Rugby

Plymstock Albion Oaks look for cup final shock against Twickenham-bound Honiton

PLYMSTOCK Albion Oaks will be hoping Honiton’s minds might be on Twickenham rather than Saturday’s Devon Intermediate Shield final at Allhallows.

Oaks travel to east Devon looking to try and cause an upset and get their hands on a piece of county silverware.

Honiton will be favourites having finished as runners-up in the Cornwall/Devon division and done the league double over Oaks.

But Honiton have the RFU Senior Vase to play at Twickenham next weekend and that could cause a bit of a dilemma for them.

“Personally I think they are going to want a triple (promotion, Devon Intermediate Shield and the RFU Senior Vase),” said Oaks’ player-coach Aiden Taylor.

“But there could be that mental thing for them – if you are playing at Twickenham the week after do they want to risk it? Playing at Twickenham is a once in a lifetime thing compared to playing Plymstock Albion Oaks in a Devon cup final.

“However, they are a real good outfit and I think they will want to put out their strongest team. I think they will be professional enough to wipe Twickenham out of their mind for Saturday.

“I think they will be exactly the same as they have been all season.”

Oaks were in with a chance of promotion themselves until March 23 when Honiton beat them 35-20 at Horsham Fields.

Plymstock ended with two heavy defeats in their last three games, but Taylor hopes Saturday they can find their best form with something to play for.

“The last couple of league games we didn’t really get the numbers at training and didn’t really have the right players available,” he said.

“But overall the season went really well and it’s just one more game now. I think the boys are up for it.”

He added: “I think it will be an interesting game. If we start well in the first 20 minutes then they will know they are in a game, but we if we don’t start well and they get some points early doors then it could be an easy afternoon for them.

“But we are not writing ourselves off. It is a one-off game and we are going to go there and enjoy the occasion. It’s the last game of the season and we are going to have a big coach trip up.”

Oaks are without the injured Will Booth, Jack Hardman and Joe Walker, who would have been cup-tied anyway having played for Argaum in a cup-counting game earlier in the season. They are also without Corey Jamieson, who has been linked with a move to Devonport Services.

“Corey Jamieson is ruled out, which is a huge loss,” said Taylor. “But we have the strongest team we can put out. Is it enough to beat a top Honiton side away from home? I don’t know, but we will certainly give it a good go.”

The match is set to be David Byng’s final one for Oaks. The former footballer is set to retire after Saturday.

It might also be Devon hooker Taylor’s last appearance for Oaks. He admitted he has still not decided on his future, with other clubs chasing the former Exmouth and Ivybridge player.

“I personally don’t know what I am doing next season,” he said. “I have attracted a few offers from some bigger clubs and so I will need to sit down with the club and discuss my future plans.”

Taylor graduations this summer and so has to decide whether to stay in Plymouth and also if he wants to concentrate on coaching or have another go at trying to play at a high level.

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