Fresh from a bonus point win over Yorkshire powerhouse Leeds, Plymouth Albion have a tougher challenge this weekend with Gloucester based Cinderford. Having comfortably beaten Albion earlier in the season, this is a real acid test of the Ocean Cities finest as they look to continue a strong run at home.
The team from the Forest of Dean took the Albion pack to task in their 36-12 victory back in October and boast former Albion stalwart George Porter as their star man. Indeed, it was Porter who caused Albion a world of trouble in the last fixture and there will be a mighty task on Dan Pullinger to ensure Albion stand firm upfront.
Since their victory over Albion however, Cinderford have been on something of a downward turn with only two wins from their last seven games and will see certainly be targeting the game to get a bit more confidence following a heartening 41-5 victory over basement club Tonbridge halted a run of 3 successive losses.
With inclement weather forecast for the game, there will be a huge onus on the Albion engine room to provide momentum and there is a very settled look to that department. After a sterling performance last week, the tight five will look to right the wrongs of the game up the M5 and much will be expected of war horse Dan Collier who certainly rolled back the years in a big performance against Leeds.
If Collier and his partner Shek Sherrif maintain their performance level, there is little doubt the front row of Southworth, Pullinger and Wilkinson will cause the Cinderford 8 some trouble at scrum time. Meanwhile, the backrow will look to cause trouble in the loose and at lineout time where Clemson and Mills have proven to be a fantastic partnership. What they provide in finesse, Herbie Stupple counters with sheer bullocking force and he will be captaining once again
In the backline, Tom Putt has kept his role at 10 after stepping in at the last-minute allowing Phil Jones to slip out to the centre. Jones replaces Setareki Raumakita who drops to the bench to nurse a finger injury. Out wide, Craig Duncan returns and he will partner Shea Cornish and the ‘Prince of Plymouth’ Alex Ducker to form an electric back three.
With four tries in the last four games, Henry Clement will look to keep his record up at scrum-half and the heavy-hitting Jeremy To’a is the final member of the starting XV at 13. Eagle eyed supporters will also notice club legend Wayne Spangle on the bench as he has answered the call to bolster the rank and help provide much needed experience for the squad.
There is little doubt that this game could be very important for Albion with eminently winnable games against Moseley and Blackheath to follow. The vital win came last week but one cannot help but feel a ‘w’ on Saturday could set the team up for a real drive at the tail end of the season. Whatever happens, be sure to get along to the Brickfields as fireworks are guaranteed!
Plymouth Albion v Cinderford
3pm Brickfields Stadium