Trailing much fancied Rosslyn Park 8-11 in front of 2000 fans with nigh on 40 minutes on the clock, the first half of the 21/22 season had started quite well for Plymouth Albion. With a man in the sin bin Harry Ellis, the Rosslyn Park openside, sprinted to the touchline to kick the ball away and avoid a further Albion attack. Such was the excitement at the beginning of the National One season, not many would have predicted what was to come!
Sadly, the visitors that day stretched ahead, and Albion found themselves on the wrong end of the result. It took another 5 games for Albion to post their first victory of a campaign that had promised a lot but to date has sadly not quite delivered. Indeed, with 8 games to go, the best target for the Ocean Cities finest is to win the bulk of their remaining 8 fixtures, chase down Taunton and claim the title of the ‘Best in the South-west’ outside of the big two (Exeter Chiefs and Cornish Pirates).
Standing in the way of such an action are the visitors to the Brickfields this weekend Chinnor RFC. Coached by Premiership stalwart and former Canadian International. The Oxford based club will have a similar frustration around their season and will certainly be targeting Albion following their miracle comeback a fair few months ago. Trailing 36-22 with six minutes left on the clock, Albion scored three tries that day to take a bonus point victory.
There is no doubting the result will have stung the Oxford based outfit and they will be looking for revenge this weekend. Their team certainly has some pedigree with Soane Tonga’uiha and Ben Glynn bosting a wealth of Premiership experience up front alongside former Cornish Pirate Kieran Goss at fullback. Performance-wise however, they haven’t been in the best form of late with only two wins in their last nine games.
Albion must certainly be targeting this match and, will have every reason to be confident with their home record over the last couple of months being played 7, won 5, lost 2 (and they took losing bonus points on both those occasions). The added incentive this weekend will be the chance to jump two places up the league rank and close the gap on the teams above them who Albion have a game in hand over.
Selection wise, after a very impressive performance last weekend, Ramaz Rukhadze remains at loosehead in an unchanged front row. The surprise in the pack sees evergreen Wayne Sprangle deputising in the second row. With Dan Collier, Ed Scragg and Shek Sherriff all a week or two away from returning, there will be a big burden on the club legend to ensure the grunt remains upfront. The backrow is unchanged with Torin Clarke linking up alongside Herbie Stupple and George Mills.
In the backs, the only changes are Connor Eastgate in at 10 and Craig Duncan at fullback. Much will be expected of Phil Jones and Ben Parsons in the midfield as, if they can get enough ball out wide there is no doubting the scoring prowess of Shea Cornish and ‘the prince of Plymouth’ Alex Ducker. After facing Caldy with a depleted bench, normal service is resumed as Danny Southworth returns from Chiefs duty and he is joined once again by the articulated lorry made human Luke Chapman who continues his Lazarus-esque recovery!
Last weekend, Albion dominated possession but struggled to find a cutting edge in their first half against the league leaders. However, they certainly hit their straps in the second half; winning that 28-14. If they can keep that momentum up this weekend there is every chance the drive up the table can really commence!
Albion v Chinnor, 3 PM K/O
1 Ramaz Rukhadze
2 Jamie Salter
3 Dan Pullinger
4 Wayne Sprangle
5 Jake Clemson
6 Torin Clarke
7 George Mills
8 Herbie Stupple
9 Henry Clement
10 Connor Eastgate
11 Alex Ducker
12 Phil Jones
13 Ben Parsons
14 Shea Cornish
15 Craig Duncan
16 Harry Wilkinson
17 Danny Southworth
18 Luke Chapman
19 Frankie Nowell
20 Tom Putt
- Gates open at 12:00 pm
- Happy hour from 1:30 ‘till 2:30 pm with selected pints at just £3.50
- K/O 3:00 pm
- Dartmoor Brewery supporter challenge and the Plymouth Cheerleaders perform at half-time
- England v Ireland screening from 4:45
- Angel Flukes will serenade us into the night
Please note that online ticket sales will close one hour before kick-off. Tickets will still be available to purchase at the gate of Brickfields Stadium as usual up to kick-off and beyond.