HULL IONIANS 25 PLYMOUTH ALBION 21
A TRY out of nothing with the last play of the game secured Plymouth Albion a bonus point from their first away game of the season at Hull Ionians.
Albion, missing key forwards Dan Collier and James Penman, looked like they would be returning home empty handed having gone 25-0 down after 55 minutes to a Hull side that dominated up front.
The visitors struggled to win set piece ball and Ionians were awarded two penalty tries from scrums.
But in the final quarter of the game, Albion, showing some great never-say-die spirit, came to life, with their speedy backs finding gaps in Hull’s defence.
Then with the last play of the game Hull, going for the bonus point, were penalised attacking Albion’s line and Matt Shepherd quickly tapped the penalty and kicked the ball up field and won the race to score and make sure Graham Dawe’s side returned with one point from their 700-mile round trip.
Albion, without a league away win since March 2014, had the first spell of pressure after a good kick and chase by Shepherd earned them a five-metre line-out. Albion camped in Hull’s 22 for a minute but were eventually turned over.
And that was about as good as it got for Plymouth in the first half as indiscipline and poor set pieces cost them.
Albion defended Hull’s first bit of pressure well but they suffered a blow on 13 minutes when they lost winger Robin Wedlake to injury. Wedlake had looked dangerous in the first 10 minutes.
Less than two minutes after his departure Hull produced a great dive from 35 metres before going wide and there was centre Luke Thundercliffe to score in the left corner.
Green missed the conversion but he kicked a penalty seven minutes later after Albion were penalised for pulling down another good driving maul.
Albion got their own penalty at the other end and went for the corner, but they were unable to make it tell and on Hull’s next attack the visitors had replacement Seti Raumakita yellow carded for a dangerous tackle.
Dawe’s side were up against it then as Hull used their pack well. Green added another penalty for Hull on 38 minutes after a good break by Greg Lound, but he missed one of the stroke of half-time.
The home side led 11-0 at the break but it could have been worse for Albion.
However, it did get worse after the interval when Hull were awarded two penalties tries from scrums in the opening 15 minutes.
At that point there didn’t seem anyway back for Albion.
But they were given hope in the 59th minute when half-time replacement Searle, making his debut, went over out wide on the left after the visitors took a quick tap penalty. He brilliantly converted to make it 25-7.
After that Albion, who had narrowly lost 16-15 the week before to Rosslyn Park, came to life. In the 78th minute they scored a second try after a great piece of individual play by Australian Ford, who had looked dangerous all game. He had seemed certain to score from the halfway line but he was tackled just short but there was Hayler to go over for his first try for the club.
It looked like Albion’s hopes of a bonus point had gone when Hull won a penalty with the last play of the game, but they were penalised with the ball 22 metres out and quick-thinking Shepherd took a tap and booted the ball up field and out-paced two Hull players to touch down and score a try out of nothing.
Hull Ionians: M Bateman, D Booth (S Slingsby 60), L Thundercliffe, G Lound (A Benson 52), S Wilson, J Ferguson (G Lound 69), I Green, D Laverick, A Thomson, J Elliott (J Thundercliffe 52), E Falkingham (A Campbell h/t), J Sanders, W Foden (capt), L Cowen, P Eggleshaw (D Paul 53).
Albion: J Murphy, E Ford, T Bedford, M Koteczky (E Bale), R Wedlake (S Raumakita 13), E Bale (B Searle h/t), M Shepherd, O Dawe (C Judge 58), R Freestone (D Brooker h/t-58), C Judge (D Pullinger 43), N Dacres, E Holmes, A Chesters (C Setter 50), J Hayler, H Stupple.
Referee: Jack Makepeace (RFU)
Scorers: Hull: Tries: Thundercliffe, penalty (2); Cons: Green 2; Pens: Green 2
Albion: Tries: Searle, Hayler, Shepherd; Cons: Searle
Cards: Hull: None; Albion: Raumakita (yellow 30 mins).