BILLY SEARLE is hoping he has done enough to keep hold of Plymouth Albion’s number 10 shirt after scoring two tries on his first league start for the club against Blaydon.
The 19-year-old former Launceston back was unexpectedly handed his full debut at Crow Trees on Saturday when Elliot Bale was forced to pull out of the team just before kick-off in the North East.
Searle had been expecting to line-up on the replacements’ bench, but he was delighted to be asked to step up and fill Albion’s fly-half spot for the important National One game.
“It was unfortunate for Elliot to get injured but good for myself,” said Searle, one of five teenagers in Albion’s match-day squad on Saturday. “It was good to get my first start of the season and I was pretty happy with how I did.”
He added: “During the warm-up, Elliot said his knee was hurting so Graham (Dawe) said ‘are you all right to start?’
“It was a bit of a shock, but I was happy to start as I’ve been waiting for a chance all season.
“And it was good to get two tries on the board.”
The youngster admitted it might have helped him not having too much time to think about making his full debut.
“Maybe it did,” he said. “It meant I just relaxed and went out and played my normal game.”
Searle had come on as a replacement in three league games prior to Saturday but the most game-time he had enjoyed in a match was 40 minutes away at Hull Ionians, where he also scored a try.
The Cornwall player has had to be patient for a start with the more experienced Bale and Marc Koteczky getting the nod to open games at fly-half.
“There is a lot of competition, which is good,” said Searle. “But I’ve just got to keep doing well and wait for my chances.
“Hopefully, I have done enough to keep my spot for next week and then we’ll just take it week by week.
“All I can do is keep doing well. It is up to Graham to pick the team.”
Searle, who says he is enjoying the challenge of National One, was delighted with Albion’s 38-33 win at Blaydon, which was the club’s first win in three games and their first away from home in a league fixture for 19 months.
“We were over the moon with the win,” he said. “It was our first bonus point win.
“We made it hard work second half, but it was good to get over the line. We all dug in at the end.”
Albion return home to Brickfields this coming Saturday when they entertain Cinderford in National One (2pm).