PLYMOUTH Albion boss Graham Dawe certainly has no intention of getting carried away by his new-look team’s 33-20 National One win over Richmond on Saturday.
Dawe has had to totally rebuild Albion after losing 30 players during the summer following their relegation from the Championship.
It may be a young and inexperienced squad – they had three 18 year-olds in their 20-man matchday party on Saturday – but they comfortably had enough to beat a Richmond side who have finished seventh for the past two seasons.
Yet Dawe, who has only had two months to work with the squad, would not go much further than describing their opening day’s performance as ‘satisfying’.
Jake Murphy, Elliot Bale and Herbie Stupple scored tries for Albion, with new fly-half Bale also kicking four penalties and three conversions to finish with a 23-point haul. He would have equalled the club record for points in a league game, jointly held by Tom Barlow and Alex Davies, had he not narrowly missed with a late penalty.
“It was obviously a satisfying first hit-out in the league,” said Dawe.
“It was great to put a performance together, which not only had us scoring points, but defending long spells of pressure from the opposition.
“I thought individually they (Richmond) brought quite a bit to the game. They challenged our defence, but we stood up to it.”
Although Albion showed some great handling skills in attack, it was their defence that caught the eye.
Richmond were unable to break them down in open play, with their two tries coming from set pieces.
“They got very close and we had to rely on some mistakes by them,” said Dawe. “But there was lots of effort (in defence). However, in a minute a team’s going to turn up with a bulldozer and we’ll need to stop that as well.”
The one thing that Albion definitely didn’t lack was passion and endeavour.
“I think that goes without saying,” said Dawe. “There were a lot of guys playing their first games for the club and they wanted to do the shirt justice and hopefully keep their place.
“A lot of guys did 80-minute stints, which was good.”
He added: “We lost the first three line-outs and we lost two more after that, so not the best day there, but that’s just teething problems.”
There were some impressive performances by Albion players, but Dawe did not want to single anyone out.
“We are emphasising that we are a team,” he said. “Yes, there’s individuals within a team, but we rise and fall as a team and we don’t bicker or point fingers.”
Dawe, though, was keen to praise the Brickfields crowd after Saturday’s game.
“When we regained the lead after about 25 minutes or whatever time it was, they really got behind us and then when we extended the lead the noise levels rose again,” said Dawe. “And they just kept that up all the second half.”
Albion will face a tougher task next Saturday when title favourites Rosslyn Park visit Brickfields.