1st XV Match Preview V Plymouth Albion (Home) Sat 10/10/2009 



by Joe Heaton

MOSELEY v  Plymouth Albion - RFU Championship, at Billesley Common - Saturday, October 10th 2009, k. o. 3pm (but come for lunch!)

It is not long since Moseley played Plymouth at home, in an exhilarating end of season midweek match in April to be precise, when Moseley emerged as victors.

Plymouth Albion Rugby Club was promoted to the old National League Division One at the end of 2001-02. The club finished ninth in the following season and third in both 2003-04 and 2004-05. Thereafter, however, the Devonians found it difficult to live in the division at such an elevated level and gently declined in successive campaigns to 5th, 6th, 8th and last season, to their supporters dismay, to 11th.

Home gates at Brickfields regularly exceed three thousand - and well over five thousand for the games against the Cornish Pirates. Plymouth’s Director of Rugby is the Ex England hooker Graham Dawe.

So far this season the team has had mixed results. Last Saturday there was an excellent home victory, 16-8, over local rivals Cornish Pirates who beat Moseley
57-24 at Camborne in the second match of the season. Other results this season are:

26th September Exeter 30 v Plymouth 24
19th September Plymouth 3 v Bedford 38
13th September Rotherham 29 v Plymouth 16
6th September Plymouth 33 v Birmingham/ Solihull 10

Plymouth’s team coach is John Roberts and the playing Captain is fly-half Kieran Hallet, who has already scored 21 points this season.

Moseley’s well deserved and dramatic injury time victory over Coventry (25-28) at Butts Park last Friday evening, which almost gave the travelling supporters a collective heart attack, not only earned a four try bonus point but pushed the club up to 6th in the Championship table. Plymouth however rest in 9th, only one point behind. The competition in the new league is likely to remain intense.

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 clubs’ supporters rouse their teams to action with the ‘Plymouth Drum’. Their present ambition was evident when they moved into Brickfields Stadium at Brickfields Recreation Ground in 2003-2004, back to their Devonport roots after 84 years at Beacon Park.

After Albion’s excellent victory over Pirates and Moseley’s dramatic away win at Butts Park Arena, Saturday’s match is going to be another tight one. Our injury list still remains long but with ever more people returning to join the ranks of those available to play, the steady improvement in team’s performances since the start of should hopefully continue.

April’s game against Plymouth was a high scoring cracker of a match. We have no reason to believe that Saturday’s will not be equally as entertaining especially as our walking wounded are slowly returning to the squad.

Coach's notes - Plymouth - Home 10th October 2009

We extend a warm welcome to Plymouth and another old adversary in Graham Dawe on the club’s visit to Billesley on Saturday. Our paths crossed many times in epic Gloucester Bath fixtures and on a few occasions in the same team when the divisional championship was the favoured vehicle to international honours.

‘ Dawsey’ is ably assisted by John Roberts who had a spell at Gloucester and who’s greatest claim to fame occurred in the Exeter sevens about 15 years ago. Gloucester (famous for exploits in sevens!) knocked out in the first round by Tiverton (John’s home town!)

Although still not out of the woods in terms of our injury situation, we are slowly having more choices in terms of selection. This is bringing better performances and in turn better outcomes in what is proving to be a very competitive and physical competition.

We are making good progress as a group from the first two games of the season with more organization and understanding taking place on a weekly basis. We must challenge ourselves to keep making those improvements and maintaining core values which make teamwork very enjoyable.

Plymouth have also put together some good performances of late, narrowly going down to Exeter and then beating the Pirates in two pulsating derbies. We met last in a typical end of season run out, today’s game will be far more intense with both sides keen to keep the momentum going, in terms of performances, at this early stage. - Ian Smith


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