Plymouth Albion / Rugby

Albion boss Dawe expects to face a determined Darlington side at Brickfields

Graham DaweGRAHAM DAWE has warned his in-form Plymouth Albion team that Darlington Mowden Park will be determined to make their long trip to Devon worth it.

Albion head into Saturday’s National One match at Brickfields (3pm) hoping to make it four wins in a row after bonus-point victories over Henley Hawks, Cinderford and Blaydon.

But Mowden Park, one of the pre-season favourites after investing heavily in their squad over the summer, are desperate for a victory after dropping down to 13th in the table.

Dawe knows when his team recently made the long-trip to Blaydon they did not want to travel all that way and come back with nothing and he expects Darlington, who have five former Plymouth players in their squad, will feel the same.

However, unlike Albion, who took a coach all the way to the North East, Mowden Park are flying down for this weekend’s fixture. They feel that will give them the best chance of claiming a victory in Devon.

“It is going to be a very testing match,” said Albion’s director of rugby Dawe, whose side sit seventh in the table at the moment. “We are going to have to show a lot of resolve.

“There’s a few players who left Plymouth Albion for Darlington in the summer and they will have good intent to come back and play a good game of rugby.

“We have to be ready for a Darlington side who are going to test us mentally and physically.

“They narrowly lost (22-21) at home to Richmond last week and we know how it feels when you lose at home. After our last home loss we went up to Blaydon and raised our game and Darlington will have the ability to do the same, so we have to be ready.”

Albion are enjoying their best run of form for three years and go into Saturday’s game on the back of a 36-3 away win at Henley.

“The toss fell for us last week and we managed to build up a cushion before Henley started to apply pressure,” said Dawe. “But that’s not going to happen every week.

“We just have to make sure we are well focussed, but we know we are going to be under pressure playing at home.

“You know you are going to have sticky spells in any game – we did last week – but when that happens it’s important to stay united.”

Albion are hoping for a decent-sized crowd on Saturday. They are having Armed Forces Day at the club and will be admitting serving military personnel in free on production of valid ID.

Dawe has named the same starting line-up for the fourth game running.

The only possible change could be on the bench, where Albion are still waiting to confirm one of their replacements, with Jarrad Hayler having been away from the club this week playing for the UK Armed Forces team and the Royal Navy Under-23s.  

One player not likely to be considered is South African lock David Fisher, who limped out of training this week.

Darlington, who recently brought in South African fly-half Warren Seals, are expected to name former Albion players Jake Henry, Pete Homan, Tom Jubb and Alistair Bone in their starting line-up.

Their side features a host of players with Championship or top flight experience including former Rotherham captain Garry Law, ex-Doncaster scrum-half Bruno Bravo, former Bedford, Newcastle and Sale prop Darren Fearn and ex-Newcastle and Edinburgh star Michael Tait.

Bravo is one of two Argentinians in their squad. Mowden Park, who play at the 25,000 all-seater Northern Echo Arena, also have Newcastle hooker Santiago Socino on loan.

After this weekend all National One teams will be a third of the way through their seasons.


15 Tom Putt

14 Tom Bedford

13 Jake Murphy (capt)

12 Marc Koteczky

11 Ethan Ford

10 Billy Searle

9 Cameron Setter

1 Ollie Dawe

2 James Penman

3 Christian Judge

4 Dan Collier

5 Ed Holmes

6 Nile Dacres

7 Cameron Thompson

8 Herbie Stupple

Replacements: Rupert Freestone, Dan Pullinger, Gregory Sebastien, Matt Shepherd, TBC.


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