Pullinger Expecting Ampthill Challenge

Jack Owlett of Plymouth Albion is tackled by Warren Seals of Darlington Mowden Park and Ben Frankland of Darlington Mowden Park during the National Division 1 match between Plymouth Albion v Darlington Mowden Park at the Brickfields Recreation Ground, on February 17th 2018, Plymouth, Devon, UK. PHOTO: Cameron Geran/PPAUK

Third-placed Plymouth Albion take on fourth-placed Ampthill & District away from home this Saturday, March 10, in National League One (KO 3pm).

The teams are level on 77 points but Albion have two games in hand as a result of matches called off due to bad weather.

The Devon club suffered yet another postponement last Saturday despite passing a pitch inspection at Brickfields. At the last minute, opponents Rosslyn Park were unable to travel and a decision was made by the National Clubs Association (NCA) to re-arrange the game.

Kieran Hallett’s side will be keen to get back in action in order to build on their two most recent successful performances, at home to second-placed Darlington Mowden Park (34-19) and away at Birmingham Moseley (20-16).

Prop Dan Pullinger says the squad were disappointed not to play last weekend: “We had a good training week and a bit of momentum coming off the Moseley game, so were looking forward to playing Rosslyn Park which is a big fixture. We always like it at home and therefore we were gutted.

“We were told right up until the very last minute that the game was on and that we should prepare well. Then for them to say they couldn’t come down was disappointing, but it is what it is.”

The 23-year-old featured when the two sides met in November at Brickfields. Albion won the tight, defensive encounter 16-9 with the only try of the game scored by wing Matt Crosscombe.

Pullinger anticipates a similar challenge on Saturday.

“We are expecting a tough game and know they are good rugby players. When we beat them at our place It was one of our best defensive performances of the season, so it should be interesting.

“We are in good spirits. You have got to be positive coming off the back of two big wins. Darlington and Moseley were huge scalps to take and Ampthill are another top team so we obviously want to beat them. That momentum is a huge thing for us.”

Despite league leaders Coventry being 26 points ahead of the pack and looking certain for promotion to the Championship, Pullinger, who combines rugby with a full-time role at sponsor Princess Yachts, says there is still plenty to play for.

“We take each week as it comes and set ourselves mini goals every three or four games.

“We haven’t had the best of away performances this year and it is something we are trying to improve.”

The former England Under-16 international, whose contract is set to keep him at Albion until at least 2020, thinks the future is exciting at the Devon club.

“I wouldn’t have signed if the club wasn’t going somewhere. I want to be part of a team that succeeds. If we don’t get promoted this year then we will build again for next year.”

 Plymouth Albion team to face Ampthill & District at Dillingham Park on Saturday, March 10 (KO 3pm).

15 Matt Shepherd, 14 Matt Crosscombe, 13 Seta Raumakita, 12 Dean Squire, 11 Harrison Cully, 10 Harvey Skinner, 9 Joe Snow, 1 Luke Chapman, 2 Jamie Salter, 3 Dan Pullinger, 4 Sean Lonsdale, 5 Ed Holmes, 6 George Mills, 7 Sam Daly, 8 Dan Williams (Captain).


16 Will Norton, 17 Rupert Freestone, 18 Eoghan Grace, 19 Cam Setter, 20 Jordan Gott.