1stXV Host Plymouth (14:15), 2ndXV Host Richmond Vikings (13:00), European Cup On TV For Dessert
Super Saturday (Jan 12th 2019) is a festival of rugby at Dillingham Park as the ‘1881’s host Richmond Vikings (Zoo Division 1 multi champions & league leaders) with a 13:00 kick off followed by the 1stXV hosting in form Plymouth Albion at 14:15 with European Cup rugby in the club house for afters.
Albion were formed in 1876 by a group of apprentices from the Royal Naval Dockyard in Devonport and played in Devonport Park. In 1887 the club moved to Bladderly, where spectators paid three times as much (3d) to watch as players to play (1d or a touch less than 1/2p)!
During the 1894 season Plymouth Albion played at Home Park, now the home of Plymouth Argyle, and then moved to Rectory Fields, where they hosted the first touring All Blacks team in 1905.
The Great War intervened with both Albion and local rivals Plymouth RFC losing their grounds to the war effort and many of their players to the conflict leading to a merger 1919 to form Plymouth Albion RFC and a new home at Beacon Park.
The following decades saw Albion achieve much success before being placed in Courage 3 when the league system was introduced in the ’80s. However, by the end of the 1998-99 season, the Club’s on field fortune had declined, only a last day of the season away win preventing relegation from the National Leagues.
In 1999 Graham Dawe was appointed Chairman of Rugby and oversaw a period of unprecedented success with eventual promotion to National One (now the Championship) in 2001-02, a status retained for 13 seasons until relegation at the end of last year, 2014-15 with Graham Dawe returning as Director of Rugby in 2015. Dan Parkes was appointed head coach in time for 2016 but resigned and was replaced by the current player/coach Kieran Hallett.
This season Albion have a played 17 won 8 record to lie 7th in the National 1 table 12 points behind our 4th placed 1stXV. After a difficult start to the season Plymouth have hit a rich vein of form winning 4 games on the bounce including defeating Blackheath away last weekend. The reverse fixture against us in September saw the visitors win at home 17-5, games between the two sides are always physical and close, rarely being decided by more than one score.
After their Boxing day heroics at Bedford Blues the 1stXV came back to Earth with a bump at Esher last week, trailing 35-5 after 25 minutes and 49-22 after 60 minutes they staged a mighty fightback to close to 49-48 with 2 minutes to play before a miss-understanding saw the ball kicked dead after time had expired. The 15 try thriller which Ampthill edged 7 tries to 8 was wonderful festive fare for spectators if not for both defence coaches!
Director of Rugby Mark Lavery comments “Albion on current form are the best team in National 1 taking 18 out of the last 20 points available to them and winning four out of four including a massive win last week away at second placed Blackheath. Challenges don’t come any bigger, both teams know each other well and matches have always been exciting.
Ampthill would rather forget about last week, conceding 7 tries for the first time this season and frankly looking like a team of schoolboys in defensive terms. However there were some positives after twice coming back from 30pt deficits and, with a little more composure at the death may even have snuck the win.”
A much changed Ampthill sees the return of Will Foster, Josh Sharp & Kevin Barrett in the backs, Ollie Walliker, Josh Walker & Billy Johnson in the pack and Ben Wilkinson on the bench.