NILE DACRES admitted he was ‘chuffed’ to score a hat-trick of tries and help Plymouth Albion to a 34-27 win over Loughborough Students at Brickfields on Saturday.
The powerful forward became only the second player in seven years to collect three tries in a league game for Plymouth.
England Sevens star Tom Bowen was the last to do it when he scored three against Bristol in November 2013.
“It was a bit of a surprise,” admitted Dacres, who became the first forward to get a hat-trick since Dan Ward-Smith in the 2004-05 season.
“I have to credit Sam Matavesi for two of them because he put the off-load in and put me away. The third one I was just lucky as I managed to get my foot onto a loose ball and get through – guess I was in the right place at the right time.”
Dacres, who has played in the second-row for the last two matches, had never scored a competitive hat-trick before.
“I have had a few tries here and there, but I’m definitely chuff to get a hat-trick,” said the forward, who now tops Albion’s try scoring charts with seven for the season, just ahead of Herbie Stupple and Billy Searle with six.
Albion looked to be cruising to victory when they went 25-6 up in the second half on Saturday, but Loughborough came back and, with Plymouth having Dan Collier and Sam Matavesi sin-binned, the students ended up going home with two bonus points.
“I think it was clear we had dominance in the set piece,” said Dacres. “Loughborough were always going to throw it around whatever happened. They are a young side who are keen to play and, fair play, towards the end they kept that energy up and due to few minor slips we let them in for a few breakaways.
“But we stuck in to the end. All credit to the lads for keeping going for the full 80 minutes in a high tempo game.”
He added: “We had a good foothold on the game and then two yellow cards in the pack and they got a try from a driving line-out. It just goes to show discipline is key, whether it is a little penalty for three points or someone getting sent off. It can all make a huge difference.
“But a win is a win so we will be happy with that. To get those tries is a massive bonus.
“When we come in for training we’ll have a look at things we could have done better and hopefully work on that and take it into Hartpury.”
Albion’s win was their third in a row, following on from victories over Wharfedale and Ampthill. It has lifted Graham Dawe’s young side up to sixth in the table.
“We said a few weeks ago that we wanted to keep a bit of momentum going into Christmas,” said Dacres. “We just wanted to get on a good run and see what happens. We have managed to do that the last three games. We just want to keep our foot down on the gas.”