop (T Cooper 51), E Dawson, A Penberthy, N Griffiths (J Dudley 78), S McCarthy (T Fidler 76), E Taione (D Felton 69), D Young, N Campbell, A Rae capt, B Maidment (L Makaafi 54, D Markham 72), F Silcock, T Brown reps not used N Selway
Tries: Brown, Dawson
Pens: Penberthy 5
Referee Simon Harding (RFU)