GRAHAM DAWE says places in Plymouth Albion’s first team squad will be up for grabs when a young development XV take on Weston-super-Mare at Brickfields on Saturday (1.15pm).
The game will be played less than four hours before Albion’s first team take on Championship side Bedford Blues.
The likes of fly-half Elliot Bale (pictured) and forwards Ross Crang, Andy Chesters and Chris Courtier, who are all named in the team to face Darren Crompton’s Somerset side, did travel with Albion to Jersey two weeks ago.
Trialist Bale played 74 minutes of that game in the Channel Islands but Dawe wants to have a look at summer signing Billy Searle at 10 this week against Bedford.
So instead of a possible brief replacement appearance against his former club Bedford, Bale starts against South West One side Weston-super-Mare, along with Crang, Chesters and Courtier. It will give all of them more minutes to impress Dawe.
Other players, like Newton Abbot forwards Luke Mingo and Tom Brown and former Fylde and Sedgley Park flanker Cameron Thompson, will also be keen to catch the eye.
On the bench, Albion have included New Zealand centre Mounga Molisi, who has recently moved to Devon, and young forward hopefuls Jim Massey, Jack Rouse and Curtis Reynolds.
Only former Launceston back-rowers Chesters, who will captain the team after recovering from injury, and Courtier have so far signed contracts for the forthcoming season, but Dawe has said all the other players have a chance to force themselves into his National One plans.
“They could all be pushing for selection for the first team,” said Dawe.
“This is a chance for some players to get some valuable game-time and we know Weston-super-Mare will offer a pretty strong challenge, particularly in the set piece.
“But we want to see our pack of forwards stand up to them.”
Backs Ian Davidson, Conrad Andrews and Jordan Huie are all students at the University of Plymouth, while Ben Stean and Paul Hamber are former Plymouth College pupils and Jordan Shakespeare and Dan Goldstone are ex-Mount Kelly pupils. Dawe has said second-row Hamber is likely to join Launceston for a season to gain league experience.
Albion had also been due to play Weston-super-Mare’s neighbours Weston Hornets, who play in National Three South West, but they could not make a Friday night fixture and so Dawe’s side will play their league rivals Newton Abbot instead on August 28.
Saturday’s game, which will see former Plymouth scrum coach Crompton return to Brickfields, does appear to be Dawe’s first step in resurrecting his Warriors development team. During his first spell at Albion, Dawe turned the club’s Extras side into the Westcountry Warriors – aimed specifically at young players in the region – and later Devonport Warriors, but it was disbanded when he left in November 2011.
ALBION DEVELOPMENT XV TO FACE WESTON-SUPER-MARE
15 Jordan Shakespeare
14 Ian Davidson
13 Conrad Andrews
12 Ben Stean
11 Jordan Huie
10 Eliott Bale
9 Dan Goldstone
1 Ross Crang
2 Chris Farrell
3 Tom Brown
4 Luke Mingo
5 Paul Hamber
6 Cameron Thompson
7 Andy Chesters (Capt)
8 Chris Courtier
Reps: Rory Briers, Curtis Reynolds, Jack Rouse, Jim Massey, Jack Norris, Noah Nash, Mounga Molisi, Chris Swash