WINS against Plymouth Albion rarely, if ever, come
easily with so many games between these two sides being settled by
just a couple of points.
And so it was even more to Nottingham's credit that they
overturned a 15-point deficit to inflict a first home league defeat
of the season on a resurgent Albion side.
The last couple of seasons have seen the Devon club struggle at
the bottom end of the table, but new head coach Nat Saumi has put
together a strong squad.
Before Saturday's game they were breathing down Nottingham's
necks, just a couple of places and a couple of points behind them
in the Championship table.
The stakes were high, and maybe it was early nerves that saw the
Green and Whites gift Albion a dream start as they gathered the
kick off and decided to hoof it back upfield. The Albion backs came
back at them at pace, Luke Arnott running clear to touch down after
just 28 seconds. Paul Roberts added the conversion followed by a
penalty minutes later to make it 10-nil.
Despite this early setback Nottingham settled into their rhythm
and began to create a chance or two.
Having been held up on the home line though they conceded a
penalty at the resulting scrum which led to a second try for Albion
and a second for Arnott.
But they were having the better of possession by this stage and
their first try came courtesy of a good piece of play from Alex
Lewington. Although he was stopped short, Dan Montagu was up in
support and managed to pick up and get over to make it 15-5.
Again they were held up on the Albion line, but this time they
made the 5-metre scrum pay with the referee eventually awarding a
penalty try after repeated collapsing from the home pack. James
Arlidge put the conversion over to bring them back to 15-12.
Arlidge had not had the best of days with the boot, and missed a
gift in front of the posts that would have leveled the scores in
the early minutes of the second half.
But as Albion restarted with a dropout their defence was caught
cold as Joe Cobden ran through for a try.
Arlidge was on target this time to convert and give Nottingham a
Within minutes the bonus point try followed, David Jackson
crossing and Arlidge again converting, to open up an 11-point
Inevitably Albion fought back, and a try under the posts from
Bevon Armitage, converted by Roberts, set up another tense finale
with just four points separating the sides.
But it was Nottingham who kept their nerve and sealed a
hard-fought win when Andy savage gathered from a turnover to race
away and send Lewington in for the last score of the day.
Nottingham Rugby 31 (Montagu, Cobden, Jackson,
Lewington, penalty tries; Arlidge 3 conv) Plymouth Albion
22 (Arnott 2, Armitage tries; Roberts 2 conv; Roberts
Nottingham Rugby: Savage, Jackson, Cobden (sub:
Bradford 56), Munro, Lewington, Arlidge, Romans, Parr (Harris 65),
Duffey (Wright 19-22), Holford, Montagu, Rouse, Cooper, Wilson,
Shaw (Calladine, 73). Replacements not used: Quinn, Barnham,
Referee: G MacDonald