Plymouth Albion / Rugby

Albion suffer their biggest defeat of the season away at Blackheath

Sam Matavesi tries to force his way through Blackheath's defence on his return to Albion (picture by Graeme Truby/Pinnacle)

Sam Matavesi tries to force his way through Blackheath’s defence on his return to Albion (picture by Graeme Truby/Pinnacle)


PLYMOUTH Albion suffered their biggest defeat of the season away at high-flying Blackheath on Saturday in National One.

Blackheath, unbeaten at home this term, scored five unanswered tries to run out 34-3 winners.

The Londoners were efficient in attack, with their forwards driving well, while they also defended well to deny Albion a try for the first time this season.

It was the second week running Albion had failed to claim so much as a bonus point and director of rugby Graham Dawe now has to pick his young team up for the visit of Ampthill next Saturday.

Albion, missing top points scorer Tom Putt and experienced lock Dan Collier, handed a debut to teenager Jim Massey, while fellow youngster Harrison Cully came in for only his second appearance for the club.

It meant there were five teenagers in Albion’s starting line-up at Rectory Field.

Blackheath were without former Plymouth players Geoff Griffiths and Freddie Gabbitass.

Albion, making their first league trip to Blackheath since the 2000-01 season, found themselves under pressure at the start after losing the ball in their own 22 at the kick-off and then losing their first line-out.

However, they defended well but in the 11th minute they gave away a penalty in front of the posts, which Leo Fielding kicked to give Blackheath the lead.

The home side increased that to 15-0 with two tries in the space of six minutes midway through the first half.

First, centre Richard Windsor scored after good play from a line-out after Albion had kicked straight out. Fielding converted that effort.

Then flanker Dave Allen went over from a five-metre catch-and-drive move after the visitors gave away a penalty and Blackheath went for the corner.

But after that, Albion, who scrummed well, got more into the game. Billy Searle got them off the mark in the 28th minute with a penalty, but they could not add to that before half-time.

Plymouth, with Nile Dacres influential, came out with some intent after the break, but could not get the try they threatened.

And against the run of play, Blackheath got a third try thanks to a bit of good fortune.

They were awarded a penalty and Fielding went for goal. He surprisingly hit the post but it worked out well for the home team, who picked up the loose ball and went right where Tom Baldwin went over for a converted try.

And four minutes later Blackheath got a fourth when winger Tom Chapman avoided a tackle on the right to cross and make it 27-3.

Albion had another good spell after that but, once again, were unable to turn it into points. Credit has to go to Blackheath who defended well.

And to rub salt in Plymouth’s wounds, Blackheath scored a fifth try from another driving maul. Allen was the man adjudged to have got the ball down again for them. Fielding converted.

Plymouth continued to press and camped on the Londoners line but could not get over it.

Blackheath: L Fielding, M Mvelase (J Lloyd 70), M Burcham (capt), R Windsor (M Briant 67), T Chapman, S Whatling, J Walsh, A Croall (T Read 76), S Wright (E Lang 72), T Read (K Scutt 63), G Gillanders, T Stradwick, T Baldwin (C Sewell 63), D Allen, A Nilsson.

Albion: E Ford, T Bedford (R Wedlake 64), J Murphy (capt, T Bedford 70), M Koteczky, Harrison Cully, B Searle, C Setter (M Shepherd 53), O Dawe (R Freestone 53), J Penman, C Judge, J Massey (A Chesters 53), E Holmes, N Dacres, C Thompson (S Matavesi 53), H Stupple.

Referee: James Clarke (RFU).

Scorers: Blackheath:  Tries: Allen 2, Windsor, Baldwin, Chapman; Cons: Fielding 3; Pen: Fielding

Albion: Pen: Searle

Cards: None

Attendance: 610

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