Report by Rob Kershaw
Plymouth Albion’s three-game win streak came to an end on Saturday afternoon as they suffered a 31-19 loss at the hands of Bishop’s Stortford.
Although the margin of victory was 14 points, the game was in the balance until the last play with the hosts scoring in the final act of a closely fought game.
Stortford got off to a quick start, going over early doors through James Ayton, before former Albion ace Dan Powell added the extras to give visitors an early curveball.
The response was a strong one from the Ocean City’s finest, whose strong attacking play earned a series of penalties, eventually leading the team into the Bishops 22.
Harry Wilkinson very rarely needs inviting from the now customary lineout drive and put five points on the board shortly after. Tom Putt’s subsequent conversion attempt narrowly missed leaving a two point difference.
Wilkinson was at it again later in the half but this time Putt made no mistake at the second attempt, putting Albion five points to the good at the break. 7-12
The second period started frustratingly for Albion, as Will Rogers put the hosts back level with a try, the conversion nudging Stortford back ahead.
That advantage was extended when Will Roberts scrambled over the line right underneath the posts, leaving Albion in need of a recovery performance from nine points down.
Wilkinson’s replacement, Davy McGregor so nearly scored last weekend before being halted, but he was not to be denied this time, getting the ball over the try line to set up an enthralling final 10 minutes.
Janner joy was short lived – Austin Pope scoring to place Stortford seven in front – but with a minimal disparity and three tries on the board, plenty of time remained for Albion to grab three points from the afternoon.
A converted score would have gained Albion a not undeserved 3 points from a high-scoring draw but, as they chased the game, the ball sprung loose and home winger Ollie Jones was fasted to react hacking on to score under the posts
After a lot of solid endeavour, Albion would justifiably feel aggrieved walking away from match day eight with nothing to show for their creditable efforts.
The result moves Stortford 4 points ahead of Albion in the table, as the Ocean City squad fall to seventh in National League One.
Max Venables, managing director at Albion, said: “Stortford had a really strong set piece, we had a long trip during the day. Their backs were exceptional, so every opportunity they got, they nailed really. We didn’t play particularly badly, we didn’t play particularly well. Bishop’s Stortford are a good side. We hope to beat them at home, and we had hoped to beat them away. But they’re a good team, and they took their opportunities.”
Join us at home next weekend as we face Darlington Mowden Park
Saturday 5th November – K/O 3 PM