British & Irish Cup Pool 4
Plymouth Albion 28 Nottingham 9
Friday 4th October 2013
In the lead up to Plymouth Albion’s opening game in this season’s British & Irish Cup, head coach James Shanahan said on more than one occasion that the most important thing was a win.
After the opening day win over Jersey, Albion had gone three games without a victory, so it was important that the team got back to winning ways.
Albion responded to Shanahan’s demands by seeing off the challenge of cash strapped Nottingham under the Brickfields floodlights.
The three try to nil victory was in the end convincing, but Nottingham shot themselves in the foot by having three players yellow carded in the second half by Irish referee Nigel Correll.
Albion, who in the week had lock Brett Beukeboom and winger Tom Bowen suspended by the RFU, also failed to go a whole game with a full 15 on the field, with hooker Gareth Evans carded in the second half for a late tackle.
Shanahan reflecting on the game said, “I was pleased with the victory as we really needed a win tonight but we made hard work of it.
“In the first half we made five or six line breaks but we needed that clinical edge. We could have been 20 points up at half time.
“We started the second half well and our bench made an impact when they came on. Our line outs and scrums were better and the big plus was that we didn’t concede a try tonight.
“It would have been good to have got the bonus point but it was all about getting the win tonight”
Albion only retained four players from the side narrowly beaten by London Scottish.
Shanahan named himself at fly half and there were also first starts of the season for full back Louis Messer and wing Jack Arnott.
Lock Harrison Tovey and fly half Declan Cusack who were both injured in pre season started on the bench.
In the front row Albion named prop Matt Shields who moved to Brickfields in the summer from Nottingham.
Former Albion hooker Jon Vickers was named on the bench by Nottingham.
The first half against Nottingham won’t live long in the memory and Albion went into the break leading 7-6.
With the breeze behind them in the second period Albion played much better and won more convincingly than the score line suggests
Nottingham came out of the blocks flying and only a superb try saving tackle by Arnott prevented centre Joe Munroe from scoring in the corner.
The visitors did take the lead when full back Rory Lynn kicked a penalty when Albion were penalised for not binding at a scrum.
After full back Chris Elder missed a penalty Albion took the lead when skipper Rhys Oakley burrowed his way over from close range.
Elder added the extras, with his kick going over via an upright.
Nottingham cut the deficit to one point when fly half Matthew Jarvis landed a 45 metre penalty.
Albion’s second try came in the 51st minute and was scored by man of the match Rob Langley who showed good pace after being put clear by centre Pale Nonu.
Nottingham winger Ed Styles was the first to be sin binned and while he was off the field replacement fly half Cusack landed two penalties.
Jarvis replied with his second penalty of the game before Evans was carded for a late tackle.
Nottingham were then reduced to 13 when lock Tom Price and prop Harry Williams were given ten minutes on the side line by Irish referee Nigel Correll.
Albion took full advantage with Cusack kicking a third penalty before replacement flanker Eoghan Grace, after side stepping the last defender, ran in his sides third try.
Cusack, who played well after coming on, concluded the scoring by adding the simple conversion.
Plymouth Albion: L Messer, J Arnott, C Elder (H Stevens 53), P Nonu, L Warner, J Shanahan (D Cusack 53), P Rowley (R Cushion 53), B Rogers (T Harrsion 75), G Evans (H Tovey 80), M Shields, I Ascroft –Leigh, D Williams, R Langley, S Matavesi (E Grace 54), R Oakley capt (D McGregor 67)
Tries: Oakley, Langley, Grace
Cons: Elder, Cusack
Pens: Cusack 3
Yellow card: Evans
Nottingham: R Lynn, P Dunn, G Catchpole,(S Romans 47 F Barnham 78) J Munro capt, E Styles, M Jarvis, H Lee-Everton, M Holford (H Williams 40), A Walker, R Bower, T Price, D Montagu, R Cooper (J Burton 72), T Calladine (M Holford 80), A Shaw reps not used C Ma’afu, J Vickers, B Wilson
Pens: Lynn, Jarvis 2
Yellow cards: Styles, Price, Williams
Referee Nigel Correll (IRU)