Plymouth Albion / Rugby

POLL: Home win is a big boost, says Albion boss Dawe

Plymouth Albion

Graham DaweGRAHAM DAWE says his Plymouth Albion team have received a ‘big boost’ from their home win over Ampthill.

Dawe’s young side had been under pressure to claim a victory after losing to Blackheath and Darlington Mowden Park in their previous two games.

But they responded to that pressure by digging deep in poor conditions at Brickfields on Saturday to beat Ampthill 18-13.

The Bedfordshire visitors, who included former Albion players Ben Gulliver and Elliot Clements-Hill in their starting line-up, did go home with a bonus point after scoring a last-gasp converted try, but Dawe was just glad his team claimed the four points.

“Getting this win at home is a really big boost for us,” said Plymouth’s director of rugby.

“If we had lost again after losing at home two weeks ago, it would have been tough, not just for the players but also for the supporters.

“The supporters have stuck by us this season and over the years so to get some wins at home is very important – and that’s what we did on Saturday.

“This now gives us something to work on for next week. We really want to hammer on now.

“We have got a game at Wharfedale next week so we just have to keep working. I’d like to look on this as just half-time as we are looking at these two very important games as a pair.”

Dawe, whose team had been 8-0 up at half-time, was pleased with how they stuck to their game-plan on Saturday even when things did not go their way.

“We are delighted with the win,” he said. “But it did not go exactly how we wanted it to go because they (Ampthill) really fronted up and dominated the line-out, and it was tough conditions to try and expand our line-out game.

“We had to work off limited amount of possession, even though we did control the field position a lot.

“We probably spent 15 minutes in their 22 first half and we were just very thankful we got that score just before half-time to settle our nerves, as three points did not seem a lot of reward for the amount of dominance we had.”

Albion’s kicking game, particularly first half when they had the wind, was a lot better than it had been two weeks ago in wet and windy conditions against Darlington.

Dawe said: “There were a couple of good kicks from Billy (Searle) and a real stonker from Marc Koteczky, that kept the pressure on, but we just could not hammer home with scores. We were, though, pleased with the amount of time we spent in their 22.”

Another aspect of his side’s game that pleased Dawe on Saturday was how they scrummed, which led to them earning a penalty try.

He added: “We have been doing a lot of work and talking about our scrums. We’ve been doing as much as we can in the week to ramp it up and it is paying dividends. We have got a tough front five who want to do it.”

However, Albion’s line-out was not so successful on Saturday, but Dawe felt that was down to good play by Ampthill in reading and disrupting the set-play.

The Plymouth boss admitted he was impressed with the visitors, who were making their first trip to Plymouth.

“Fair play to Ampthill they had a lot of desire about them and they are well drilled by Ben Gulliver in the tight and they could have sneaked a win at the end,” he said.

“They never failed to miss tackles, the caught really well in the back field and they passed the ball well. I was quite impressed with them.

“They have some talented players and they got their just reward, I guess, at the end with that late try. But it will leave a little taste in our mouth that we did not keep our try-line intact.”

Dawe now hopes his team can add another victory next week to continue moving up the National One table. Their victory on Saturday saw them rise to eighth in a tight and unpredictable league.

“It would be a timely boost to get an away win next week,” said Dawe. “As soon as the final whistle blew on Saturday that was what we were talking about – trying to go and get a win away from home at Wharfedale.”

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