by Joe Heaton

MOSELEY v  Plymouth Albion - at Billesley Common -                                Wednesday April 29th 2009, k. o. 7.30pm

Two splendid reasons for a very big party on Wednersday: the winning of the EDF Trophy and securing our place in the proposed new Championship - all in eight days. Both triumphs are well deserved and merit a tumultuous welcome home to the team, the reserves and the coaching and back-up staffs. Well done, Mose!

For the first time since the New Year the team will do so without the burden of the unthinkable, the possible exclusion from the Championship. With that lifted, and the Trophy safely behind the bar in the club house, the players can go out to enjoy themselves and show us what they can do when the pressure is off. While the Plymouth team has been having a bad spell of late, the side is no mean opposition and did beat Moseley when we played down in Devon earlier in the season.

Plymouth Albion RFC gained promotion to National League Division 1 at the end of the 2001-02 season. In the first season a creditable ninth place was achieved and since then the side has never been less than sixth. In both seasons 2003-04 and 2004-05 Albion finished in third place.

Such an impressive string of results could only have been achieved by a full-time professional team backed by strong support. Plymouth’s home gates regularly exceed three thousand - and well over five thousand for games against the Cornish Pirates.

The results of the club’s last three matches are:

25th April Plymouth 6 Leeds 17
12th April Cornish Pirates 30 Plymouth 14
4th April Esher 31 Plymouth 28

In the corresponding away match on 18th October, Plymouth beat Moseley 26-17 in a hard fought match. Moseley fielded a very similar side to that expected to play this evening, other than that Richard Vasey was at fly half and Nathan Williams was most unusually absent.

The present relative positions of Moseley and Plymouth in National League One are:

             P W D  L  B    P   Pos

Plymouth 29 13 2 14  9 65 10th
Moseley  27 11 0 16 18 62 11th

For more than seven hundred years Plymouth’s fortunes have been linked to the sea. Here began the voyages of the great Elizabethan sailors, Raleigh, Frobisher and Sir Francis Drake, who defeated the Spanish Armada in 1588. The Pilgrim Fathers sailed from Plymouth in 1620, as did the explorer and map maker James Cook in 1772. In the Second World War the Naval Dockyard at Devonport was the largest dockyard in Great Britain.

Plymouth Albion Rugby Club was formed in 1876 by a group of apprentices from the dockyard. Rather than take the name ‘Devonport’, such was their enthusiasm and confidence that they called themselves ‘Plymouth’ and added ‘Albion’ to emphasise British patriotism in a predominantly naval area. The club’s supporters rouse their teams to action with the ‘Plymouth Drum’.

The club’s present ambition was evident when it moved into Brickfields Stadium at Brickfields Recreation Ground in 2003-2004, back to its Devonport roots after 84 years at Beacon Park.

Although the last three league matches have been lost by Plymouth, the players will have been reminded that their contracts are about to come up for negotiation and will probably be motivated rather more than might be expected in an end of season match with nothing serious at stake. With all the “Moseley faithful” in attendance to welcome the Cup winners home, this is likely to be a most enjoyable and entertaining evening.


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