Plymouth Albion got back to winning ways with a crucial 29-18 win against Leeds Tykes in a tremendous advert for National League One rugby at Brickfields.
By Rob Kershaw
Leeds entered the game having claimed six wins from their opening 16 fixtures – just one of which coming away from home – and both sides knew the importance of this one, given their proximity to the drop zone.
Albion were looking to avenge a cruel late defeat at home to Sale two weeks prior and, given their one-point deficit to Tykes with a game in hand over the former Premiership side, this was an enormous, must-win encounter.
The home side were almost off to the perfect start when Alex Ducker found himself clean through, but the referee pulled him back for an offence in the build-up.
Scrums were aplenty in the first half as both sides were guilty of occasional knock-ons, and Albion found themselves unable to capitalise on a scrum penalty by failing to find touch.
Plymouth were evidently the team on top, but it was Leeds who drew first blood when Harry Jukes bundled over the line 10 minutes in.
Albion appeared a little rattled by the unexpected blow, but eventually found their feet again, and Henry Clement flew over to level the scores. Tom Putt missed his only conversion of the day, but the home side had a foothold.
Parity did not last long though and, minutes later, Albion conceded another penalty around 25 metres out, which was dispatched by Charlie Venables.
It looked as though the hosts would be heading into the break behind, but a resolute offensive display was rewarded when Seta Raumakita received the ball in plenty of space, and strolled across to give Plymouth a much-welcome boost. Putt nailed the extras for a 12-8 lead.
Truth be told, Albion’s opening to the second 40 minutes was a dire one, and Leeds were battering on the door in an attempt to swing the tide back in their favour.
A clumsy error from Clement, failing to use the ball after a ruck, almost allowed Leeds in but a gargantuan effort at the back held them up over the line.
The pressure paid off 10 minutes into the second half when Rahat Choudury powered through to get their noses back in front.
The try seemed to galvanise the home hosts, and Albion would produce a sucker punch of their own through Ducker, before Putt secured the conversion.
Putt would shortly find himself on the scoresheet again, sticking away a penalty as Tykes’ frustration began to show through.
The game was then broken up by a series of scrums, as well as the referee spending a good couple of minutes chatting away with a series of Leeds players individually.
Following a titanic scramble on the line, Albion surged over for their bonus-point try through Harry Wilkinson, and Putt was on hand to knock through the conversion.
A late response through Jukes was not enough to secure a losing bonus for a plucky Leeds side, who went home empty-handed following a splendid game of rugby.
Plymouth will welcome Cinderford to Brickfields next Saturday, with this win moving them above Tykes in the table and into 12th place.
Dan Pullinger, Harry Wilkinson, Danny Southworthy, Dan Collier, Shek Sherrif, Jake Clemson, George Mills, Herbie Stupple, Henry Clement, Tom Putt, Alex Ducker, Jeremy Toa, Seta Raumakita, Shea Cornish, Phil Jones
Jamie Salter, Ben Parsons, Ayden Hurst, Ramaz Rukhadze, Owen Wilson
Tries: Clement, Raumakita, Ducker, Wilkinson; Cons: Putt (3); Pen: Putt
Alex Pleasants, Ethan Caine, Dominic Hardman, Jacob Brady, Matt Burke, Rahat Choudury, William Smith, Thomas Collins, Cole Potts, Charles Morgan, Harry Jukes, Thomas Williams, Harry Robinson, Seremaia Turagabeci, Charlie Venables
William Hardwick, Xavier Valentine, Jacob Mounsey, Ethan Thiart, Tighe Maxwell-Whitely
Tries: Jukes (2), Choudhury; Pen: Venables
Join us at home again next weekend as we take on Cinderford.
- Gates open at 12:00 pm
- Happy hour from 1:30 ‘till 2:30 pm with selected pints at just £3
- K/O 3:00 pm
- We’ve got the Dartmoor Brewery supporter challenge and the Plymouth Cheerleaders performing at half-time
- We’ll screen France v Ireland from 4:45 and Angel will serenade us into the night