Stirling County 12 Plymouth Albion 38
Saturday 19th October 2013
The Pool 4 table in this seasons British & Irish Cup makes pleasant reading for Albion fans with the club sitting top after beating Stirling County in a highly entertaining game.
The Albion players had to set their alarm clocks for 4am in order to be at Exeter airport for a 7am flight to Edinburgh.
It took Albion a while to get the journey out of their legs but once the pack started to get on top there was only ever going to be one winner.
Albion had the bonus point in the bag shortly after half time and their six tries were scored by six different players.
The one downside for Albion was the sight of influential No 8 Herbie Stupple leaving the field on the half hour with a recurrence of his ankle injury making him doubtful for next weekends trip to Jersey.
Albion head coach James Shanahan reflecting on the performance said “I’m very pleased with the bonus point and the six tries particularly after the 4am start this morning. The weather conditions weren’t great but we had a strong set piece and an excellent kick chase game today.
“For the third game in a row we conceded under 10 penalties and there were no yellow cards today. That alone is very pleasing.
“We struggled a bit in the line out early on but that improved, and once again the bench made an impact when they came on.”
Albion made eight changes to the side that defeated Nottingham in the opening round of the B & I Cup.
Centre Heath Stevens, fly half Declan Cusack, scrum half Ruairi Cushion and flanker Eoghan Grace, who all came on as replacements against Nottingham, were handed starting slots.
Hooker Max Crumpton, who signed on loan from Saracens during the week, made his Albion debut while there were recalls for prop Dave Morton, centre Toby Howley-Berridge and Stupple.
The heavy rain that had been falling all morning in Scotland stopped just before kick off and the pitch at Bridgehaugh was in remarkably good condition.
Albion got off to the perfect start when Howley-Berridge went through some weak tackling to score the games opening try that. Cusack converted.
From the restart Albion knocked on and, with the referee playing advantage, left wing Rory Hughes went over in the corner.
Fly half Stuart Edwards tied the scores with an excellent conversion from the touchline.
Albion regained the lead with an unconverted try scored by Crumpton, who latched onto a kick ahead before scoring wide out.
The Albion pack started to get the upper hand and the visitors third try came from a close range scrum.
Stirling had the put in but Albion shunted their hosts backwards with flanker Sam Matavesi getting the touchdown.
Cusack converted to send Albion into the interval leading 19-7.
Cusack missed a penalty early in the second half before Grace got Albion’s bonus point try from another close range scrum.
Cusack added the extras but was unable to convert his sides 5th try that was claimed by lock Ien Ascroft-Leigh from a catch and drive move.
Stirling to their credit didn’t let their heads drop and replacement flanker Jamie Swanson got County’s second try from a close range drive.
Albion’s final try was scored by replacement Chris Elder who cut clean through the home defence for a score that was converted by fellow replacement Dan Mugford.
Stirling County: B Addison capt, G Lindsay, A Russell, R Hogg, R Hughes (J Hope 40),S Edwards, AJ McFarlane (H Pyrgos 40), K Burney (J Bhatti 64), R Kennedy (A Moffat 47), C Hutton, M Larsen, T Ryder, S Robertson (J Swanson 52), W Bordill (S MacDonald 40), A Ashe (R Leishman 58)
Tries, Hughes, Swanson
Plymouth Albion: L Messer, L Warner, H Stevens, T Howley-Berridge, J Arnott (C Elder 69), D Cusack( D Mugford 69), R Cushion capt (P Rowley 69), B Rogers (T Harrison 50), M Crumpton (D McGregor 69), D Morton, I Ascroft-Leigh, D Williams (WCarrick-Smith 50), E Grace, S Matvesi, H Stupple (H Tovey 30)
Tries, Howley-Berridge, Crumpton, Matavesi, Grace, Ascroft-Leigh, Elder
Cons, Cusack 3, Mugford
Referee C Evans (WRU)