Devonport Services push Plymouth Albion hard in their opening pre-season outing

DEVONPORT Services pushed a Plymouth Albion XV all the way in their opening pre-season outing at Brickfields on Wednesday night.

Services were just edged out 26-21 by their National One hosts, with former Devonport player Billy Orchard scoring the match-winning try six minutes from time.

Albion had taken an early lead with a try by Sam Daly, who has returned to the club on a short-term deal from Championships club Doncaster.

Daly was joined in Albion’s starting line-up by fellow experienced National League players like Dan Collier, Dan Pullinger, Phil Jones and Connor Eastgate, while Ramaz Rukhaadze, Harry Wilkinson and Seti Raumakita were among their replacements.

But Devon Cup winners Services, who impressed in the scrums in the first half, hit back to take a 14-5 lead. Scrum-half Dylan Daley got them off the mark with a try after good play by Andy Pond and new wing signing Freddie Davies. Kieran Down added the conversion.

Hooker Joe Daley then scored after a scrum penalty on the left. Down again added the extras.

However, Albion’s Gabe Mead scored two tries before half-time to give the hosts a 19-14 advantage.

The second half was tight, but 20 minutes in, Devonport took the lead again with a try in the corner from a line-out by player-coach Rikki Benthan, which Harrison Slade converted.

But just when Services, who brought on young forwards Yianni Costas and Ethan Millard for their debuts, sensed them might grab the win, Orchard managed to go over the whitewash and Jones converted.

“There were a lot of positives to take out of it,” said Services team manager Kieran Leach. “They only scored six minutes from time to win it. It was a good run-out for us.”

Services will send a young side to Polson Bridge on Friday night to play Launceston before they play Tamar Saracens and Wadebridge the following weekend.

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