Report by Chris Bentley / Photography by David Cunningham
Plymouth Albion face their second shortest away trip of the season today as they head up the M5 to face Forest of Dean side Cinderford. After a positive yet frustrating start, with 9 league points but just 1 win gained from the first 3 games, this really is an intriguing contest.
Cinderford currently sit directly above Albion and will fancy their chances but have not looked as convincing this term with a heavy loss to Rosslyn Park being backed up with scrappy wins over Birmingham Moseley and perennial strugglers Leeds. Their principal threat is from driving play with hooker Nathan Taylor invariably at the back of mauls.
On the flip, under the stewardship of Ryan Lamb, Albion’s attack has been all over the pitch and prolific with 4 try bonus points coming in every game. With the Cinderford bludgeon meeting the Plymouth rapier, something will have to give tomorrow, and the stage is certainly set for a great rugby contest.
Up front, much will be expected of the Albion 8 who will have to perform against their much-fancied opponents. Spearheaded by Albion old Boy George Porter, the front row will face an acid test and much rests on the shoulders of stalwart Dan Pullinger, youngster Harry Wilkinson and the Georgian Bull Ramaz Rukhadze. Their tussle with Porter, Taylor and former Premiership campaigner Shaun Knight should be worth the entrance fee alone!
With Dan Collier away at a wedding, Jake Clemson returns to the second row and his Championship experience will be vital as he pairs up with the Bude Bulldozer Angus Hodges. In the backrow, the Cornish duo of Herbie Stupple and Torin Clarke partner up with Devonian Duke George Mills who showed no signs of rust after a belated return to the XV against Sale.
In the backline Jack Oulton remains at 9 after a sterling game against Sale and he partners up with the Welsh Wizard Phil Jones, slotting into the fly half position after Tom Putt was withdrawn following a head knock last week. It’s a case of ‘as you were’ in the centres with powerhouse Jeremy To’a and Oskar White continuing to work on their undoubted chemistry.
Out wide, Albion are playing something of a ‘Wild Card’ with the mercurial Henry Clement in the unfamiliar 15 jersey sitting between lightning-fast debutant Tom Davies and equally the rapid Conrad Burne. Possessing a huge amount of pace, it will be exciting to see the back three get the ball and on a dry track their stage is set.
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Cinderford v Albion, Sat 24th Sep
THE BEAVIS MEMORIAL GROUND, GL14 2AQ
K/O 3 PM