PLYMOUTH ALBION 27 CINDERFORD 15
PLYMOUTH Albion claimed back-to-back league wins for the first time since the 2013/14 season when they ran in four tries against Cinderford at home.
The bonus point victory followed on from Albion’s 38-33 success at Blaydon the Saturday before.
However, for the second week running, Albion made hard work of a game they should have won more comfortably.
But they got the win, which is what mattered and it keeps Graham Dawe’s young side going in to right direction a quarter of the way through the National One season.
Their tries on Saturday came from a penalty, Marc Koteczky, Ethan Ford and Billy Searle, with Tom Putt kicking two conversions and a penalty.
The one disappointment for Albion was the size of the crowd. Just 894 turned up to watch their fourth win of the season.
Albion kept the same team that beat Blaydon the week before. It meant first home starts for Devon-born duo Searle and Cameron Thompson.
Cinderford included former Albion scrum-half Jimmy Williams in their starting line-up, with another Plymouth old boy Davy McGregor on the bench.
Albion made a good start. Teenager fly-half Searle, who had scored two tries the week before, made a great break in the opening minute but his pass inside went astray.
Australian Ford then thought he had scored four minutes later pouncing on a loose ball but the referee said a Cinderford player had got a hand to it first.
But Albion did get on the scoreboard in the seventh minute when 18-year-old Putt kicked a penalty in front of the posts after Herbie Stupple had got inside the 22 after taking a quick-tap penalty. Cinderford had hooker Chris Bundy sin-binned for the penalty.
In the 15th minute, Albion increased their lead to 10-0 when they were awarded a penalty try from a good scrum five-metres out. The home side did scrum well all game.
And four minutes later, Albion had a second try when Australian centre Marc Koteczky joined a maul and got the ball down from a line-out. Putt was unable to add the tough conversion.
Cinderford had not had too much territory in the opening quarter but on 21 minutes they got a penalty and went for the five-metre line-out.
Albion were penalised again and had hooker James Penman sin-binned.
Cinderford opted for goal and fly-half Callum Sheedy easily put the ball between the uprights to get his side off the mark.
Albion also lost lock Dan Collier in the build-up with injury and it took them a while to settle again.
But it was Albion who finished the half on the attack and they were convinced they had a scored a third try with the last play of the period. Nile Dacres broke through from 24 metres. Although he was tackled by the last man, it looked like he had stretched out and got the ball down for a score next to the posts. But the referee ruled he had been held up and blew up for the break before allowing the five-metre scrum.
Cinderford came out fired up and cut the gap to 15-8 with an impressive drive try from flanker George Mills.
But Albion, with Collier having returned from injury, hit back with a third try six minutes later. They turned Cinderford over in their own 22 and Koteczky broke. He then kicked forward and gave chase, along with Cameron Setter and Ethan Ford. Setter kicked the ball forward again and Ford beat Michael Wilcox to it to pick it up and score for his third try in four games. Putt brilliantly converted to make it 22-8.
However, Cinderford’s heads did not go down and Albion had to defend hard. Collier made a great try-saving tackle in the 58th minute when the visitors had an overlap.
But Albion’s nerves were eased in the 69th minute when Searle grabbed a fourth try for the home team. Captain Jake Murphy picked up loose ball and fed Tom Bedford, who generously put Searle through on the inside to make it 27-8.
Two minutes from time, Albion gifted Cinderford a consolation try when Searle had a pass intercepted inside the visitors’ half and fly-half Sheedy ran 60 metres to score under the posts and he also converted.
Albion: Tom Putt (Robin Wedlake 75), Tom Bedford, Jake Murphy (capt), Marc Koteczky, Ethan Ford, Billy Searle, Cameron Setter (Matt Shepherd 70), Ollie Dawe, James Penman (Rupert Freestone 75), Christian Judge (Dan Pullinger 75), Dan Collier (Gregory Sebastien 23-40), Ed Holmes, Nile Dacres, Cameron Thompson (Rupert Freestone 27-35, Sebastien 75), Herbie Stupple.
Cinderford: Michael Wilcox (capt), Harrison Yorke, Sam Hanks, Robert Winchie, Alex Pickersgill, Callum Sheedy, Jimmy Williams, Dan Murphy, Chris Bundy, Francisco Bruno, Milo Reynolds, Jerry Sexton, George Mills, Roger Birkin, Matt Lane. Reps: Will Goodrick-Clarke, Davy McGregor, Marcus Brown, Dan Pointon, Angus Bowyer.
Referee: Robert Warburton (RFU)
Scorers: Albion: Tries: Penalty, Koteczky, Ford, Searle; Cons: Putt 2; Pen: Putt
Cinderford: Tries: Mills, Sheedy; Con: Sheedy; Pen: Sheedy