Plymouth Albion 19, 1stXV 14, Sat Apr 08, 2017
Ampthill made the long journey down to Plymouth on a glorious, warm spring afternoon only to find traffic congestion on the A38 & M5 delay both squads and the referee resulting in a late kickoff.
Amps squad saw no changes in the pack while the only change in the backs saw Alex Mitchell start at scrum half with front row Ben Wilkinson, flanker Will Allman & centre Sam Hanks return on the bench.
A hard physical encounter up front will have left a number of sore bodies this morning on both sides, however, the spectators had a treat with Albion dominating the opening 20 minutes, A’s defence holding firm, then gaining a foothold before taking the game to their hosts. The last 10 minutes saw Ampthill dominate but fail to capitalise on scoring chances.
In front of a crowd of 1600+ the first half, despite much energy expended by both sides was pointless until the 37th minute when full back Karim Lynch crossed for the opening score, fly half Stef Jones adding the extras.
Albion responded with a trade mark catch & drive try from front row Cowan-Dickie in the 2nd minute of time added on at the end of the half, scrum half Shepherd converting leaving the score 7-7 at oranges.
The second half saw the home side take the lead on 49 minutes with another maul try, this time scored by lock Holmes, Shepherd successful with the conversion.
A’s responded on 58 minutes with Lynch adding his second try from open play, Jones converting to tie the scores.
The hosts threw everything at the visitors but the defence held firm until the 73rd minute, when, with a man advantage after lock Ben Gulliver had received a yellow card, the home side scored a third, this time unconverted try through flanker Cooper.
Ampthill were camped on Plymouth’s line for the rest of the game, spurning an easy penalty goal opportunity but in the end failing to breach Albion’s defence, despite them losing Shepherd to a 79th minute yellow card.
A tremendous game, both for the partisan and the casual spectator, a great advert for National 1 rugby with a disappointing result for the visitors.
Director of Rugby Mark Lavery commented “I’m very proud to work with this group who gave everything on the field but just came up second. We look forward to the two remaining games of the season and securing our highest ever finishing position.”
Tries:- Cowan-Dickie (40+2), Holmes (49), Cooper (73)
Conversions:- Shepherd (40+3, 50)
Tries:- Lynch (37, 58)
Conversions:- Jones (38, 59)