It is often that through adversity things can start to come together and, for Plymouth Albion that certainly was the case on Saturday. Sitting bottom of the National League One table, in the midst of an injury crisis and facing a rampant Rams side (who were yet to drop a point), even the staunchest fan would have feared the worst!
Things were made considerably tougher in the build-up to the game with Robbie weeks pulling up following a hamstring tweak on Thursday night, and Henry Clement succumbed to sickness the morning of the game.
With such short notice, Albion were forced into running out with only nineteen players as Olly Mulberry and Setareki Raumakita stepped up from the bench while Craig Duncan joined the replacements – Coach Damian Welch’s depleted squad had no one else to add!
Facing such odds many teams would have folded under the early onslaught from the Rams. Albion however clung on manfully as their set-piece was taken to the cleaners early on. Unable to secure ball at lineout or scrum, the possession stats were all in the favour of the Reading visitors, yet Albion stood firm.
Huge defensive sets were backed up by huge defensive sets as the Plymothians fought to contain wave after wave of Rams pressure.
Sadly, the deadlock was broken when Henry bird scored out wide and they fell further behind when hooker Oli Moffitt skittled in following sustained pressure with fly-half Andy Humberstone converting. It was at this point Dan Collier and Ramaz Rukhadze entered the fray and the game turned on its head. Suddenly the Albion pack started to land some blows and their much-vaunted backline started to fire.
First, the Cornish flyer Alex Ducker evaded many would be tacklers to score a spectacular try and then Georgian Powerhouse Rukhadze showed startling skill as he bulldozed two attempted tackles, made a forty-meter break and released Raumakita with a sublime offload to score under the posts. Tom Putt levelled things up with a conversion.
Albion’s challenge was further added to when Olly Mulberry succumbed to an awkward looking knee injury forcing Tom Putt to play scrum-half for the first time in five years! As they adapted to the change, Rams showed just why they are joint top of the league scoring via Ellis Jones to leave the halftime score 19-12.
Into the second half and the 1,237 crowd were certainly on edge as the Albion have not done too well after the break! Rams started brighter and scored through lock Connor Stapley after scrum-half Oli Cole took a quick tap penalty. Soon after Jamie Salter was sent to the sin bin and the writing seemed on the wall. However, the Ocean Cities finest didn’t seem daunted and started to show some real fight.
Shek Sherrif and Herbie Stupple along with the Exeter Chiefs academy imports Max Norey and Danny Southworth became more and more prominent and the beating heart of the Albion kicked in!
Collisions became more and more in favour of the men in red, white and green as the game fell firmly into Albion’s hands. A last-ditch effort in defence saw Rams reduced to 14 and Albion took complete control.
With six minutes remaining Frankie Nowell, younger brother of Exeter Chiefs Jack, scored his first senior try and a blockbuster finish was on the cards. The crowd began to rise and it was a now desperate Rams who clung on to their lead racing away from a crumbling scrum to kick the ball off the field and signal full time!
It’s now a month until Albion are at home again but there is no doubt that the team are showing signs of Albion’s XV’s of old, and that fortress Brickfields will once again be the daunting venue for all visiting opposition.
Thanks again to everyone who joined us, and one again to David Cunningham for the great photos.
Ramaz on the charge
Ramaz still on the charge – wide view for the sponsors 🙂
Setareki dives for the line (did he go too soon?)
Setareki before his dive…
The Princess Yacht massive!
Torin Clarke receives the ‘Sponsors Choice’ Albion Man of the match from Richard Stevens of City Bus
Your Albion team!
Match Sponsor, Richard Stevens from Plymouth City Bus receives the signed shirt from Connor Eastgate & Dan Pullinger
Chris Bentley helps Treve to celebrate a very special birthday in the hospitality marquee
Pre-match warm-up in full flow
The one, the only Ben Palmer – our matchday chef extraordinaire!