Plymouth Albion — Old Albanians


Report from the West Country

Albanians played for just over half an hour with fourteen men and during the time they were thus depleted Albion scored 19 of their 26 points. It is surely more than just coincidence that so many points were conceded whilst the visitors were under the cosh mostly of their own making.
At various times in this, at times, bad tempered match first Jack Daly and then Charlie Hughes saw yellow whilst, with eleven minutes to play, Craig Dowsett was dismissed for an off the ball incident. As stated, Plymouth took advantage on each occasion.

Happily the first thirteen minutes were incident-free as both sides sounded each other out. During this time both sides ignored several potential kicks at goal from penalties and concentrated on field position via lineout. The hosts were the first to capitalise on this tactic when Dan Mugford kicked for the right corner. The lineout was taken cleanly and no fewer than thirteen men charged for the OA line. Hooker James Salter was dragged over by this crowd and claimed a simple touchdown. Mugford converted safely.

The OA scrum and lineout were performing well so it was a surprise to see Daly yellow carded after 28 minutes for an indiscretion on the ground. Mugford strolled over following a strong Plymouth scrum but missed the conversion of his own try.

As Daly returned, Hughes took his place, apparently for backchat and half time arrived with Albanians 12 points down. This became 19 five minutes after the restart when a penalty try followed an unbalanced scrum.

Albanians seemed to settle down at this point and their best twenty minutes followed. Tom Bednall opened the visitors’ account twelve minutes into the half with a penalty. But the Plymouth defence appeared to strengthen visibly particularly in midfield. Nonetheless Jason Billows charged over after a smart and continued Albanian thrust on the right.

Eight minutes later Dowsett departed the fray and, even though it took ten minutes more, Dan Pullinger scored the bonus point try for Mugford to convert at the death.

Coaches and players know what went wrong last Saturday and, hopefully will concentrate on what went right since all was not doom and gloom. Scrum and lineout went well and the side was combative in broken play. Defence needs a little more power but the kicking game was generally good. Albanians have the ability and opportunity to improve, since we are only just at the halfway mark this season. But all of this presupposes fifteen men stay on the field!

Brian Quinn
Press & Publicity


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There will be plenty of time for the squad, with the mandatory seven changes from last week, to reacquaint one with another on the six and a half hour journey to the South West this coming Saturday. The stated intention is to play a wide, running game and, as we saw in the last encounter, we have the speed and guile in talented outsides to do just that.

Our hosts have various advantages not the least being several years of Championship experience to call on. They are fourth in the table even though the weather claimed last week’s fixture against Birmingham Moseley. Eleven of their matches have afforded them bonus points of one sort or another and they have won eight of thirteen outings this year.

If the first half of this season has taught us anything it is that any result is still possible in this fascinating league even though we may have been fascinated for the wrong reasons on some Saturdays. Gavin Hogg is confident and his team are bullish before this latest tussle. This is partly because Charlie Hughes is back to full fitness in the front row and the backs have laid out their credentials often enough in preceding weeks. Tom Bednall occupies the ten slot where he did such a welcome job against OEs.

Once again we can expect OAs to need some real ‘dog’ to prevail against such strong opponents. It is just a matter of how canine we can get!

It’s possible there may be an early Xmas present waiting in Plymouth!


Brian Quinn
Press & Publicity


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Venue

Plymouth Albion
Plymouth Albion, Brickfields Recreation Ground, 25 Damerel Cl, Plymouth PL1 4NE

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