PLYMOUTH Albion’s director of rugby Graham Dawe admitted he was impressed with a number of the guest players that featured for the club in their development match with Exmouth on Tuesday night.
A young Albion side ran in 10 tries to claim a 62-0 victory over an equally youthful line-up from National Three South West outfit Exmouth.
The Plymouth starting line-up did include a handful of players who had first team experience in National One, like teenage backs Harrison Cully and Tom Putt and flankers Gregory Sebastien and Andy Chester, and they did stand out.
But also catching the eye was Plymouth University lock Malcolm Onsando, who formed a very athletic and impressive second-row partnership with fellow city student Shek Sherrif, and Bude backs Dan Pearce and Duncan Tout.
Fellow guest starters Ashlee Crouch, Billy Roberts and Stan Mayne also produced solid displays.
Albion had been 19-0 up at the break, before running in seven second half scores.
“It was a very educational game,” said Albion boss Dawe. “We learnt a lot.
“I was delighted to see the guys really pull away second half and get some front-foot ball.
“It was a tight first half but we loosened the shackles second half.
“The team was well led by Andy Chesters.”
He added: “All our first team squad boys put in really determined performances. They really bruised Exmouth around the fringes and on the flanks.
“Dean Brooker had a strong all-round game – scrum, line-out, loose and carriers, Andy Chesters and Greg Sebastien really put down a marker and Robin Wedlake and Harrison Cully were strong and effective.
“Tom Putt also played a very mature match with his tactical, passing and running game. It was very impressive.”
But other players caught Dawe’s eye as well.
“I was very impressed with the three guys from Bude (Billy Roberts, Dan Pearce and Duncan Tout),” he said. “We were really grateful that Bude allowed them to play and I thought they acquitted themselves well.
“It was also good to see Shek Sherrif back in an Albion shirt and Malcolm Onsando won a good steady stream of ball and was very physical in the carrying and tackle area. I thought they were both outstanding.
“Hopefully, we get another development game before the end of the season and hopefully we’ll see one or two of the line-up in a first team shirt sooner rather than later.”
Exmouth, who had beaten an Albion development team at their place earlier in the season, started promisingly and should have taken the lead in the opening three minutes through winger Sam Conway.
But that opportunity went begging and after that Albion got on top.
Winger Cully opened the scoring when he showed his pace and power to run in from 30 metres on 10 minues.
Fellow winger Jon Dawe was then held up following a great move that was started by Putt. Albion wasted a five-metre scrum and a line-out, but eventually their pressure told and they got a second try on 21 minutes courtesy of flanker Sebastien, which Putt converted.
Sherrif and Onsando both came close to scoring before the home team added a third on 37 minutes though University of St Mark and St John prop Crouch. Putt converted to give his side a 19-0 half-time lead.
Winger Dawe had been forced off in the first half with a shoulder injury, which gave Wedlake a chance to gain some more game-time. He showed his class by avoiding three tackles to score on the left in the 47th minute, which Putt converted.
Wedlake added another 12 minutes later after good play by speedy full-back Pearce. That made it 31-0.
After that the tries came quickly with Albion scoring five within 12 minutes.
The impressive Pearce got Plymouth’s sixth after good work by the powerful Cully, who broke from his own half.
Young replacement prop Rory Briers, who has been on loan at Devon Two’s bottom club DHSOB, then scored an opportunist try. Albion charged down an Exmouth kick on the try line after good chasing by Onsando and the ball fell perfectly for Briers. Putt brilliantly converted from the right.
Replacement Matt Shepherd, who came on to captain the side after Chesters, Sebastien and Wedlake had gone off, then added an eighth try in the right corner after good play from a line-out move on halfway, which Putt again impressively converted.
Centre Tout was next to go over after a great break by Putt.
The final word went to full-back Pearce, who went over for his second of the evening after good play by Tout and Putt.
Exmouth, who included a number of their colts in their line-up, pressed late on but Albion defended really well to deny them a consolation score.
Albion: Dan Pearce, Jon Dawe, Duncan Tout, Stan Mayne, Harrison Cully, Tom Putt, Dan Goldstone, Curtis Reynolds, Dean Brooker, Ashlee Crouch, Malcolm Onsando, Shek Sherrif, Gregory Sebastien, Andy Chesters (capt), Billy Roberts. Reps: Rory Briers, Dave Broughton, Angus Hogg, Jordan Gray, Jack Darragh, Matt Shepherd, Robin Wedlake.
Exmouth: Jack Oulton, Sam Conway, Richard Bright, Ali Hill, Harvey Ridgeway, Dan Powell, Lloyd Watkins (capt), Andrew Dudley, Aiden Taylor, Nigel Berry, Ryan Morris, Ian Dunstan, Brad Howe, Joe Harris, Nick Hulatt. Reps: Nick Smith, Henry Evans, Max Wenley, James Mattin, Jake James-Graham, Jake Prophet.
Referee: James Millner
Albion scorers: Tries: Wedlake 2, Pearce 2, Cully, Sebastien, Crouch, Briers, Shepherd, Tout; Cons: Putt 6