Plymouth Albion / Rugby

POLL: Dawe hopes Plymouth Albion fans enjoyed five-try home win over Coventry

Graham DaweGRAHAM DAWE hopes supporters enjoyed Plymouth Albion’s 29-18 home win over Coventry on Saturday.

Albion outscored Coventry five tries to two at a rain-soaked Brickfields to make it seven wins in eight games.

The club’s only defeat since November 21 came in their previous home match when they lost 17-7 in horrendous conditions to Hull Ionians.

Dawe’s young side had been keen to make up for that defeat in front of their own fans on Saturday in what was only their second home game in six weeks.

“It is just nice to win at home and, hopefully, most of the supporters enjoyed it,” said director of rugby Dawe.

“I am delighted for the players and delighted for the supporters, as well as the club. From where the club has been we have to try and get some momentum.”

Dawe, though, admitted it was not easy to see off Coventry, despite taking a 19-3 lead after 35 minutes.

“It was a nervy game,” said Dawe.

“I think we started really well and put together some good phases. We got some go-forward with Herbie and co and the backs really tested Coventry, but, fair play to them, they were really up for the game and made life difficult for us. As a team and on the scoreboard they never went away.

“It was a touch-and-go game right up until the final few minutes.”

Part of the reason for Albion’s nerves was because of what they had done to Fylde the week before.

Albion had been 26-10 down with 20 minutes to go but won 38-26 in Lancashire after scoring three converted tries in the final seven minutes.

“It was a very similar scoreline to Fylde,” said Dawe. “Fylde were 26-10 up against us and I think we had a similar lead on Saturday, but Coventry were a powerful enough side to comeback.”

Albion could have rested a little easier had they had their kicking boots on.

Plymouth have struggled in recent weeks in that department, but after Matt Shepherd had kicked four out of four conversions in the second half at Fylde he was handed the duties on Saturday.

But he missed two penalties and two conversions, while replacement Elliot Bale also missed a conversion.

“They were difficult kicks in the conditions,” said Dawe.  “That’s the way it goes sometimes. Matt kicked well last week.”

Dawe felt his team had learnt from their last home game against Hull.

“We were disappointed with the scoreboard against Hull,” said Dawe. “But we were quite pleased with some of the aspects of our play. The team want to play a certain way – they want to challenge defences and keep the ball in hand a little bit – but it is about getting a balance.

“Those tactics did not really work in those conditions (against Hull), although the stats were good for us.”

Dawe admits his team do prefer better conditions, but they have not had a home game without it raining since October.

“It is tough for all the supporters and the players really,” said Dawe on the conditions his team have faced at home this season. “Some of our outside backs, like Ethan, Marc, Jake, Billy and Elliot they like playing off firmer surfaces.”

Flanker Cameron Thompson and goal-kicking full-back Tom Putt returned to training last week following injuries, while hooker James Penman is closing in on a return.

Dawe admits competition is increasing for places as the team continue to keep picking up wins.

“It was good on Saturday that all the bench got some game-time,” said Dawe. “Yes, they would like more game-time, but they just have to keep working hard and hopefully get a starting shirt. We want to make it a team where it is harder to get into it is to than to get out of.”

Albion, though, could lose Jarrad Hayler and Seti Raumakita for the rest of season due to Royal Navy rugby duties.

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