1st XV Match Preview V Plymouth Albion (Away) Sat 02/01/2010 

BIG MATCH PREVIEW

 

by Joe Heaton


Plymouth v Moseley, at Brickfields Recreation Ground, RFU Championship, Saturday, 2nd January 2010, k.o. 3.00 pm


This is an early preview of Moseley’s first match of the new decade, against Plymouth Albion away. It is being written without the benefit of the results of the post Christmas round of Championship matches, particularly Moseley v Coventry. Although it is not many days before the match is due to be played, as I write it feels almost an eternity away.

For most of this season Plymouth and Moseley have been nip & tuck in the Championship league table but last Saturday in the Devon derby Plymouth beat Exeter, the leaders, at home 23-13. This must be counted as one of the results of the season so far. We shall see on the evening of Sunday, 27 December, when the outcome of the Cornish Pirates v Plymouth match is known, whether it was a flash-in-the pan or a sign of things to come.

Moseley won the corresponding home match in October 25-10 in one of the team’s best displays of the autumn, raising hopes that, as yet, have not been realised.

Last season (2008/09) Plymouth finished 11th in the old National League One compared with Moseley, in 9th place. The present relative position of the two clubs in the Championship is:

P W L D F A BPts Pts Pos

Plymouth 14 7 7 0 248 302 4 32 7th
Moseley 14 5 9 0 280 375 5 25 9th

The Moseley players will start the match in one of two contrasting moods. Hopefully they will be elated, having beaten Coventry on Boxing Day and ended the sides long losing sequence. If they have lost again, however, it will be a depressing coach journey down to Plymouth, with the team’s confidence at rock bottom.

Plymouth Albion Rugby Club was promoted to the old National League Division 1 at the end of 2001-02. In its first season the club finished 9th and in both 2003-04 and 2004-05 a creditable 3rd. 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 dismay, to 11th.

The club’s home gates regularly exceed three thousand - and well over five thousand for the games against the Cornish Pirates. Plymouth’s Director of Rugby is the well known Graham Dawe.

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’. 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.

We look forward to this New Year fixture with an improvement in Moseley performances and the enjoyment of the hospitality of our friends in the West Country. JH 23 12 09

Update 29 12 09 - While Moseley were holding out against Coventry to win on Boxing Day, an injury weakened Plymouth side were being comprehensively mauled by a rampant Cornish Pirates side, 46 - 7 being the final score. A derby game result that will leave Plymouth extremely keen to achieve an immediate reversal of fortunes! (Ed)

 

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