Plymouth Albion / Rugby

Shepherd hoping Albion can keep run going at Brickfields

Matt Shepherd

SCRUM-half Matt Shepherd says Plymouth Albion would hate their winning run to come to an end at home.

Albion have won their last five matches, three of which have come on their travels at Rosslyn Park, Hartpury College and Wharfedale.

This weekend the city side return to Brickfields for the first time in four weeks when they entertain Hull Ionians in National One (3pm).

Shepherd is desperately hoping Albion can continue their run in front of their own fans and avenge a 25-21 defeat in East Yorkshire at the start of the season.

“It was good to get the win last Saturday at Rosslyn Park, but it is always nice to win in front of your home crowd,” said the Cornwall player.

“I think we need to keep pushing on as, like they say, the next game is always the hardest.

“We don’t want to let it slip, especially at home.

“The last time we lost at home was to Darlington, so we need to put in a big performance.”

Albion are hoping for a good crowd this weekend, having not played at home for so long. The club are offering season ticket holders the chance to bring a friend with them for just £5.

Shepherd said: “We need a big crowd to get behind us.

“We obviously have quite a good following already, but the more the merrier, definitely.”

Shepherd is also hoping Albion can play better than they did against Hull away at the start of the season.

The city side found themselves 25-0 down after Ionians were awarded two penalty tries. However, Albion hit back and two tries by Shepherd help secure them a bonus point.

“We started the game really slow up there,” said Shepherd. “They had a good forward pack and a fly-half who liked to kick a lot. They were an unknown quantity to us up there. We didn’t really know what to expect, but now we kind of know what to expect, hopefully, we deal with it a little bit better.”

As well as beating Albion, Hull have also triumphed over Hartpury College and, although they have only won five matches, they have lost six by just one score.

“You have to give them respect because they are not a bad team by any means,” said Shepherd.

“But we want to make sure we win our games at home now. They are the most important ones really.

“You have to use home advantage and we have to make sure we put in a performance that warrants a win.”

After been in and out of the side and switching between wing and scrum-half, Shepherd has started Albion’s last five matches in his favourite number nine shirt.

“I’ve started the last few games and hopefully it’s onwards and upwards,” he said.

Shepherd, who moved to Brickfields in the summer from Launceston, feels Albion are really coming together as a team now.

“The start of the season we never really settled into it, but as some of the supporters have said it seems like the team is clicking together,” said Shepherd.

“If you are on the bench or starting, everyone seems to be bringing that little bit extra on to the pitch because there’s a hungry to play for the shirt.”


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