PLYMOUTH Albion have said they have now completed their squad for the 2016/17 season after re-signing Robin Wedlake and welcoming fellow winger Matt Crosscombe from Brixham.
Cornwall player Wedlake was keeping his options open while training with Albion this summer, but has now put pen to paper on what is believed to be a pay-as-you-play deal.
Devon winger Crosscombe, 25, has also been training with Plymouth and has decided to try his luck at the higher level after four seasons with Brixham, who yesterday signed Albion development scrum-half Noah Nash.
“Moving to Albion will give me the opportunity to test myself at a higher level of rugby,” said Crosscombe.
“I know there are things I have to work on in my game but I’m ready for the challenge ahead of me.”
Wedlake, who turns 22 this month, hopes he can push on this season after an injury-hit first year at Brickfields.
The former Redruth player started Albion’s opening three matches but then suffered a nasty ankle injury away at Hull which kept him out for a while.
He did return for the second half of the season and in total made 13 starts and three replacement appearances, scoring three tries – two of which came in Albion’s memorable win at Loughborough in April, which turned out to be Graham Dawe’s last official game in charge.
Wedlake, who has won the County Championships twice with Cornwall, said: “I really enjoyed my first season at Albion but was frustrated as it was interrupted by injury.
“But I felt I finished the season strongly and continued that into the County Championship campaign.
“I would love to help Albion get back into the Championship and on a personal note I want to make a push for the England Counties squad.”
Albion now have a first-team squad of 33 players, which is more than last season. It would have been 34 players, but Dave Fisher has decided to leave to join Darlington Mowden Park.
Thirteen of the 33 were in Albion’s first team squad last term, while summer arrivals Dan Williams, Kieran Hallett, Tom Cowan-Dickie and Jamie Salter did play for Plymouth when they were in the Championship.
Albion’s new look side will have their first run out next Tuesday when they travel to Exmouth for a pre-season match.
Herbie Stupple has been made club captain for the 2016/17 campaign, but Albion have yet to confirm whether he will skipper the team on the field.
Stupple was vice-captain last season, with Jake Murphy skippering the team. Murphy, though, left Brickfields this summer to join Barnstaple.
Meanwhile, Paul Hamber, who was part of Albion’s development squad last season, has joined ambitious National Two South side Bury St Edmunds.
As well as playing for Albion’s development team, Cornishman Hamber played league rugby for Launceston, making 12 starts and one replacement appearance before suffering injury in January that ruled him out of the rest of the season.
Another young second-row, Jim Massey, is believed to be attracting interest of Devon’s National Two South and National Three South West sides.