GRAHAM DAWE felt Plymouth Albion should have brought the curtain down on their 13-year stay in the Championship with a home victory against Doncaster Knights on Saturday.
It looked like already-relegated Albion were on their way to only their fourth league win of the season, and first since February 21, when they led the South Yorkshire side 11-5 at the break.
However, they were to pay a heavy price for having two players – flankers Alistair Bone and Eoghan Grace – sin-binned immediately before and after the interval.
While Albion were two players light, Doncaster scored 14 unanswered points to eventually run out 19-16 winners.
“We nearly got over the line, didn’t we?” said new director of rugby Dawe.
“I thought we played well. There was lots of endeavour and lots of invention.
“I was really pleased with our attacking phases and the first 25 minutes was outstanding. Mark Kohler and Cameron Setter really put the heat on and in the forwards we stood up to Doncaster quite well.
“They (Doncaster) didn’t really trouble us defensively. We had the measure of them for most of the game, but we got loose when we went down to 13.”
He added: “We have been harping on all year about this team and discipline. You can criticise the ref, but it’s not been a one-off, it’s been most weeks that the penalty count goes into double figures.”
Doncaster’s third and crucial try was scored by former Albion player Bevon Armitage.
“That turned out to be the difference between the two teams,” said Dawe, who signed Armitage in 2011.
Albion now have to begin putting together a squad they hope will be competitive in National One.
It is expected the majority of the current team will leave.
Dawe said: “We’ll hopefully announce to the supporters by Wednesday the players that are definitely leaving, so they can say their goodbyes (at the end of season awards night).
“Then the rest, some guys are staying and some are undecided.
“Once we know exactly where we are then we will look to fill slots.”
When asked if he was committed to the challenge of trying to rebuild Albion again, he said: “I would like to think I am committed.”
VIEW MORE ALBION STORIES HERE http://plymouthsportsgazette.com/category/plymouth-albion/