Rotherham Titans 45 Plymouth Albion 10
Saturday 22nd March 2014
Plymouth Albion’s home defeat to Jersey probably took more out of them than they realised at the time.
As well as picking up a number of injuries against Jersey the defeat didn’t do much to help confidence.
One game Albion probably wouldn’t have chosen next up was a visit to Rotherham Titans, who are flying high this season.
At Clifton Lane it always looked like it was going to be a damage limitation affair and that is how it turned out to be.
Albion were still in the match at half time but they had to face to strong wind blowing down the pitch in the second period.
Rotherham secured victory in the first four minutes of the second half when they ran in two quick tries and come the end Albion were glad to hear the final whistle.
Albion head coach James Shanahan who started his first game of the season said, “Our main problem today is that we didn’t stick to our defensive patterns which allowed them to tear us apart in the second half.
“In the first ten minutes of the second half we were poor and when they scored two quick tries it was game over.
“We picked up a number of injuries last week and today we lost three more in the game. We came up here today with our last 22 fit players.
“On a positive note our set piece was good and Jamie Davies made an impact when he came on.”
Albion made a number of changes from the side beaten by Jersey, with only eight players retaining their places in the starting line up.
The versatile Gareth Evans moved from hooker to No 8 with Canadian international Sean-Michael Stephen switching to flanker. Richard Bolt also got his first start in an Albion shirt.
The game kicked off in heavy rain and Albion were given first use of the strong wind blowing down the pitch.
Rotherham took the lead in the 4th minute, when after a quickly taken penalty, flanker Jack Preece went over on the overlap and centre Juan Pablo Socino added the conversion.
Albion with their scrum holding up well got their first points shortly afterwards when full back Dan Mugford kicked a 30 metre penalty given for offside.
On a rare visit to the visitors 22, Titans added a second try when full back Sean Scanlon forced his way over in the corner.
Shortly before half time Albion lost their top try scorer Tom Bowen who took a blow to the head in a tackle and he was replaced by Jack Arnott, who has been out for a number of months with a shoulder injury.
Rotherham came flying out of the blocks after the interval and hit Plymouth with two tries in the first four minutes of the second half.
Right wing Michael Keating got the first and powerful running centre Jack Roberts got the second with a fine individual effort.
Socino added one conversion before Albion scored what turned out to be their only try of the game.
When awarded a penalty Albion put the ball in the corner and after setting up the catch and drive flanker Sam Matavesi spun out of the tackle to get the touchdown.
Mugford added the conversion but from that point it was all Rotherham who added three more tries.
Roberts got his second of the game and from another quickly taken penalty flanker Alistair Birch scored under the posts.
The final try was scored by replacement prop Robin Hislop while fellow replacement Gary Law added two conversions to complete a miserable afternoon for Albion.
Rotherham Titans: S Scanlon, M Keating, J Roberts, J P Socino (J Davies 45), C Wilson, D Murphy (G Law 45), C Mulchrone capt (D White 58), M Gadd (R Hislop 54), T Cruse (B Sowery 58), C Quigley (M Tampin 45), T Holmes, D Sanderson (J Thomas-Brown 54), A Birch, J Preece, A Reider
Tries: Preece, Scanlon, Keating, Roberts 2. Birch, Hislop
Cons: Socino 3, Law 2
Plymouth Albion: D Mugford (R Cushion 64), T Bowen (J Arnott 38), C Elder (J Davies 40), T Howley-Berridge, L Warner, J Shanahan, R Bolt, T Harrison (M Rice 51), J Saunders (D McGregor 67), L Fairbrother (D Morton 670, I Ascroft-Leigh (H Tovey 40), R Oakley capt, S-M Stephen, S Matavesi, G Evans
Referee: Martin Fox (RFU)