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Plymouth and Albion honour a true club hero

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On a glorious early summer day, a crowd of nearly 1000 arrived at the Brickfields for a riotous game of rugby and a fitting testimonial match for club legend Michael ‘Herbie’ Stupple.

After 11 seasons on the coalface with Albion, the Cornishman has seen good and bad times aplenty, but it really was all good on this special occasion as his ‘Stupple Superstars’ XV lined up against a Cornish select for a game played in great spirit.

Topping the all-star line-up was Herbie’s teammate since their selection for Cornwall U-16; former Exeter, Bath and Racing Metro centre and now star of the Japanese top league, Josh Matavesi. He was joined by current Cornish Parties Robin Wedlake and Jack Andrew along with a host of current Albion stars and a few names from yesteryear.

Amongst the ‘old boys’ contingent was club MD Max Venables who make a brief cameo in the centre alongside former club flyhalf Dan Mugford. With coaches Damian Welch and Ryan Lamb in attendance, there is no doubt a few conversations would have been had asking players to consider another run in Albion colours!!

The score was secondary on a day when celebration was top of the bill, but referee Harry Groves did a sterling job of allowing the action to flow and those in attendance were party to some real top-shelf skills. Indeed, it only took a minute for the former Fijian international Matavesi to carve up the defence of the Cornish team with a sequence of trademark dummies to dot a 60-metre spectacular!

Scores came thick and fast during the frenetic game with substitutes flowing freely and some top-quality rugby played at breakneck speed. The star of the day was undoubtedly Herbie who finished with 4 tries to his name and a sparkling assist to fellow club centurion, Dan Collier, with a cross-field kick Tom Putt would have been proud of.

The game concluded with 72-year-old Albion stalwart Dave Stone skittling in from a good twenty metres, Stupple converting, to leave the final score at 57-22.

Immediately after the game, the supporters were treated to a rousing performance by the fishermen’s friends and a charity auction was then held that raised just shy of £5000 for the Motor Neurone Disease association and Blesma Charities.

Next up at Albion is the Thatchers Armed Forces Challenge match against the Welsh Charity Vets on 30th July. After a narrow win for the team from the principality in front of over 2000, expectation is for the forces to level the log at the midsummer showpiece. With tickets just £6, the club are expecting a very big day in the summer sun.


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