HAT-TRICK hero Matt Shepherd described Plymouth Albion’s end to the 2015/16 season as ‘amazing’.
The city side ran in six tries to overcome champions Richmond 40-39 in west London.
Plymouth become the only team to do the double over Richmond, having also beaten them 33-20 on the opening day of the campaign at Brickfields.
Albion had also completed the double over runners-up Hartpury the previous week.
“It was a brilliant game – it was unbelievable,” said Shepherd after Albion came back from 22-7 down.
“It was just amazing.
“That was my first hat-trick for Albion.
“To get the double over Richmond and Hartpury is brilliant – I don’t think anyone has done that this season. Our defence at the end of the game was just unbelievable.”
Albion finished the campaign with 22 wins out of 30. Only champions Richmond, with 23, claimed more victories.
However, hopes of pushing for promotion next season look slim with the new owners asking Graham Dawe to stand down and indicating they will be cutting costs.
Front-row forwards Ollie Dawe, James Penman and Christian Judge have already signed for other clubs, as has Billy Searle.
Coaches Simon Lane, Tristan Lark and Lee Jago have also stood down and team manager Jan Hicklin has decided to leave the club as well.
Shepherd said: “It is such a shame people are going and doing what they are doing. We have done the double over the top two and we should be up there.”
The Cornwall star was keen to praise Dawe and the other Albion coaches for what they have done for the players this season.
“Graham did not even want to come over for a picture,” said Shepherd. “We had to get him over and pick him up. I don’t think he wanted to rub anyone up the wrong way.”
He added: “The coaches that have come in (Rob Gibson and Sam Morton) have done what they have done but it is through the hard work of Graham (Dawe), Simon (Lane), Jan (Hicklin) and the backroom staff that we have really come through as a team. The potential is amazing from this squad.”
Shepherd admitted all the players had been keen to prove points in the last two matches.
“After what had happened and with no contacts having been given it was one of those things where we just had to play our best and see what happens and go from there,” he said.