Plymouth Albion / Rugby

Teenage forward Massey hopes he can make the grade at Albion


DO YOU remember Euro ‘96, the Atlanta Olympic Games, Sri Lanka stunning Australia to win the Cricket World Cup and Greg Norman imploding as Nick Faldo came from behind to win the US Masters?

Well most of Plymouth Albion’s new squad will not have a clue about these famous sporting events as they are not old enough.

While many of the team were toddlers at the time, half a dozen players who are currently training with the National One side or have signed for them were not even born by the summer of 1996.

Last week when Albion held their ‘Meet the Players Evening’ a number had just received their A level results.

One of the club’s 18-year-old hopefuls is forward Jim Massey.

However, while other players of the same age have just been playing school or academy rugby, Bristol-born Massey has had a whole season mixing it in National Two South for Lydney.

He made his debut in the Forest of Dean club’s pack at just 17 years-old and ended up making 15 league appearances and claimed their young player of the year award last season.

Massey’s performances alerted a number of higher league clubs – he was even invited to train with Gloucester – but the teenager has decided to move to Plymouth.

Although he has not yet signed for Albion he is hoping to after choosing to study for a degree at the University of St Mark and St John.

“I’m going to be studying sports development at Marjon,” said Massey.

The youngster, who has been training with Albion for the past month, says he is likely to stay at Brickfields even if he does not get offered a contract straight away.

But he is hoping he can make the grade at Brickfields as he is enjoying training with the club.

“Training is really, really good,” he said. “It is hard work, but I’m really enjoying it.

“I played in National Two last year and hopefully I can play in National One this, which would be a good step up.”

Having jumped from being a first-year colt straight into senior league rugby, Massey is used to big challenges.

“Going from colts to senior was a big step up,” he said. “This would be another big step up, but hopefully I can keep progressing.”

Massey was recommended to Graham Dawe by Lydney team manager Colin Henderson after the Gloucestershire club were relegated. Albion did have a link with Lydney when Dawe was last in charge at Albion.

“I think there’s quite a good connection between the clubs,” said Massey.

He may only be 18 years-old, but Massey stands at 6ft 5in and weighs in at nearly 16 stone.

When asked what his favourite playing position was, Massey said: “Seven or eight. I play second-row as well, but I prefer the back-row.”

The Gloucestershire under-18 player should get a chance to show what he can do this weekend with Albion playing two home matches in one day. A Plymouth development XV will take on Weston-super-Mare at 1.15pm, with the first team playing Championship side Bedford Blues at 5pm.

Massey is hoping to make at least one of the squads, although competition for a back-row spot is pretty hot at the moment.

“It would be the first game of the season for me and it would be good to get out there,” he said.

He added: “I’m looking forward to seeing the crowd down here on Saturdays and hopefully I can make a name for myself here.”


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